The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2019 NBA draft lottery with 1% odds of getting the No. 1 overall pick. They ended up going from a projected seventh pick into the top four. Although Zion Williamson is the undisputed blue chip top pick, there are still plenty of prospects that can help the franchise end their playoff drought. Outside of looking for a quality young player, we will look at some scenarios the Lakers can do with the pick to help LeBron James and the rest of the roster.
Use the pick in a trade package for Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis isn’t a free agent, but he will be one of the top players available once the new season officially starts. At the 2019 trade deadline, the Lakers tried to trade a huge portion of their young core to pair Davis with LeBron James, but the deal fell through.
After already winning the Zion sweepstakes, could new Pelicans executive David Griffin turn down an opportunity to land Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the No. 4 pick? Even if that isn’t the exact trade package, it likely would be something similar. Such a deal would give the Pelicans a solid nucleus that would include an amazing passer in Ball, with a handful of young players who have the potential to put up 15-20 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Lakers would land the player they’ve wanted all along, and all it would cost them is the No. 4 pick and a couple of largely unproven players.
Trade the draft pick in a sign-and-trade deal for Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving’s future in Boston is in serious doubt. The Bucks humiliated the Celtics in five games during the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and he seems all but destined to leave Boston. When healthy, Irving is the best ball handler in the league and one of the best scoring point guards. Could a reunion with LeBron James help turn around the Lakers?
Los Angeles will have enough cap room to sign another player to a max deal. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the Lakers to include a package of the No. 4 pick, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and whatever other salaries need to match to make a deal happen.
We think it would be beneficial to both teams, as the Lakers could implement an attacking offense with James and Irving at the forefront, while Boston could swing for the fences and draft a high potential big man.
Draft a promising rookie
Although the top three draft picks seem to be Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett, in order, you don’t know what the Knicks will do at No. 3. New York drafting Kevin Knox was a potential sneaky steal in last year’s draft, but we think the Knicks could take quality over quantity at the forward spots.
If Barrett isn’t available for the Lakers, look for Darius Garland to be the highest player on the draft board. Garland only played a handful of games for the Vanderbilt last season, but he has explosive athleticism and could be a good fit with James and Ball.
Trade the pick to Chicago or Charlotte for an unprotected 2021 pick
When the 76ers traded Mikal Bridges to the Phoenix Suns, a little gem of a draft pick was inserted into the deal. Miami’s 2021 first-round pick will be unprotected, and that draft could include a star-studded class.
The Lakers should include the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft in exchange for an unprotected 2021 draft choice in a deal with Chicago or Charlotte. Both teams should be near the bottom of the NBA standings, and the Lakers could land the No. 1 pick and select their next superstar shooting guard.