Leave it to a diehard Lakers fan to be disappointed after jumping up to having the 4th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Lakers were supposed to have the 11th pick if it went by record, the fact that we jumped up to the 4th pick should have me ecstatic.
The problem is once we saw that the Lakers jumped to the remaining 4 teams, you felt as though you had a real chance of walking away with the 1st overall pick. What an amazing turn of events that would have been, it would have been the answer to all of the troubles we’ve faced all season. The Lakers being on the front page of every virtual newspaper for all the wrong reasons would have completely reversed. So yeah, I was still disappointed, but can you blame me?
Anyways, here we will outline the best options the Lakers have on draft night in order.
4. Actually use the draft pick to draft a player. This seems like the forgotten option for the Lakers as it seems Rob Pelinka is bound to find a trade to package it with. This draft has been seen as being a 3 player draft who can impact a franchise for years to come, with the rest having a ceiling of just being starters or role players. The problem with that theory is there are usually players taken later that end up surprising us in the end. Take Devin Booker for example, he was drafted 13th in the 2015 NBA draft and is having a far better career than at least 9 of the players drafted ahead of him. If the Lakers do actually get to draft at 4 and don’t trade it, they should look for a risky player with a high ceiling. It may not pan out, but when they do they are special. Take our very own Kobe Bryant for instance, he was drafted at the 13th pick as well. Now he’s regarded with the likes of Michael Jordan as one of the greatest of all time.
3. Trade the number 4 pick in the NBA draft for a role player in their prime who can help win right now. This is highly unlikely, but still an option on the table. The thought here would be to get a guard who can shoot, but doesn’t come with a hefty price tag, and a team who is willing to move off of them without asking too much in return. Another reason this is unlikely is the lack of guards with low salary that are worth a pick that high. Move on.
2. Trade the number 4 pick in the NBA draft for an all-star or near all-star caliber player. This would have to be executed properly as the Lakers (if they would still plan on signing a max player this off-season) would need to send a package of players as to not cut too much into the available salary cap space. Bradley Beal’s name has been thrown out there recently, who carries a $27mil+ salary with him. Who is actually on the books that you could pair with the pick to make the money work? There is nobody unless you either do a sign and trade or package multiple players.
1. Trade the number 4 pick in the NBA draft along with a package deal for Anthony Davis. It should not be surprising that this is the top option for the Lakers. The question of course remains of how interested the Pelicans are in what the Lakers can offer. The Brandon Ingram health scare undoubtedly makes him difficult to trade or in the very least gives opposing teams leverage in negotiations for him. Anthony Davis remains the unicorn for the Lakers this summer. If we can land AD, the perception of a franchise in disarray and feeling of hopelessness for the future seemingly goes away instantly. Additionally, the Lakers would still have $30 million to sign a major name in Free Agency as well or use that for legitimate role players.
There’s no real right or wrong answer to this great problem the Lakers have of unexpectedly having the fourth overall pick. You just don’t want to see the Lakers give up the pick for pennies on the dollar, just to “do something” (see, Zubac to Clippers trade).