This Day In Lakers History: L.A. Lands 2nd Pick In 2016 NBA Draft Lottery
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Draft Lottery can be one of the most exciting – and stressful – days of the season. A random drawing of ping pong balls can have a massive impact on a team’s future, a fact that the Los Angeles Lakers are all too well aware of.

However, on May 17, 2016, the basketball gods smiled upon the Lakers and awarded them the second overall pick in the draft. It was a moment of relief for the Lakers, who had been in jeopardy of losing the pick altogether unless it landed in the top three.

As part of the ill-fated Steve Nash trade in 2012, the first-round pick that the Lakers owed the Phoenix Suns (which was later traded to the Philadelphia 76ers) would stay in the possession of the Lakers only if it fell in the top three.

Most saw this condition as an afterthought, as surely the Lakers would stay near the top of the league, but a difficult rebuilding period made the protection suddenly very relevant.

In 2015, the Lakers finished with the fourth-worst record, but their pick was only top-five protected that season, creating some drama over whether or not they would have anything to show for a difficult season. They ultimately jumped up two spots to the second pick and took D’Angelo Russell.

The next year, however, the odds were worse and so was the team’s record. The Lakers had fallen to the second-worst record in the league but had just a 55.8 percent chance of keeping their pick because the protection dropped to top-three.

To lose it after what had been the worst season in the team’s history would have been devastating for a franchise that badly needed young talent to rebuild around.

Fortunately for them, the draft order did not change, leaving them with the second pick for the second year in a row. They would go on to select Brandon Ingram out of Duke with the pick.

WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB

You May Also Like

Lakers History: Lakers Defeat Sixers For 2001 NBA Championship

The 2000-2001 regular season was a bit of a disappointment for the…

This Day In Lakers History: Kobe Bryant’s 45 Points Help Topple Grizzlies In Overtime

Coming off of the thrilling conquest of the 2001-02 NBA Finals victory over the New Jersey Nets, the Los Angeles…

This Day In Lakers History: Kobe Bryant Scores Game-High 37 Points In Win Against Heat

Coming off a disappointing postseason exit, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2005-06 NBA season with a clean…

This Day In Lakers History: Kareem Rush Makes Six 3-Pointers In Game 6 Win Over Timberwolves In WCF, Sends L.A. To 4th NBA Finals In 5 Years

After an unceremonious exit at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs…