Lakers NBA Draft ’17 Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers came away from Brooklyn, New York with draft night that has a lot of fans excited for the future. Spearheaded by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka in their first draft as a NBA front office, the Lakers added a handful of young talent that would surely make this year’s Summer League something to look forward to once again.

At the #2 slot, the team got their guy in Lonzo Ball, effectively ushering in the Ball era in Los Angeles. The Big Baller Brand was well represented in the ceremonies, as ESPN gave an ample amount of screen time to the Big Baller himself, LaVar Ball, who as of Thursday night, has spoken the Ball dream into existence. Hoops fans around the world were treated to more than a few classic LaVar promos.

Ball wasn’t the only rookie picked by the purple and gold that night, as the team made some moves that ended with the team acquiring a total of 4 draft picks on the night. they flipped their 28th pick to the Utah Jazz and received picks 30 and 42.

Kuz

With the 27th pick, the Lakers selected Kyle Kuzma, a junior from Utah. Potentially a versatile power forward in the NBA level, the 21 year old measures in at 6″9 with a 7″0 wingspan, is capable of scoring in transition and is more than comfortable running the floor in an open court offense. His shot does need some work, but Kuzma has the potential to be serviceable stretch 4 in the league if he can overcome consistency issues on his mechanics. So far, the kid seems to happy to be a Laker.

For the last pick of the first round, the Lakers selected Josh Hart from Villanova. While not as young as most of his peers in the draft, the shooting guard’s four years in a winning program along with his skills as a shooter and competitiveness as a defender suggests that he can contribute right away in the NBA level.

Josh hart

Averaging 18 points a game at 57% clip and 40% shooting from deep he projects to help a team devoid of any real outside threats, and his physical profile at 6″6 with a 6″8 wingspan will help him possibly cover 1-3 positions defensively.

Thanks to the maneuvering of the front office, the team also got to pick in the second round, which initially they weren’t supposed to. They selected 19 year old Center Thomas Bryant from Indiana. As a 42nd pick, Bryant looks to be a nice find late in the draft, as he has a serviceable jump shot that can stretch all the way from beyond the arc and a high motor that allowed him to average 9.5 rebounds per 40 minutes and his length at 6″10 with a 7″6 wingspan permits him to block 2.2 shots per 40 min. He does have mobility issues at his size which poses questions about how serviceable he can be in the pros, but his youth leaves a lot of room for him to grow and his fulfill his potential as a valuable stretch 5.

Thomas Bryant

As the draft itself concluded, the Lakers were not quite done adding rookies to the squad. ESPN reports that South Carolina guard P.J. Dozier signed a free agent contract with the Lakers.

While going undrafted shows some concerns as to how Dozier’s game, as it is quite raw at this stage, will translate to the ┬ánext level, he shows potential as playmaker and an athletic finisher off the dribble. Measuring in at 6″6 with shoes and a 6″11 wingspan at the NBA draft combine, he is an oversized guard, who if he can develop a reliable jumpshot and rounds out his playmaking skills, can become a mismatch for the rest of the league who would thrive in Luke Walton’s offense. Details of his contract are still a mystery, but us fans can be certain that he will be able to showcase his talents in the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League, along the other young talented rookies and second year guys from the Lakers.

PJ Dozier

The Lakers came out of Brooklyn with a very solid draft that looked to primarily address the team’s shooting needs, in hopes of implementing an open floor type of play with a heavy emphasis on ball movement and team defense. After watching film on these new crop of rookies, and after hearing from Magic and Pelinka themselves in a recent press conference, these guys ┬ákeep the ball moving and play a disciplined and mature game of basketball.

The team intends to build around Ball as the new face of the Lakers, and it did so by drafting what they claim as complimentary pieces late in the draft that will help the new Lakers point guard set the table and bring Showtime back to Hollywood.

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Flying Under The Radar: Dennis Smith Jr.

It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have been dwelling at the bottom of the NBA for the last four years. With the last winning season dating all the way back to 2013, the Lakers have been living in the lottery ever since, praying for ping pong balls to bounce in their favor seemingly every year. Now that the basketball gods have rewarded us with 4 consecutive top 10 picks, with the last three being in the top 2, the team once again has some decisions to make for the future of the storied franchise. Admittedly, four years in the lottery has forced me, a lifetime Lakers loyalist, to consume every scouting report found on the internet and watch film on prospects dissecting every strength and weakness like Alex getting rehab from “the old ultraviolence” in Clockwork Orange. This lead me to discover a few interesting prospects over the years.

