With the NBA Draft Lottery taking place tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers will finally find out if they keep their top-three protected draft pick and general manager Mitch Kupchak will be in New York to represent the team.
The two top prospects available in this draft are LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram, but after that, most consider there to be a drop-off in talent.
The Lakers have a 55.8 percent chance of keeping their pick, but if the team falls one spot into the three slot, it is believed that they will look to move the pick according to ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider):
Multiple sources said at the combine this week that they expect the pick to be in play if it’s No. 3 — with the Lakers looking for a young veteran in return.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the Lakers are looking to accelerate their rebuilding project and adding another young player wouldn’t help that cause. Should this situation play out, however, the question will be what could the Lakers get in return for the third pick.
While players like Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender, and Buddy Hield are all talented prospects, they are not believed to have the star potential of Simmons or Ingram and thus wouldn’t bring back as much in a trade.
Kupchak will have to be very creative in figuring out what to do if this situation occurs. Of course, the Lakers could wind up with the first or second pick as well. The Lakers will have a ton of options if they keep the pick, and regardless of how it turns out, that is better than the alternative of having no pick.