The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t sure whether or not they will have their first round pick in June’s NBA Draft, but they already have a plan in place regardless. Their pick this summer is top-three protected, which means that unless it falls in the first three selections in the draft lottery, the pick will go to the Philadelphia 76ers. There is a 46.9 percent chance of the pick landing in the top three, and there are actually two picks on the line for the Lakers, as their 2019 first-round pick will go to the Orlando Magic if they lose their 2017 selection.
Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka will be a major part of the decision-making process should the team (hopefully) keep their pick, and he will also be responsible for adapting should the worst happen and the pick be lost. Not waiting for the ping pong balls to determine the team’s fate, Pelinka already has his strategy plotted out, per Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Pelinka stressed that the Lakers have a great attack plan for the draft & if they don’t get a Top 3 pick, they’re prepared for that as well
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 13, 2017
Should the basketball gods smile upon Los Angeles and deliver a top-three pick, Pelinka will likely wind up drafting a player like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, or Josh Jackson. However, the fact that Pelinka called it an “attack plan” sounds a bit more aggressive than simply picking the best available prospect. Could he be determined to find a trade that would bring in an impact player?
Furthermore, we also don’t know what Pelinka’s plan will be if the ping pong balls don’t bounce the Lakers’ way. Losing two first-round picks in the next three years, would they still be able to make the kind of major move that would jump-start the rebuild? It’s going to be a busy summer in Los Angeles, and all fans can do is pray for lottery luck and sound decision making.