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With all these talented young players entering the draft, it somewhat becomes difficult to even keep track of everyone, ending in some prospects flying under the radar. The so-called sleepers, the diamonds in the rough, the prospects nearly forgotten because of the sheer amount of talent coming into the NBA. This year, with all the commotion surrounding the Lakers pick, the drama of who they pick in the group of Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox, or even whether they trade the pick or not, I feel as if the Lakers, and most other teams in the top 10, have been overlooking a talented point guard from North Carolina State: Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis-Smith-Jr.

DraftExpress currently has Dennis Smith Jr. sitting at #10, but I believe he can easily be as high as top 5. I mean, scouts actually have him behind mystery man from France Frank Ntilikina, who played very limited minutes overseas! It’s still a mystery to me how a player like Smith is sitting as low as number 10 in draft boards.

His blend of physicality and athleticism would fit in well in today’s game, where he can thrive in an open court style of play. He’s not as tall as as some of the top lead guards in his class like Ball or Markelle Fultz, topping in at 6″1 with shoes and a meager 6″3 wingspan at the draft combine, but his explosive play style makes up for his lack of length. Some even liken him to an Eric Bledsoe, an athletic freak in a compact body, who can create shots for himself and finish through contact, and it’s not hard to see why.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns

Smith recently worked out for the Lakers this past weekend, and via Mark Medina of the Southern California News Group he reportedly recorded an impressive 48 inch vertical, highlighting a valuable strength of his and if you combine that with his tough shot making ability as a score first guard, you have yourself an impact player on day one for any team.

While Smith would be a good pick up for any team, especially for a club that needs a point guard, he does not come without some concerns. If I were to sum up his flaws, the common theme would be inconsistency. Whether it be his jumpshot or his defensive effort, his inconsistencies hinder him from being efficient in games. He has the build and the foot speed to be a good defender but effort seems to be lacking at times and his over reliance on his athletic tools makes him settle for tough shots, and while he does have the ability to make them, it does limit his efficiency in the offense. Along with many young point guards coming into the league as teenagers, he also needs to strike a better balance of scoring and facilitating because as of now, he’s merely a score first guard, which I believe the Lakers don’t necessarily need more of.

Overall, I think Dennis Smith Jr. is a great talent that would thrive in today’s fast paced, open floor NBA. His athleticism and scoring ability is valuable and almost a requisite for today’s lead guards, and his consistency issues should be amendable in a professional setting. While there are some questions of fit for him in a Lakers uniform with so many scoring guards on the roster, his natural God given gifts should at the very least warrant some consideration. He is currently an underrated talent, and most underrated talent seem to do well in the NBA.

 

Top 5 Prospects The Lakers Should Consider At #28

Thanks to a trade deadline deal where the Los Angeles Lakers moved Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a late 1st round pick, the purple and gold are afforded one more slot to add young talent in quite a deep draft. Recently, the Lakers have enjoyed quite a bit of success in drafting late, with picks turning into solid rotation players with upside like Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac.

Given the track record of the team’s scouting department, it’s not a stretch to believe that the team could once again add a solid, young piece from such a deep draft class. With the 28th pick, these are some prospects I believe the Lakers should consider, given their blend of physical tools, basketball ability and potential.

5. Bam Adebayo C – Kentucky (6″9, 243 lbs, 7″2 Wingspan)

Bam Adebayo

Stats Per Game: 13.0 PTS, 8.0 TRB, 0.8 AST, 59.9% FG, 65.3% FT

Bam Adebayo from Kentucky is a physical specimen at the center position who plays with a quick bounce and high motor, especially on the offensive glass where he averages an impressive 3.1 boards a game. At 243 lbs with only 5.2% body fat, his strong frame helps him create and finish off dunks inside. With great lower body strength, he’s also comfortable defending the perimeter, as a result of Kentucky switching everything on a lot of defensive coverages last season. His athleticism helps in that part of his game as well.

My concern with Adebayo is his redundancy when compared to a player who’s already on the roster in Tarik Black. They both have similar physical profiles, and almost the same skill sets. They are also both limited on the offensive side of the ball, with the exception of scoring within 5 feet of the basket. While Black’s contract is unguaranteed for next year, I’m not so sure about replacing him Adebayo, who’s basically the same player, but lacks experience in the pros as well as experience playing in the Lakers system.

