The Los Angeles Lakers will not have to wait too much longer to know their fate in the NBA’s Draft Lottery. Thanks to the ill-fated Steve Nash trade, Los Angeles must surrender their first-round pick this year to the Philadelphia 76ers unless it falls in the top three selections. The NBA determines draft order by a lottery, and because they finished the season with the third-worst record in the league, the Lakers will have just a 46.9 percent chance to keep their pick this year.
Making things even more dramatic, the Lakers have two first-round picks on the line, as the pick they owe the Orlando Magic in 2019 will instead turn into two second-round picks if they manage to keep their selection this year.
Despite the high stakes, general manager Rob Pelinka is optimistic about his team’s future. Pelinka will be the first to know whether or not the basketball gods have smiled upon Los Angeles in the lottery because he will be the team’s representative in the room with the ping pong balls that determine the fate of the 14 lottery teams.
According to Pelinka, success won’t be determined by whether or not they manage to hang onto their pick this year, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
“Magic and I just have a real level of confidence and optimism,” Pelinka said. “Our trust is in hard work and kind of just the pursuit of excellence with everything we do. It’s not contingent on getting the pick or not getting the pick.”
While Pelinka is confident regardless of the outcome, there is no question that the Lakers are better off if they hang onto their pick this summer. Not only would it give them the opportunity to draft one of the several impressive talents in this year’s draft but it would also place a future pick back into their war chest, which is a major blessing for a rebuilding team.
With odds that equate to slightly less than a coin flip, the Lakers will have to hope that their luck holds out during Tuesday’s draft lottery, and if it doesn’t, their backup plan is going to have to be executed perfectly if the team is going to put themselves back on track this summer.