The Los Angeles Lakers ended their regular season with the same record (42-30) as the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers, which meant that their place in the NBA Draft would be determined by a tiebreaker after the season was over.
On Tuesday, that tie was broken through a lottery machine, and although the Lakers didn’t jump all the way to the 21st pick, they didn’t fall to the 23rd pick either. Here are the results of the tiebreaker, per Jonathan Givony of Draft Express:
NBA Draft tiebreaker results:— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 25, 2021
No. 21: Dallas&
No. 22 pick: LA Lakers
No. 23 pick: Portland Trailblazers*
&Will be conveyed to New York
*Will be conveyed to Houston
This year’s pick will be the highest pick the Lakers have had since 2019, when they drafted De’Andre Hunter with the No. 4 overall pick. Hunter was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal for Anthony Davis and then traded to the Atlanta Hawks shortly after.
The Lakers have drafted 22nd overall two times in their history: once in 1972, when they drafted Paul Stovall, and again in 1977, when they drafted fan favorite Norm Nixon. But while the Lakers haven’t had the 22nd overall pick in 44 years, they’ve had recent success with their late first-round draft picks.
In 2017, the Lakers used picks they acquired to draft Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart with the 27th and 30th picks, respectively. Then, in 2015, they drafted Larry Nance Jr. with the 27th pick. If they keep the pick, there’s reason to be optimistic about their chances of finding another diamond in the rough.
Alternatively, if they decide to make a trade later into the offseason, the 22nd pick could serve as a nice sweetener. The Lakers traded Danny Green and their first-round pick in last year’s draft — the 28th pick — to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Dennis Schröder last offseason.
The truth is: we won’t know what the Lakers’ plan with their pick will be until their playoff run is over. What we do know now is where they’ll be picking and, as a fan, it’s hard to be unhappy about the results of the tiebreaker.