As part of the Steve Nash trade, the Lakers owe their own first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns. If the pick lands in the top five of the draft, the Lakers will keep it -- sending instead their 2016 first-rounder to Phoenix (with top-three protection).
Currently the Lakers have the fourth-worst record in the league and have 82.8% chance of remaining among the top five in the draft. After such a miserable season, it would be absolutely devastating for the Lakers to lose their pick this June to Phoenix.
The Houston Rockets (33-15) sent their first-rounder to the Lakers in the Jeremy Lin trade. If Houston makes the playoffs, that pick will convey this off-season. Currently the Rockets are in third place in the Western Conference.
The worse the Rockets perform this season, the better the Lakers' pick will be -- provided Houston doesn't drop out of the playoffs altogether (unlikely, with a seven-game advantage over the ninth-place New Orleans Pelicans at 26-22).
The Lakers' poor record will also probably keep their second-rounder from going to the Orlando Magic as part of the Dwight Howard trade. The Magic only get the pick if it's in the 41-60 range, and the Lakers are currently slotted at 34.
Finally, the Lakers will get the second-rounder of the Clippers (33-16), but only if it's in the 51-55 range.
The Lakers and Clippers didn't make a direct deal, the pick coming with Lin, via Houston, via Toronto in the Clippers' Hassan Adams acquisition.
The Clippers are right on the border of owing that pick to the Lakers, but any improvement in the standings by the Clippers and the Lakers will miss out.
Given how poorly the Lakers have fared the last two seasons, adding talent through the draft is both good and necessary -- provided the Lakers keep their own picks, the Rockets make the playoffs and the Clippers finish right in the sweet spot in the second round.