Technically, the Lakers name was mentioned during the draft lottery held by the NBA on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, despite a thoroughly miserable 2021-22 season, the team is not going to have the consolation prize of a draft pick.
Because of the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers did not control their own draft pick for the 2022 NBA draft. Add in a trade the Pelicans made with the Grizzlies that included said pick and it wasn’t known going into the night who would own the Lakers pick.
However, the ping pong balls bounced in the way of the Pelicans, who will be selecting No. 8 overall in June’s NBA Draft with the Lakers pick.
The Pelicans had some fun with Lakers fans to start on Tuesday, tweeting out a reminder that they likely would have the team’s pick on the day.
Wishing our friends at the Lakers the best of luck in the NBA Draft Lottery tonight! pic.twitter.com/sr7Yq0g3nL— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) May 17, 2022
The protections on the pick left a small chance the Grizzlies would still receive it. Officially, the Lakers sat eighth in the draft lottery. If the pick remained in the top 10, the Pelicans would keep the pick. If it fell outside the top 10, the pick would convey to Memphis.
In total, there was just a 0.4% chance of the Memphis getting the pick as it would require three separate teams slotted ninth through 14th in the lottery to jump into the top four and the Pelicans to not also jump into the top four.
The good news is this is one of the final picks the Lakers outright owe to the Pelicans. When looking at the Lakers draft picks in the future, there is only one more pick — either coming in 2024 or 2025 — that is due to the Pelicans. The Lakers have a pick swap with the Pelicans in 2023, but that will be the last pick swap owed to New Orleans.
Effectively, the Lakers should only have one more summer where they will not have a first round draft pick. Because of the uncertainty of whether they’ll owe a 2024 or 2025 pick, they won’t be able to trade any draft picks before 2027 this offseason and next offseason, but things are starting to clear up and offer the Lakers more draft picks moving forward.