The Los Angeles Lakers got the lucky ping-pong ball bounces they needed and will retain their first round pick. The Lakers went into the draft with a 55.8 percent chance at a top-three pick, a pick they would have conveyed to the Philadelphia 76ers due to pick protections left over from their ill-fated Steve Nash sign-and-trade had it fallen outside of the top-three.
Instead, the Lakers will be picking second overall, where they will likely select the remaining of the two freshman phenoms in Ben Simmons out of LSU or Brandon Ingram of Duke. Simmons is a mobile forward with a knack for facilitating, but his skillset would not seem to fit seamlessly alongside third-year forward Julius Randle unless one of them drastically improved as an outside shooter.
Shooting isn't an area Ingram needs a whole lot of improvement at. The wafer thin small forward shot 41 percent from behind the arc in his lone season at Duke, and projects to be a capable scorer from the wing for years to come and would fill the Lakers gaping hole at the three.
No matter who they end up with (or even if they trade the pick) the Lakers once again avoiding the loss of their first rounder as they continue their rebuild is a stroke of good luck for a franchise that hasn't had a whole lot of it over the last few years.
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