With that said, the Lakers do need depth at the 5 spot, and Adebayo’s youth means that he has plenty of upside to offer and that he won’t be taking away much minutes away from anyone in the rotation. This gives him and the team some time to develop his game to a point where he can hopefully contribute in the future. (i.e. once we get rid of that Mozgov contract)

4. Devin Robinson SF/PF – Florida (6″8, 200 lbs, 7″0 Wingspan)┬á

Devin Robinson

Stats Per Game: 11.1 PTS, 6.1 TRB, 0.6 AST, 47.5% FG, 39.1% 3P, 72.3% FT

Devin Robinson is a Junior from Florida who projects to play either forward positions. At 6″8 with a 7″0 wingspan, he’s a great athlete capable of making plays above the rim with a 41.5″ max vertical and a 8″10 Standing reach. He has improved in each of the three years he spent with Florida with regards to his 3 point shooting, with last season being his most efficient from behind the arc at 39.1%. He’s also capable of filling the lanes for points off transition. Good lateral quickness allows him to stay on his man, and at his size and reach, he’s able to challenge shots well with rangy contests.

At this stage of his development, he’s not the most creative shot maker. His game off the dribble leaves a lot to be desired and at times he’s also prone to defensive lapses, due to his lack of awareness off the ball and off screens. With that said, I think he would fit well in a back up role. He may not have highest of ceilings being older (22 years old) than most of his peers, but if he’s able to translate his improves spot up shooting and work on his lapses defensively and overall basketball IQ, I believe he can develop into a high level role player off the bench for the Lakers. A team that needs added depth in the small forward department with Luol Deng and Corey Brewer not being the long term options at that position would do well with drafting 3 year college guy like Robinson who has all the tools of becoming a serviceable two way player.

3. P.J. Dozier SG – South Carolina (6″6, 201 lbs, 6″11 Wingspan)

PJ Dozier

Stats Per Game: 13.9 PTS, 4.8 TRB, 2.8 AST, 40.7% FG, 29.8% 3P, 59.7% FT

P.J. Dozier is another big body that projects to play multiple positions in the NBA. His size allows him to operate especially well in transition, where he showed last year that he’s capable of running the floor as a playmaker or finisher early in the shot clock. His 6″6, 6″11 wingspan will prove valuable in seeing over the defense thus opening up his potential as a big playmaking guard. While his playmaking is far from a finished product, his calling card right now is the defensive side of the floor. As a rangy defender who covers a lot of ground, his physical tools enable him to disrupt passing lanes for easy points off turnovers. His effectiveness both on and off the ball is only highlighted by the fact that he stays engaged on defense every time.

His awful shooting all around will hurt him early on. His inconsistent shot mechanics have lead to awful misses, and it’s only magnified even more by his lack of creativity in making his own shot in the half court. His decision making will also need work as he has been erratic at times with the ball, leading to costly turnovers for his team. He does have the potential to be a really good role player for the Lakers, and maybe even more if he’s able to drastically improve hi shooting and smooth out his playmaking. I see Dozier capable of filling that Shaun Livingston role with the Lakers, a big guard who can initiate the offense and exploit mismatches with his size against rival guards.

2. Thomas Bryant C – Indiana (6″10, 241 lbs, 7″6 Wingspan)

Thomas Bryant

Stats Per Game: 12.6 PTS, 6.6 TRB, 1.5 AST, 51.9% FG, 38.3% 3P, 73% FT

He is in no way related to a certain Laker legend, but Thomas Bryant has all the physical tools and skills to thrive in today’s NBA. Standing at 6″10, 248 lbs with a 7″6 wingspan, the Indiana product is not afraid to get physical in the paint. His enormous standing reach of 9.4″5 is incredible, especially when you consider the fact that there are just eight players currently in the NBA with a greater reach. At only 19 years old, he carried a bulk of the Indiana offense, bumping into bodies in the paint, finishing through contact and shooting from the outside. The big man has shown he is capable of making the 3 point shot consistently, making 23 of his 60 attempts in his sophomore season, a far cry from the 5-15 clip in his first year in college.

