The Lakers' podium at the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery on May 17, 2016.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

Guide to the Lakers' 2017 Lottery Drawing

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

One way or another, the Lakers’ path to the future will become clearer after the ping pong balls have their say on Tuesday.

The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery — televised on ESPN at 5:30 p.m. PT — will determine whether or not the Lakers will keep their draft pick for next month.

If the selection lands among the top three, it’s theirs. If it’s fourth or lower, it goes to Philadelphia because of a prior trade.

President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson will be the one representing on the lottery stage in New York City, while General Manager Rob Pelinka will watch as the draft order is randomly drawn backstage.

Both men — who were recently checking out college prospects with coach Luke Walton at the NBA Combine in Chicago — have maintained over the past few months that they have plans in place for all outcomes.

Now what remains is to see if the Lakers’ will keep their top pick for the draft on June 22.

Head coach Luke Walton & GM Rob Pelinka taking in the #NBACombine action in Chicago #LakeShow

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(Almost) Even Odds
The fate of the pick is essentially a slightly weighted coin flip. The Lakers have a 46.92 percent chance of remaining in the top three and keeping it, but 53.08 percent odds of losing it outright.

Los Angeles has a 15.6 percent shot at winning the night and snagging the first-overall pick. It has almost identical chances at drafting second (15.7) or third (15.6).

Only Boston (25.0; via Brooklyn) and Phoenix (19.9) have better odds at landing the top pick.

Meanwhile, the 76ers are hoping that the Lakers’ selection falls to fourth (22.6 percent), fifth (26.6) or sixth (4.0), in which case it would be transferred to them.


Domino Effect
Tuesday’s lottery will serve as a juncture between a pair of trades made five years ago and the path for the foreseeable future.

If the Lakers’ pick falls outside of the top three, it will be conveyed to the Sixers (who acquired it from Phoenix) because of the 2012 trade for Steve Nash.

If this happens, the Lakers will also send their 2019 first-round selection to Orlando as a result of their trade for Dwight Howard.

However, should that pick remain in the Lakers’ possession, the first rounder owed to the Magic will instead become two second-round picks.

So:

If the Lakers remain in the top three: L.A. keeps its first-round picks for this year and 2019. Philadelphia gets the Lakers’ first rounder next year. Orlando receives a second-round pick this year (33rd overall) and next.

If the the Lakers fall out of the top three: L.A. will keep next year’s first-round pick, as well as its second rounders for this season (33rd) and next. Philadelphia will get the Lakers’ current first-round pick. Orlando will get their first rounder in 2019.

No matter the outcome, the Lakers will also have this year’s 28th-overall selection, which they acquired from Houston in the trade for Lou Williams.


Past Performance
The Lakers would be happy with a repeat of their last two lottery drawings, having picked No. 2 in back-to-back years.

L.A. used those selections on D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram. The Lakers have never picked first in the lottery era (since 1985), but did pick Hall of Famers Magic Johnson (1975) and James Worthy (1979) at the top.

They also chose Jerry West (1960) and Dave Meyers (1975) second overall, but have never picked third.

As for the lottery, the Lakers’ luck has been exactly even. In five trips, they have held their position three times, while falling backward once and rising once.

In NBA history, six teams have jumped from the third-best odds to the No. 1 pick, while only one has climbed to second. Five stayed at third, as 15 dropped out of the top three.

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