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By now every Lakers’ fan is well aware that the Los Angeles Lakers have a top 3 protected 1st round pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft which means they’ll lose the pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if they end up in any other draft position other than the top 3.
What most fans are not aware of is that if that was to happen the Lakers wouldn’t just lose their first round pick in this year’s draft, but their first round pick in either 2018 or 2019 to the Orlando Magic as part of the Dwight Howard trade in 2012.
The failure that was the Dwight Howard trade comes back to haunt the Lakers’ organization. It was bad enough that the Lakers gave up their best trade asset at the time in Andrew Bynum to only get in return a one-year rental in Howard before he embarrassed the franchise that courted him with banners and #stay hashtags by shunning them for the Houston Rockets, leaving the Lakers for nothing else in return, it can be worse with them losing a immensely valuable future first round pick while they are in the midst of rebuild.
The way that it works out is if the Lakers lose their first round pick in 2016 to the Philadelphia 76ers by falling out of the top 3, which is part of the old Steve Nash trade with the Phoenix Suns in 2012, it automatically gives their 2018 to 1st round pick to the Orlando Magic which would be top 5 protected, then unprotected in 2019.
In the above scenario the Lakers 2017 first round pick would be theirs to keep and come without any restrictions meaning they are guaranteed to keep their pick no matter where they end up after the draft lottery. Keeping their pick without restrictions would be a refreshing change for the organization and their fans by not being having to endure the anxiety and stress of watching the unveiling of the draft lottery results that determine if they get to keep their pick in that draft.
The 2017 draft is one a team will want to be a part of by having a lottery pick with its class being projected as one of the deepest in years. The big names in the 2017 draft are Duke committed forward Harry Giles and the do-it-all swing man, athletic freak Josh Jackson.
We have already proclaimed our excitement for Jackson on our Twitter account:
My early Prospect Crush for the 2017 NBA Draft is Josh Jackson. If you need to tank, tank for JJ in 2017: pic.twitter.com/1bNVJMxdpB
— raining3s (@raining3sdotcom) March 24, 2016
That is the silver lining in the Lakers losing their 2016 first round pick, and in effect their 2018 or 2019 first rounder, in that they get to keep their pick in the stacked 2017 NBA draft.
The 2016 NBA Draft is considered weak outside of the top 2 so if a team is to lose a first round pick this is the year to do it; but, is losing that second first round pick too much for a Lakers franchise that has just started their rebuilding process and still in desperate need to collect talent and assets.
While it might not seem like it, the Lakers are facing a dilemma. Commons sense says having more first round picks is better but it might not if the the pool of talent in those draft classes in which they pick pale in comparison to the one that they would miss which in this case is that deep 2017 draft.
Of course, there is no guarantee the Lakers will be players in that 2017 draft even if they get to keep that pick because they might actually surprise the league and win enough games that would place them with low odds in the draft lottery which will put them out of the running for a top pick. The 2017 draft is deep but if they fall down to 9th or higher (10th+) the talent starts getting pretty thin in most classes.
A scenario where the Lakers receive a windfall of luck can also occur where they keep their pick in 2016, ideally a top 2 pick in order to draft Simmons or Ingram, then keep their pick again in the coveted 2017 draft by landing in the top 3 which is also top 3 protected. The Lakers then give up their 2018 first round pick to the 76ers which at that point would be unprotected, but they avoid having to give up the additional 1st round pick to the Magic and instead give up two second round picks. In this scenario the Lakers would compiled high end young talent in what will be 4 straight drafts. This of course is the best case scenario but very unlikely to occur.
A lot is riding on the outcome of the next NBA Draft Lottery for the Lakers’ franchise. The prospects of the Lakers’ future will be decided by the randomness of ping pong balls with numbers that will be pulled from a machine. Sadly its a situation the Lakers and their fans are now very familiar with having gone through this process the last two years.