He also showed he was capable of putting the ball on the floor for straight line drives coming all the way from beyond the arc and penetrating inside. This part of his game does make him turnover prone, as this leads to a lot of poor decisions either resulting into turnovers off bad dribbling or bad passes. His lack of bounce also makes him rely heavily on his physicality, as he averaged 3.1 fouls per game. While his post moves still needs some extra polish, I believe Bryant has the makings of a modern NBA 5, able to stretch the floor as well as be physical in the paint. Overall, I don’t see him carrying the same weight of responsibility he did in Indiana to the NBA, and at just 19 years old, his game will only continue to thrive and improve with the team and system the Lakers currently have. Timofey Mozgov won’t be a Laker for long.

1. Jordan Bell PF – Oregon (6″8, 224 lbs, 6″11 Wingspan)

Jordan Bell

Stats Per Game: 10.9 PTS, 8.8 TRB, 1.8 AST, 63.6% FG, 21.4% 3P, 70.1% FT

Jordan Bell is a defensive beast and it’s surprising to me that he’s currently ranked #35 on DraftExpress, not even in the first round! His defensive versatility is exactly what the Lakers need. A great athlete capable of making high energy plays, he puts himself in opportunities to score of rim runs and lobs. The PAC 12 Defensive Player of the Year averaged 3.1 blocks and 1.8 steals per 40 minutes for Oregon last season, showing he’s capable of defending inside as well as from the perimeter. He stays active both on and off the ball defensively, and his high motor lead to 4 offensive rebounds a game per 40 minutes, showing he can make multiple effort plays, even if the rebound is outside his area.

As of right now, he is limited offensively. His jumpshot still need some work, as most of his points have come off finishing at the rim. He also needs to work on boxing out more on his rebounds, as he relies too much on his athleticism to fight for boards. This habit of his has proven costly in the recent past, specifically in the NCAA tournament. In a game that was decided in the clutch, Bell failed to box out his man leading to multiple opportunities to ice the game at the foul line, leading to North Carolina advancing from the Final Four.

Overall, I like Bell’s game and I believe his defensive versatility would fit in well with what the Lakers would like to run defensively. With the ability to switch everything, he proves to be an immediate impact on that side of the floor. While his work on the pick and roll is already serviceable, as he is capable of reading the floor off short rolls and make that extra pass as well as finish himself as the roll man, adding a serviceable jumpshot to his game would do wonders for him and the team. I proceed with caution when is say this, but you could make the case for Bell as the next Draymond Green. If you’re the Lakers, you would love to have that kind of skill set on your team any day.

*Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com. Player Measurements courtesy of DraftExpress.com

Top 5 Prospects Other Than Lonzo Ball The Lakers Should Consider at No. 2

The Los Angeles Lakers will once again be picking at the 2nd selection overall in this year’s NBA Draft. With Washington product Markelle Fultz considered by many to go to the rival Boston Celtics at number 1, let’s look at five prospects in this year’s talented crop of rookies that the purple and gold could potentially add to their current line up of young talent.

While many project Lonzo Ball to be a Laker, it’s essential that the organization, as well as us fans, take a long, hard look at this year’s pool of incoming rookies, as it is the most talented collection of prospects to enter the league in awhile.

5. Jonathan Isaac – Florid State (6″11, 205 lbs, 7″1 Wingspan)

jonathan isaac

Stats per Game: 12.0 PTS, 7.8 TRB, 1.2 AST, 50.8% FG, 34.8% 3P, 78.0% FT

Jonathan Isaac is an intriguing option for the Lakers at number 2. Standing at 6″10 with a 7″1 wingspan and a 9″1 standing reach, he possesses great physical tools that will aid him in playing against the best athletes in the pros. In his one year with the Seminoles, he has shown that he is able to play both forward positions, highlighting his offensive versatility while also showing great competitive spirit when covering guys from guards, wings and bigs on the defensive end.

As physically gifted as Isaac is, there are still some concerns about his game, and how it would translate into the NBA. He is good at covering small forwards, however his current skill set projects more of stretch 4, and even then he may not be ready to play that position in the pros. An inconsistent jumper and sub par playmaking skills will cripple him as an SF, while his slight frame may hinder him from challenging grown men power forwards.

But the potential for Isaac is clear. With the physical tools that he has, he has the potential to become a very versatile player on both ends of the floor. A lineup that could feature D’Angelo Russell (6″5), Brandon Ingram (6’9), Isaac (6″11) and Julius Randle (6″9), would not only be extremely long, but has the potential to provide floor spacing and the capability to switch everything defensively, two things that coincide with the vision of head coach Luke Walton for this Lakers team.

