The Lakers could certainly use some quality, cost-controlled help.
Your Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a pretty precarious position as the 2022-23 NBA season comes to a close.
Having just lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 110-102 Friday, LA has fallen to a 30-34 record on the year. The club remains just a game behind the West’s No. 10 seed, the 31-33 New Orleans Pelicans, as NOLA also dropped its game Friday.
The fact that the Pelicans seem like fringe play-in contenders at best, however, is actually good news for Lakers fans, as New Orleans possesses swap rights to LA’s first-round draft pick this summer. Should both clubs miss the postseason, even though the Pelicans will get the better of their two draft selections, LA would also wind up in the NBA lottery, and thus be more able to secure a solid future contributor.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor unpacks what LA could use most out of this year’s draft. KOC believes the team needs help with shooting around the wing and playmakers.
“[Finding] ways to add as much 3-point shooting as they possibly can is the next best thing,” O’Connor writes. “D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley help, but the Lakers can’t have too many spot-up threats around James and (hopefully a healthy) Davis. The roster is also starved of a top-notch perimeter defender. With either their own pick or the Pelicans’ swap in this year’s draft, they need to get one.”
The Lakers possess the worse of the two first-round picks and two second-rounders, their own and the Chicago Bulls’. Team vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka has shown an aptitude at uncovering intriguing prospects in the draft before. In a packed draft, perhaps he can help give LA some unique assets on rookie-scale money.