The Los Angeles Lakers were able to hang onto their first round pick Tuesday night, as for the third consecutive season they earned the No. 2 pick at the NBA Draft Lottery.
Keeping that pick will greatly aid Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka in their rebuilding process. Not only does the team get to pick this year in what many believe is a loaded draft but they also get to keep their 2019 first-round pick, as they are now sending the Orlando Magic two second round picks in 2017 and 2018 instead.
There has been rumors for some time now about the Lakers potentially trading for a superstar like Paul George of the Indiana Pacers this offseason, and having the second pick is another asset for a possible trade.
After the lottery Johnson and Pelinka commented about a possible trade, saying that they will keep the long term future of the organization in mind, via Mark Medina of the Southern California News Group:
On using No. 2 pick to draft player or trading it, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka stressed importance of keeping long term future in mind
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 17, 2017
Now that the lottery has come and gone, the Lakers front office can now focus on what prospect they want to draft, although it could be the Boston Celtics that make that decision for them as they own the top pick and many draft experts believe that point guards Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball will be the top two picks.
Both Fultz and Ball would seemingly fit in well with the Lakers, as D’Angelo Russell demonstrated an ability to shift over to shooting guard at the end of last season.
While trading the pick for George would give the Lakers the star that they have lacked since Kobe Bryant’s retirement, George is set to hit free agency next summer, so Johnson and Pelinka will have some big decisions to make regarding the future of the Lakers.