The NBA’s new draft lottery format benefited the Lakers in a big way on Tuesday night. Under the old system, the lottery would have been complete once the first three picks were determined. This year though, one additional drawing was conducted, allowing the Lakers to defy the odds and move up all the way from No. 11 to No. 4. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com details, general manager Rob Pelinka was thrilled by the outcome.
“This is a powerful asset for us,” Pelinka said on a conference call. “We owe a commitment to our fans to have an outstanding season next year. What this does is it gives us the ability to either select an impact player at [No.] 4 or possibly use this as an extremely valuable asset in trade.”
While having a lottery pick just outside of the top 10 would have been useful for the Lakers, moving into the top five represents an “extraordinary shift” for the franchise, according to Pelinka.
“I mean, top-five picks in the draft, if you go back in the history and study them, those picks can alter and impact franchises,” Pelinka said. “This is a big moment for us. Last year, of course, we had to go through some hard and difficult things that this is certainly a great silver lining. Our dedication is really toward our fans right now and doing all we can to deliver a really special Lakers season for our fans.”
As we wait to see what the Lakers do with their pick, let’s round up a few more notes on the team…
- The one downside of the Lakers’ move up to No. 4 is that the increased cap hold for the higher pick will cut into their projected space, tweets cap expert Larry Coon. Based on the NBA’s current projections, it also may affect the team’s ability to land a max free agent. Our updated cap digest shows the Lakers can create $32.5MM in projected room — the maximum salary for a free agent like Kyrie Irving or Jimmy Butler (with 7-9 years of experience) would be $32.7MM.
- The Lakers don’t need to blow up their roster or their front office, but they’d benefit from adding some experience in both areas, according to Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times, who makes the case for why the team should hire an accomplished executive and add at least one or two veteran players this offseason.
- The Lakers are asking for trouble by hiring Jason Kidd as an assistant coach, says Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times, arguing that the Kidd decision is the most baffling one the team has made in recent months.
- Ohm Youngmisuk and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com recently took a deep dive into the Lakers’ front office hierarchy to determine who has the most influence and who’s calling the shots. Sources tell ESPN that Jeanie Buss, Rob Pelinka, Kurt Rambis, and Linda Rambis “operate as a group on basketball decisions.”