NBA

Why the LA Lakers Don’t Have a Pick in the 2020 NBA Draft

A lot of eyes will be on the 2020 NBA draft on Wednesday night, a draft that will certainly be unlike any other we’ve seen. Originally set to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the draft will now be conducted from the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, with teams making their selections via videoconferencing. One team that will not be drafting a player on Wednesday night is the NBA champion LA Lakers.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

The Lakers will still officially make a selection with the 28th pick of the first round but they won’t be drafting for themselves but instead will be choosing whomever Oklahoma City is looking to add to their roster as part of the Dennis Schroder deal, which can’t be officially completed until after the draft due to certain rules. And the Lakers currently don’t have a pick in the second round either due to a deal they made last year.

But it’s not as if the Lakers actually needed to draft anyone on Wednesday night. Sure, a little youth would be nice as LA had the second-oldest team in the NBA last season. But having LeBron James and Anthony Davis is a nice cover for something like that. LA is in win-now mode and not having any picks in the 2020 NBA draft shouldn’t hinder the franchise much moving forward, especially with a draft class that isn’t overly strong.

The Lakers will pick for the Thunder to complete the Dennis Schroder deal

Earlier this week, the LA Lakers agreed to trade their first-round pick in 2020, which, as mentioned, is the 28th overall pick, and Danny Green to the Oklahoma City Thunder for NBA Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Dennis Schroder, who was one of the most sought-after players in the league when the trading season opened.

Schroder had one of the best years of his career in 2019-2020, averaging 18.9 points while shooting a career-high 46.9% from the floor and 38.5% from beyond the arc, also a career best. He added four assists and 3.6 rebounds per night and is a very solid defender, which should endear him to Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, who has long been known as a defensive-minded type of guy.

The only reason that this deal hasn’t been made official yet is due to an NBA rule that prohibits teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years, otherwise known as the “Stepien Rule.” So the Lakers will draft someone for the Thunder at No. 28, officially include that player in the trade for Schroder, and that will be that.

The Lakers traded away their second-round pick last year

LA Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers logo | Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

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The LA Lakers won’t be picking anyone in the second round of the 2020 NBA draft as they gave up that selection last summer during the 2019 draft.

The Lakers sent their second-round selection in 2020 to the Orlando Magic in exchange for the draft rights to Talen Horton-Tucker, the Iowa State shooting guard who spent the majority of his rookie season in the G League, although he did see action for the big club in eight games, including two in the postseason.

In February, the Magic dealt the pick they received from the Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers for James Ennis III. So during the 2020 NBA draft, you’ll see the Sixers selecting at No. 58, at least for now. Draft day gets a little crazy.

What time does the NBA draft start?

The 2020 NBA draft begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/5:00 Pacific on ESPN. The Minnesota Timberwolves own the first pick and are expected to take LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of former Lakers first-round draft pick Lonzo Ball.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference