With the 2015-16 NBA season officially over the for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team’s next order of business is hoping the ping-pong balls bounce the right way during the NBA Draft Lottery on May 23. The Lakers have a top-three protected pick in the 2016 NBA Draft with a 55.8 percent chance of keeping their pick rather than handing it over to the Philadelphia 76ers as a result of the Steve Nash trade.
If the team can retain the pick with a favorable result in the lottery next month, the Lakers could elect to trade the pick. General manager Mitch Kupchak talked about keeping or potentially trading the pick this summer during the team’s final exit interviews on Friday at the practice facility, via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Kupchak said there are more than 2 potential All-Stars in the coming draft. If LAL keep the pick (56%), could take a top 3 guy or trade it.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 15, 2016
Although there are some talented draft prospects which could be there for the Lakers if they end up with the third overall pick like Jaylen Brown, Buddy Hield, Dragan Bender, and Jamal Murray, the consensus at this point is this draft is incredibly top heavy with all eyes on Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.
Many believe the talent level drops off considerably once Simmons and Ingram are off the board. Los Angeles could go the trade route if they can’t break into the top-two to grab Ingram or Simmons. Even if they end up with the top pick or second overall for the second straight year, trading the pick might be intriguing for Kupchak and company if DeMarcus Cousins or another big-name player in the league is on the trading block this summer.
The Lakers will have a 19.9 percent chance of landing the first overall pick on May 23. Last year, Los Angeles had an 11.9 percent chance to land the top pick but came away with the second pick in the draft at 12.6 percent which resulted in the team bringing in D’Angelo Russell.