With the Miami Heat beating the Chicago Bulls in the final Eastern Conference play-in game on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers have officially secured the No. 17 pick in the 2023 NBA draft.
The Heat had a better record than the Lakers by one game, so by virtue of making the postseason they will get the No. 18 pick in the first round, bumping Los Angeles up one spot in the order. Not only could Pat Bev not fulfill his goal of knocking the Lakers out of postseason contention, he couldn't even bump them down one slot in the draft order.
Now, does a one-slot difference in the draft order ultimately matter all that much outside of the lottery? For the Lakers and their vaunted scouting department, probably not all that much. Still, one pick could theoretically be the difference between getting the exact player they want, or missing out on them by one pick, so it’s certainly better to jump up one spot than to fall down in the order.
Still, the ultimate silver lining was still the fact that the Lakers denied the Pelicans the right to swap picks by virtue of making the playoffs while New Orleans fell short with their own play-in loss on Wednesday. Just add it to the list of ways they didn't give up as much as critics of the Anthony Davis trade would have you believe.
The NBA Draft lottery (which the Lakers will not have to sweat out by virtue of making the playoffs) will take place on May 16, and the actual NBA draft will happen on June 22. For a full list of which picks the Lakers have and which ones they don't moving forward, check out our tracker.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.