By Craig Kwasniewski
We've all heard the odds of the Lakers keeping the pick (55.8% just to save you a click). We all know the repercussions of losing the pick to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. This is why the Lakers are literally shoving lucky horseshoes in all the wrong places (unless you're German) in hopes of keeping that pick. Mitch will sitting on the dais waiting out the results and John Black will be in the actual ping-pong ball room repeating the same routines as last year when they landed the No. 2 overall pick. It's actually kinda crazy seeing middle-aged men doing this dance but that's what the NBA Draft is all about.
And let's be honest, keeping this pick would be a huge step in the Lakers rebuilding process. It's a chance to grab Simmons or Ingram or to trade for a potential All Star caliber talent. Conversely, losing that pick will be another brick in the proverbial schadenfreude wall that, thanks to the Buss Family Dysfunction is growing every single day (all caps because it's been upgraded to an actual thing).
We'll instead of pouring over the options if the Lakers keep the pick, let's actually prepare for the worst and fight our way through the schadenfreude onslaught... The Lakers Von Schadenfreude Plan, a simple 5-step plan:
1 - Lose the draft pick - Check... it was going to happen eventually. You can't simply trade away a first rounder and then hope the protected pick never cycles out. This was the reality after trading for Steve Nash back in the summer of 2012. And while planning for a parade the following June, we all were willing to throw away that pick. After all, the Lakers never needed them anyway. Well, yada, yada, yada... at least we finally officially close the door on the Steve Nash era.
2 - Move on with the 2nd Round Pick - Finishing with the second worst record in the league did guarantee the Lakers the second best pick in the 2nd round (deuces are wild, as Vinny would say). This is the 32nd overall pick, essentially a late first rounder. Legit talent can be had that early in the 2nd round (or even late in the 2nd round... hello Jordan Clarkson!). The Lakers can still address holes in the roster taking a big like A.J. Hammonds or... I don't know, I really want them to take Hammonds. The dude has improved greatly the last 2 years and can be a stable big down the road. Point being, there is talent to be had early in the 2nd round. The Lakers aren't the Knicks, stuck with zero picks.
3 - Luke Walton! - Unlike the summer of 2014, the Lakers went out at got their replacement head coach before the draft. And, unlike 2014, they can fill their gaping holes in their roster based on an actual system (one could argue the same for last summer, DESPITE actually having a head coach)... and speaking of DESPITE...
4 - No Byron Scott - Five weeks ago Lakers twitter was freaking out over genuine rumors of Byron Scott staying another year. Many were even willing to part with this years pick, just to see Lord Byron go. Well...
5 - Next Years Draft - "They say" the 2017 draft is pretty damn good. People have argued winning the 3rd spot in this years draft is actually worse than losing the pick... the draft is that good! Well, because of the Ted Stepien Rule and thankfully because the Lakers aren't Brooklyn, they actually get to keep their pick for next year's killer draft.
Yes, I'm turning lemons in lemonade but with a new coaching staff, a some real promising young talent, a decent 2nd round pick and a shit-ton of salary space, losing this lottery is not the end of the world for the Lakers. All you have to do is just stomach the next 24 hours of schadenfreude and it'll be okay.... trust me.