Following a surprising come from behind win, the Lakers moved up to 36-44 on the year and find themselves locked into finishing the year with no better than the 10th best odds heading into the NBA draft lottery. Despite finding a groove and at one point moving up to fourth in the Western Conference Standings, the Lakers suffered injuries to nearly every key contributor down the stretch and simply weren’t healthy enough to compete in the loaded Western Conference.
Looking forward to next season, the Lakers have tons of cap flexibility and will undoubtedly make a huge run at the top names in the upcoming free agency period. However, armed with at the very least a late lottery pick, the Lakers should have the ability to add another immediate impact, useful player to the rotation.
All that begs the question, just what are the latest chances for the Lakers to land a top overall pick?
Lakers NBA Draft Lottery: Latest Chances for Top Pick After Win Over Clippers
After the loss to the Clippers, the Lakers NBA draft lottery chances sit as follows:
(Lottery Chances Courtesy of Tankathon)
First Pick: 3%
Second Pick: 3.3%
Third Pick: 3.6%
Fourth Pick: 4%
Fifth Pick: N/A
Sixth Pick: N/A
Seventh Pick: N/A
Eighth Pick: N/A
Ninth Pick: N/A
Tenth Pick: 65.9%
Eleventh Pick: 19%
Twelfth Pick: 1.2%
Thirteenth Pick: N/A
Fourteenth Pick: N/A
Lakers NBA Draft Lottery Targets
Players: Zion Williamson, Coby White, Jarrett Culver
While Zion Williamson will not fall past the first pick, on the off chance the Lakers somehow land their 3% chance at the top overall pick, Williamson would be an obvious choice. Outside of Williamson, the Lakers glaring need sits at the shooting guard position. Both Coby White of UNC and Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech would help offer a promising option. Culver in particular is adept at creating his own shots and that skillset should fit in perfectly alongside LeBron James, who traditionally needs a player like that at his side.
Players: Keldon Johnson, Cameron Reddish, Jaxson Hayes, Bruno Fernando
Should the Lakers wind up falling in the much more likely 10-12 range for their pick, there still remain a number of quality options at the shooting guard and big man positions that could help right away. Keldon Johnson isn’t a high volume shooter from three but has shown the ability to knock them down at a very respectable clip and fits the mold of a secondary shot creator for the Lakers. Meanwhile, Cameron Reddish had a streaky year at Duke but has started to figure out his role as a floor-spacing shooting guard and has gotten much more consistent with his stroke from deep. A former top-five recruit out of high school, Reddish possesses a ton of upside that just got buried at Duke.
In terms of big men, Bruno Fernando and Jaxson Hayes seem to be an intriguing pair of prospects as both are supremely athletic and project to be athletic rim-running bigs at the next level. Especially if an Anthony Davis trade is out of the question and the Lakers are unable to lure Demarcus Cousins to LA, taking a big man early in the draft could pay big dividends a year or two down the road.