4. ┬áMalik Monk – Kentucky (6″3, 197 lbs, 6″6 Wingspan)

Malik Monk

Stats: 19.8 PTS, 2.5 TRB, 2.3 AST, 45.0% FG, 39.7% 3P, 82.2% FT

No one can deny Malik Monk’s greatness as a scorer. The Kentucky product, armed with a sweet jumpshot and great athleticism, has shown his lethal scoring capabilities in his one year playing college ball. At 6″3 with a 6″6 wingspan, it was mesmerizing to watch Monk hit tough fadeaways and stepbacks right between the eyes of defenders. Quick to get into his pull ups in the half court, the threat of his jumpshot opens up lanes for him to attack the rim where he was able to showcase his athleticism with impressive dunks.

He does lack the physical tools defensively, seeing as he had trouble covering opposing 2-guards. His size for a shooting guard also raises questions of how his scoring, his most valuable asset, will translate once he goes up against NBA shooting guards. He also has a tendency of settling for tough, contested jumpshots, and his ceiling as a playmaker seems to be low due to his score-first mentality and his average skills as a penetrator.

As a tough shot maker with a great competitive spirit, Monk is a prospect that’s going to be hard to pass up for teams in need of a scoring punch. As of now, without much playmaking skills outside of throwing some well timed lobs, I see Monk as a Lou Williams type player who’s capable of scoring in bunches and could be absolutely lights out once he gets into a groove. Drafting someone who has a motor, competitive spirit, and an offensive arsenal like Monk would be great for the Lakers, especially if the organization is as insistent on making Russell more of a leader as the point guard on the floor.

 

3. Jayson Tatum – Duke (6″8, 210 lbs, 6″11 Wingspan)

Jayson Tatum

Stats: 16.8 PTS, 7.3 TRB, 2.1 AST, 45.2% FG, 34.2% 3P, 84.9% FT

Jayson Tatum is one of the most offensively polished players in this year’s draft. With a smooth scoring game, he won’t overwhelm you with his athleticism, but he will come at you with his array of moves in the halfcourt. He has the body of a prototypical NBA wing at 6″8 with 6″11 wingspan, and his wide shoulders and great upper body strength will allow him to play either forward spots. His arsenal of post moves, aided by sound footwork, proves to be very polished at his age, and his maturity shows in his game, as he is patient with his offense, especially when he goes to work in mid range, isolation situations.

Although he does have some defensive upside, as he is able to cover more ground than most on contests and close outs, his defensive effort does come and go. His streaky shooting may also be concerning for some teams, and his 34.2% shooting from behind the arc is not something to write home about. Given the benefit of going up against college level 4s for the most part, and with his offensive game relying heavily on isolation heavy contested mid range shots, it remains to be seen if his shooting range will adapt on to a NBA court.

As far as the Lakers are concerned, you would draft Jayson Tatum with mindset of possibly shuffling you starting lineup. Since Tatum doesn’t have the quickness to go up against opposing guards, ideally you would start him at the SF position. Does that mean you slide Ingram down to the 2? Drafting Tatum opens up a lot of lineup possibilities, plus his potential as a go to scorer who you can just dump the ball in the post to get you buckets will be hard to pass up, especially when you consider the fact that your featured lineup would be comprised of Russell (6″5), Ingram (6″9), Tatum (6″8) and Randle (6″9). A lineup capable of switching everything and provide floor spacing (once they all reach their potential), will be scary for the league in the years to come.

 

2. De’Aaron Fox – Kentucky (6″3, 180 lbs, 6″6 Wingspan)

DeAaron Fox

Stats: 16.7 PTS, 3.9 TRB, 4.6 AST, 47.8% FG, 24.6% 3P, 73.9% FT

De’Aaron Fox is a high level athlete with tremendous burst off the bounce. Capable of playing above the rim, and taking the ball coast to coast on fastbreak situations, his speed and tight handle will aid him in the pro game. He is an aggressive rim attacker, as ┬áevidenced by his 7.5 free throw attempts per 40 minutes. His agility and athleticism, really opens up his game, whether it’s collapsing the defense thus opening up playmaking opportunities, or his quick reaction time coupled with his instincts on the defensive side of the floor. With great lateral quickness and aggression to get after it defensively, he averaged 1.9 steals per 40 min.

