Tuesday evening, the Los Angeles Lakers will find out the fate of not one, but two first-round picks at the NBA lottery. If Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka and, by extension, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson had their way, this will be the last time the team or its fans will have to be as concerned with that as they currently are.
“Magic and I just have a real level of confidence and optimism,” Pelinka told the L.A. Times’ Tania Ganguli. “Our trust is in hard work and kind of just the pursuit of excellence with everything we do. It’s not contingent on getting the pick or not getting the pick.”
Pelinka has spoken in the past about having plans for whether or not the Lakers keep their pick. They have to. Finding out they don’t have such a fallback plan would be exponentially more concerning than losing the pick itself (and the 2019 first-rounder) on Tuesday night.
Moving forward, a world in which the Lakers don’t have to venture back into the lottery seems like something fans would certainly be interested in.
In such a world, the current young core of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, etc., will have all either grown into the potential that made them high lottery picks or Pelinka and Johnson shipped them out for the likes of a superstar good enough to lift the organization singlehandedly for the foreseeable future.
Picture yourself walking into a casino with the obvious intent of winning money at the table or machine of your choosing.
In one scenario, you’d be walking in with enough money already in the bank that you can win or lose (within reason) and be fine either way.
In the other scenario, you’re walking into the casino and need to win money for whatever reason. This rarely turns out well.
The difference in those two scenarios is exactly what Pelinka might be alluding to. Yes, the Lakers would love to come up lucky once again Tuesday night, but the hope is that Pelinka and Magic are a good enough combination to make up for the loss.
Continuing to rely on luck as the most pivotal factor deciding the success and failure of the entire organization is a great way to continue to make repeated ill-fated trips to the lottery.
Based on the moves they’ve made, Lakers fans can at least feel assured that Johnson and Pelinka are focused on giving their front office everything it might need to be successful. That’s a great place to start so as to avoid relying on weighted coin flips as they will be Tuesday night.