Lakers' lottery night Q&A

Lakers' lottery night Q&A
Former Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns could be a target for the Lakers' first round draft pick, if they stay in the top five after the NBA draft lottery. (James Crisp / Associated Press)

What's next for the Lakers, who had the fourth-worst record, after their 21-61 season?

On May 19, the Lakers will learn the position of their 2015 first-round pick when the NBA holds its annual draft lottery. The draft is June 25.


What are the odds the Lakers get a top-five pick?

The Lakers have an 11.9% chance to land the first pick, 12.6% for second and 13.3% at third. The team is more likely to fall from its current position in fourth (9.9%) to fifth (35.1%). Collectively that's an 82.8% shot for the Lakers to get a top-five selection.

What if the Lakers fall out of the top five?
As part of the Steve Nash trade in 2012 with the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers will have to send their first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers -- if the lottery drops their selection to sixth (16.0% odds) or seventh (1.2%).

Should the Lakers lose their pick in May, the Lakers will keep their own 2016 first-round selection, but with top-three protection that also extends through the 2017 NBA draft.  If the Lakers are still terrible enough, the pick will go to Philadelphia in 2018, but fully unprotected.

Complicating matters, the Lakers owe the Orlando Magic a first-round pick for Dwight Howard, which will convey two years after the Lakers give their pick to the 76ers.

If the Lakers fall out in the lottery Tuesday, they'll also give the Magic their 2017 first-rounder.  If the 76ers get the pick in 2016 then Orlando gets it in 2018 -- if 2017 then 2019.

Unlikely as it may be, if the Lakers are so awful that they don't give their first-rounder to the Sixers until 2018, the Magic would get the Lakers' 2017 and 2018 second-rounders instead of a first.

The Lakers' obligation to Orlando is also top-five protected through 2018.

The Lakers survive the lottery to keep their top-five pick, who might they pick in the draft?

Some of the top players in the draft include Duke's center Jahlil Okafor or forward Justise Winslow, Kentucky's big men Karl-Anthony Towns or Willie Cauley-Stein, or Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell. Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, 19, who skipped playing in college to get paid overseas in China, could also be a possibility.

What other picks do the Lakers have in the NBA draft?
The Lakers acquired the Houston Rockets' first-round pick (27th overall) last summer in the Jeremy Lin trade. The Lakers will also select the 34th player with their second-round pick.

When can the Lakers add new players?
Free agency begins in July. Teams can negotiate with players on July 1 and agree to terms, but cannot sign players to contracts until July 9. The Lakers could have almost $25 million in spending power this summer.

Are there any positives for the Lakers, if they lose their top-five 2015 first-round pick?

Not many. The Lakers' spending power could climb by about $3 million, to nearly $28 million, but the team would much rather have the draft pick.


Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.