As great as Fox is as an athlete, at time he does rely too heavily on his God given gifts. He has a tendency to over penetrate on the drive leading to turnovers, and his reliance on his athleticism to create offense offense for himself and his teammates leaves a lot of room to improve his overall basketball IQ, in order to strike a balance as a scorer and a playmaker. His wiry thin frame is not ideal when attacking the paint filled with NBA bigs. He doesn’t shy away from physicality, which is why many teams love the edge he plays with, but his slight frame will be of concern, especially when it comes to injuries. If you also take into account his poor outside shooting, teams will shrink the floor on him, taking away driving lanes thus limiting his offense.

An improvement in shooting will go a long way in elevating his game. A pairing of Fox and D’Angelo Russell in the backcourt may result in a dynamic tandem, with Fox’s athleticism and reputation as a slasher complimenting Russell’s outside shooting and scoring capabilities.

 

1. Josh Jackson – Kansas (6″8, 207 lbs, 6″10 Wingspan)

Kansas v Kansas State

Stats: 16.3 PTS, 7.4 TRB, 3.0 AST, 51.3% FG, 37.8% 3P, 56.6% FT

Josh Jackson projects to be the best prospect outside of Fultz and Ball in this year’s class, and it’s easy to see why. Standing at 6″8 with a 6″10 wingspan, Jackson fits the mold of a prototypical NBA wing, and his athletic ability definitely stand out. His bread and butter is defense. He plays physically on that side of the floor, and quick feet along with active hands help him a great deal when covering his man. He’s also active on the boards, showing a great second bounce when going after offensive rebounds. With averages of 7.4 TRB, 2.1 STL and 1.3 blocks per 40 min, he projects to be an immediate defensive boon for any team. He has also shown he’s capable of contributing on the offensive end as a playmaker who operates well on the open floor.

His weakness lies in his shooting. His inconsistencies with his form and shot mechanics has resulted in terrible bricks and misses. Although he sinked in 37.8% of his three point tries, and has shown improvement as the season went on, he’s still streaky on that regard. Plus his 56.6% shooting on free throws is discouraging, to say the least.

Overall, I see Jackson’s two way potential, but his upside is dependent on how he develops as a shooter. Right now, he’s lacking creativity with his shot creation, settling for too many contested pull ups, so I don’t see him contributing much offensively outside of scoring in the paint off cuts and transition opportunities, spot ups, and maybe as a secondary playmaker. But with the Lakers lacking on the defensive side of the ball, Jackson would be a great addition, as at the very least, he gives you great individual defense and also fill in either wing position.

 

 

Well That Was Close

Some will say it’s luck, some would even say it was rigged.

I say it was magic. (see what I did there?)

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Just a little over a month has passed after the Lakers turned in another losing season, the basketball gods rewarded the storied franchise with yet another 2nd overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. With only a 46% chance of keeping the pick and finishing in the top 3, the Lakers did one better and got the 2nd pick, leaving the Phoenix Suns, the team with the 2nd worst record in the league, to fall all the way to number 4. After what many fans deemed a failed tank after a late season run where the Lakers went on a 5 game winning streak, the pick seemed to be all but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, who were owed the pick if it falls out the top top 3.

Nope.

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The Suns fell in the lottery, the 76ers didn’t get our pick, and the basketball gods rewarded the Lakers’ late season surge with a sky hook all the way to number 2.

This will be their 3rd consecutive year picking in the top 2.

President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson represented the team at lottery night, with all smiles as if the whole event was a mere formality.

This day marks the 37 year anniversary of Magic’s first ever NBA title.

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And it wasn’t just any old championship, this was a Game 7 where a rookie Magic started at Center, replacing an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and led the team 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and a win against Dr. J and the 76ers en route to a Finals MVP. After nearly 40 years, the Laker legend once again delivers at a time of great need.

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Yeah, the Lakers were not leaving New York without a draft pick tonight.

Whoever the Lakers end up picking come draft night will be the main talking point of every discussion until the much anticipated night comes. A strong draft class like this year that features potential franchise cornerstones has rejuvenated a fanbase that was sweating buckets leading up to the lottery. Entering the top 3, thus keeping their hold of the pick, and on top of that finishing 2nd overall, was nothing short of magic for a franchise that desperately needed to hold on to such a valuable piece.

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Whatever happens between now and June will be interesting, to say the least but for tonight, Laker fans can rejoice after a long┬áseason that saw the Lakers take more losses than most teams in the association. As a fan, it’s nice to see all those Ls culminate into one, big W.

Forecast: The future looks bright, Los Angeles.

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