Ping Pong Balls
The Lakers' ping-pong balls and draft card from the 2016 Lottery are displayed at the team's practice facility.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

A Brief History of the No. 2 Pick

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

With less than three weeks remaining until the NBA Draft, the Lakers have the opportunity to significantly alter their future by using the No. 2 pick.

The team can also trade the second-overall selection, which, over the course of NBA history, has yielded 14 Hall of Famers, including Bill Russell, Isiah Thomas and Gary Payton.

The Lakers themselves have enjoyed overwhelming success when dealt a draft pick in the top two. Their six selections at No. 1 or 2 — Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Dave Meyers, Magic Johnson, James Worthy and D'Angelo Russell — have combined for 43 All-Star selections and nine championship rings.

Of those, West, Meyers and Russell were taken at the second slot. Meyers contributed to the Lakers' lore in a roundabout way, as he was traded shortly after Draft Day in a transaction that brought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the verdict is clearly still in the air for Russell — who was named Second Team All-Rookie this past season — as well as his fellow recent second-overall picks, Jabari Parker, Victor Oladipo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

However, there has been a considerable drought at that draft spot, as the past eight No. 2 picks have combined for zero All-Star appearances. The Lakers — should they retain the selection — will instead hope that their rookie ends up like the prior two second-overall picks: Kevin Durant (2007) and LaMarcus Aldridge (2006).

Though it may seem obvious, history shows that having such a high pick significantly improves the chances of drafting a franchise player. Thirty-one Hall of Famers have been taken first or second, while the remainder of the top 10 has combined for 37.

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