It has been another struggling season in the books for the young and rebuilding Lakers. Many have been speculating their off-season moves for the 2017-2018 NBA season. With new president and all-time great, Laker legend Magic Johnson calling shots, what will the Lakers do to improve their roster? Will Magic and company pursue an already established star in the league as the Lakers usually do? Players such as Paul George, Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Gordon Hayward to name a few are part of a list of players who are potentially looking for a new home. With Kobe Bryant gone, L.A. is looking for a new face to attempt to fill the shoes Bryant once had in the Purple and Gold. On the other hand, is Magic Johnson looking to continue to work with the pieces the Lakers already have and add on pieces via the NBA Draft? Players in the 2017 NBA Draft are looking more tantalizing than ever with talents such as Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Markelle Fultz (Washington), De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky), Josh Jackson (Kansas) , Jayson Tatum (Duke). The Lakers will have plenty of options in the draft. Although Magic himself has stated that he was intending to save cap space for the 2018 Free agent class which seems to be much more attractive, with the Lakers history you never know how things can play out.
None the less, the draft is where any team’s off-season plans start, whether a team goes 73-9 or 26-56 as the Lakers did, the NBA draft gives hope to many teams, players, and fans that their team will be back on top. Now it is an interesting draft for the Los Angeles Lakers considering they are hoping for another top-3 pick (2015 and 2016 secured the number 2 pick). Yet for the second straight season the Lakers could potentially lose their pick to another team if they finish outside the first three picks in this year’s lottery. The Lakers finished with the third worst record in the NBA this season and at one point many fans were alluding to tanking. Which in Laker Land that is something many were not accustomed to. If the Lakers were to lose their top 3 pick, their pick will end up going to the Philadelphia 76ers due to the Andrew Bynum trade of 2012-2013 and with this year’s draft class being deep as it is when it comes to lottery picks it truly is feast or famine for the Lake Show.
Here are the reasons why it is a feast or famine off-season for the Los Angeles Lakers starting with the lottery, let’s take a look, shall we?
Feast: the Lakers will be getting the pick that they are destined to have in the top 3, and drafting some top-tier talent such as Lonzo or Fox, can change the culture of the team and bring them up from their recent woes. Likewise, having a top three pick in this year’s NBA draft can intrigue other teams in buying into what the Lakers can offer, the Lakers can package a deal with some of their current young talent (Russell, Clarkson, Ingram and or Randle) and by adding in a potential top pick could be the icing on the cake for teams such as the Indiana Pacers who would possibly be willing to give L.A., Paul George to build around center, Myles Turner, if Magic, GM Rob Pelinka and the Lakers organization decide to go that route .
Famine: If the Lakers fall out of the top 3 it could be possible chaos for L.A., not only are they giving up a high lottery draft pick to the Philadelphia Sixers, they are essentially missing out on a loaded draft class filled with value late in the lottery. This would be absolute disaster for the Lakers plan to build the franchise up to its glory days, and now putting pressure on the team to go out and make a trade or pay big bucks for an established star in this year’s free agency class.
Now Magic Johnson has high hopes in keeping their top pick and assuring head coach Luke Walton that “the Lakers will get a top-3 pick”. With that confidently being said, history is on Magic Johnson and the Lakers side. Since the 2009 NBA Draft, only 3 teams outside the top 3 highest chances of getting the number 1 pick have made it into the top 3 (Clippers, Cavaliers, and Wizards). Will the Lakers end up winning the lottery and getting the number 1 pick? On that note history is also in the Lakers favor, the teams with the third highest chances have won the NBA Lottery twice in the past 5 seasons.
With the NBA Draft Lottery, we as viewers shall see how the balls bounce for the Los Angeles Lakers and the rest of the league, I expect a very exciting lottery that can sway many team’s fortunes for seasons to come. Also do not be surprised if you hear a Lavar Ball rant …or two. Good Luck to all teams and their futures.
Written By: Daniel Malakismail