One would think that a struggling team who doesn’t make the playoffs could still look forward to the NBA Draft. Well, that’s not the case for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. Depending on their position in the draft, they could actually end up being the foundation for the rise of the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers in 2018. To put it bluntly, either the 76ers or the Celtics, thanks to the Lakers, could end up with Anthony Davis come draft night.
Draft night is a crap shoot. No matter your record and how many ping-pong balls you have in place, sometimes the odds just aren’t in your favor. For the Lakers, the 2018 NBA Draft is of no importance to them. No matter where they finish the year, their first-round selection belongs to someone else. If the pick is No. 1 or 6-30, then it goes to Philadelphia. If that pick falls between 2-5, then the Celtics get the pick. Pretty simple and good news for everyone but the Los Angeles Lakers.
With rumors swirling about the Celtics possibly going after Davis, according to ESPN, it’s the Lakers who could make that happen. If the Celtics were to land the pick at No. 2, then what they could do is turn around and offer a package that includes, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and that pick to New Orleans for Davis. Depending on how the Pelicans finish their season, they might be willing to part with Davis and keep DeMarcus Cousins as the new face. The Celtics are loaded with young talent, and they can afford to lose a few faces in the process. If the Pelicans were to turn that deal down, there’s always the possibility of adding Gordon Hayward to any package.
On the 76ers side of the coin, they are led by Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Robert Covington. This is the core the 76ers have hitched their future to. While players such Markell Fultz, Dario Saric, and Richaun Holmes are valuable parts, they can also become expendable when it comes to Davis. If the 76ers were to land either the No. 1 or a pick in the top 10, then why not offer a package including said pick, Saric, Fultz, or maybe a 2018 second rounder? Seems lopsided, but in essence, it’s not. The Pelicans will get rid of a large contract plus get a player who can provide a double-double (Saric), a top pick in the draft coupled with a high pick in the second round, and Fultz, who can still turn out to be something special.
As for the Los Angeles Lakers, this might turn out to be the season from hell if they cannot find a way to turn things around. Instead of rebuilding, they could be the ones who usher in a new dynasty for the Philadelphia 76ers or the Boston Celtics. That would really suck.
Getting Davis won’t be cheap. The Celtics and the 76ers will have to part with a top pick plus players with experience who have produced. However, there are not many teams who can offer such but the Celtics and 76ers. The Lakers themselves have a chance with a Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson package, but New Orleans seems content on keeping Davis through this year at least. But if they miss the postseason again, then all bets may be off.