Despite missing out on the postseason, the Los Angeles Lakers won’t have a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA draft because of the ill-fated 2012 Steve Nash trade. However, that hasn’t stopped them from monitoring prospects at the top of the draft, including Luka Doncic, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN.
“The Lakers have rumored to be high on [Doncic], which makes sense considering his potential fit alongside Lonzo Ball, but they don’t appear to be positioning themselves to trade for a top-five pick.”
Coming off of a EuroLeague title run with Real Madrid in which he was named the youngest league MVP and Final Four MVP in EuroLeague history, Doncic is easily the most decorated prospect in the 2018 NBA draft. But his success overseas still isn’t enough for some NBA general managers to consider taking him over the NCAA’s top talent.
“It still remains to be seen which NBA team will draft him,” Jonathan Givony of ESPN said in a report. “The growing consensus among NBA decision-makers in attendance at Stark Arena in Belgrade is that the teams drafting behind the Phoenix Suns at No. 1, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks are likely to pass on European prodigy in favor of American frontcourt players.”
Doncic would no doubt be a great fit in Los Angeles, but unless the Lakers’ front office is willing to part ways with a handful of assets for a top-five pick, they’re going to have to admire Doncic from afar.
While it’s possible the Lakers could work a sign-and-trade with a team like the Dallas Mavericks, who reportedly have interest in singing Julius Randle this summer and have the No. 5 pick in the upcoming draft, it’s unlikely the Mavericks are even considering dealing their pick, especially not for a free agent (albeit a restricted one).
Perhaps somewhere down the line Doncic will have the opportunity to wear the purple and gold, and if that time comes, this rumor at least allows Lakers fans to get a head start on their jersey swap photoshops.