Lakers rumors have long linked the team to Ben Simmons. But what if the L.A. Lakers lose that first-round draft pick? The very real possibility exists that the Lakers could have that first-round selection taken away due to a trade made several years ago. In the final 2016 NBA standings, the Lakers finished with the second-worst record in the entire league at 17-65. This fact means that the Lakers now have the second-best chance at being awarded the top pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. But it’s only a chance and not a guarantee that the team will even retain that first-round selection.
As part of the trade to acquire Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns, the L.A. Lakers offered a 2016 first-round pick to the complete it. That pick was later traded by the Suns to the Philadelphia 76ers. The pick stays with the Lakers if the team remains in one of the top three slots. If, during the NBA Draft Lottery, the Lakers fall out of that top three, the pick then goes to the 76ers. It’s a worst-case scenario for the Lakers and something that 76ers fans are hoping can take place this summer.
There are going to be a lot of L.A. Lakers rumors during the offseason, including several top free agents getting linked to the team. If the Lakers don’t get a top pick like Ben Simmons from LSU or Brandon Ingram from Duke, the roster won’t be as enticing to a player like Kevin Durant. The Lakers would still have a second-round selection at No. 32 overall, but missing out on a first-round pick, as the team tries to rebuild quickly, could be a huge problem.
A previous report from NBA.com breaks down exactly how the NBA Draft Lottery works each season. To explain it in easy terms, every team that fails to make the NBA Playoffs is given a chance to be in the top three selections. Lottery balls are drawn to determine a four-number combination that has previously been assigned to one of the 14 teams that missed the playoffs. There are 1,000 number combinations available and the worst team in the league receives 250 (25 percent) of them.
As the L.A. Lakers finished with the second-worst record in the NBA, the team will be assigned 199 number combinations. This gives the team a 19.9 percent shot at getting the first overall pick. Breaking those numbers down a bit further, the Lakers also have an 18.8 percent chance at drafting No. 2 and a 17.1 percent chance at drafting No. 3. The bad news, in regards to the Lakers rumors about the pick, is that the team has a 44.2 percent chance of losing that draft pick by getting drawn No. 4 or No. 5.
The odds are still in favor of the Lakers keeping that pick (55.8 percent), but it is not a sure thing by any measurement. There have been a number of lotteries that turned out in favor of teams that just barely missed the playoffs, giving continued hope to teams like the Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, and Orlando Magic of moving up in the draft order. The Bull finished with the 14th-worst record, just barely missing the playoffs, so the team will receive only five of the 1,000 combinations during the NBA Draft Lottery.
The ping pong balls will be drawn on May 19. The results of that drawing will air live on television, giving fans tuning in for the NBA Playoffs a chance to see how it all plays out. This is a huge day for every team not participating in the postseason, as it will shape how free agency and how the 2016 NBA Draft on June 25 will look. Many new L.A. Lakers rumors will follow the NBA Draft Lottery whether it is a focus on who the team is going to draft or how the team will react to losing that first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers.
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