With the Splash Brothers rolling into the conference finals, this is a good time to revisit the topic of the NBA's best backcourt combinations.
To rank the top 10 guard duos since the ABA-NBA merger, I started with my wins above replacement player (WARP) value statistic for each player, then added five wins for each All-Star appearance. Then, to make sure I highlighted the best combos rather than backcourts where one star far outshined his more limited teammate, I multiplied the totals for each player while the duo was intact and took the square root to come up with the backcourt score.
Alas, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson don't make it -- yet. They've played together only four years, and everyone in the top 10 spent at least six seasons together. But after both made the Western Conference All-Star team this year, the Warriors' backcourt already ranks 21st on the list, and they're surely coming for a spot in the top 10. Here's who they're chasing.
Top 10 backcourts of all time
1. Terry Porter/Clyde Drexler
Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Years: 9+ (1985-86 to 1994-95)
All-Star appearances: 10
(Drexler 8, Porter 2)
The Blazers' duo probably isn't the first one fans imagine when they consider great backcourts, but few were more balanced. Drexler was one of the league's best all-around shooting guards and an All-Star fixture, but Porter was no slouch himself, making a pair of All-Star Games during a period when the Western Conference was loaded at point guard. Only one other combo -- No. 2 on this list -- had as high a rating for its second-best player.
2. Tony Parker/Manu Ginobili
NEW YORK – The NBA Draft Lottery, the league’s weirdest career-altering stunt, made peers of three people who will probably never be in the same room again: Sixers rookie Nerlens Noel, Lakers coach Byron Scott and Minnesota billionaire Glen Taylor. As the pageant reached its suspenseful conclusion on Tuesday night, the three stood onstage together as winners of the NBA’s biggest loser contest. They had just been told they were receiving the top three picks in the June 25 NBA Draft (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET).
Indeed, it was Christmas for losers, and the trio were here to accept gifts from the league on behalf of their teams, which this season collectively won 55 games, 12 short of the Golden State Warriors’ total.
For all of the failure that led to this night, the lottery was a giddy affair. Hundreds filled a curtained-off hotel ballroom in midtown Manhattan, on the floor and in the balcony. Onstage, 14 team representatives – from Larry Bird to Steve Mills to Russell Westbrook – waited with a mix of low-key resignation and high hopes.
On a nearby raised platform, ESPN’s broadcast team of Mark Jones and Jay Bilas narrated and evaluated, while on yet another platform, Cassidy Hubbarth served as a host of sorts when nothing else was going on. For the assembled crowd, she interviewed Willie Cauley-Stein, D’Angelo Russell and Frank Kaminsky, among other potential lottery picks. Off to the side, Heather Cox was dwarfed by Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, perhaps the top two picks in this year’s draft, as they watched video of themselves on the big screen and then talked about their bright days ahead.
The number of NBA players in the room – future, current and retired - added buzz. Before the presentation, Scott, Westbrook and Kings VP Vlade Divac talked in a triangle, a friendly players-only chat that ran 20 minutes. Bird held court off to the side with any number of admirers, while Hall of Fame center Alonzo Mourning and Suns center Alex Len were eye-to-eye in conversation. After the event, reporters – with cameras, phones and recorders – swarmed team executives and athletes alike for instant reaction.
The main reason we were all there: to find out how the NBA’s pingpong balls had reshuffled the draft order, which has the power to shape franchises and lives for years.
The reason to reshuffle: To reduce intentional losing, a.k.a. tanking. (As Phil Jackson might tweet, “Seriously, how’s it goink?”) By taking away a little bit of the certainty that teams crave, this system is supposed to prevent them from losing on purpose. And yet, intentional losing appears to be practiced more systemically than ever.
The fact that tanking can be labeled “rebuilding” and the fact that it’s generally done at the franchise level rather than the player level has allowed league officials to ignore the issue to a large degree. Commissioner Adam Silver denies that teams are tanking.
On the other hand, he and a large group of owners tried last October to push through a change in the lottery system because they saw how certain teams – most prominently the Philadelphia 76ers – were able to use the NBA’s draft rules to gain these valuable prizes, these high draft picks. The rules change was voted down, although it might be revived. The question remains, if teams aren’t tanking, why do we need to continue to change the rules to prevent tanking? (As noted, the lottery exists because of tanking.)
One reason tanking isn’t synonymous with game-fixing or match-fixing (which is illegal in sports across the globe) appears to be that it’s so ingrained in NBA culture that we expect teams to try to lose to improve their draft position – to win by losing. Indeed, the anger in New York among Knicks fans on Tuesday night appeared to be directed at Jackson, coach Derek Fisher and the Knicks for winning a pair of games at the end of the season that hurt their lottery odds -- rage that had flared up even as the games were happening, to the point where Fisher had to make a statement defending himself and his team for winning.
At ESPN and elsewhere, there have been many recommendations for better, fairer systems than the current draft. Celtics exec Mike Zarren proposed “the wheel.” At HoopIdea, we put economists and others on the case. FiveThirtyEight crowdsourced solutions. This week Amin Elhassan became the most recent analyst to call for an end to the draft, which would encourage teams to try to win and put together the best team possible at all times.
But with the success of the lottery and the draft as one-night TV and media fan-friendly events, the league is reluctant to look for a better way, even when tanking is the reason for one of those events.
A few quick case studies from Tuesday night:
Official position: 1st pick in the draft
Unofficial position: Ironic, but about time!
The Timberwolves have still never moved up in the lottery in 17 tries. (Since the draft is about fairness: Is that fair?) The irony this time – they didn’t want to move anywhere.
The other irony was voiced by owner Glen Taylor, the Wolves’ rep, who admitted that he had attempted and failed to make it harder for the worst team, which turned out to be his own team, to get the No. 1 pick.
Talking to reporters after the lottery, Taylor said that he had expected Minnesota to be a playoff team this season. “I wasn’t planning on being here this year,” he said. “We really thought we would get into the 7th or 8th position in the playoffs.”
In fact, he said he was so sure the Wolves would not be in the running for the No. 1 pick that he supported the plan to reduce the lottery odds of the worst team. The effort failed, and so did the Timberwolves, thereby succeeding.
Los Angeles Lakers
Official position: 2nd pick in the draft
Unofficial position: We deserve it!
I grew up a huge fan of the Magic Johnson-era Lakers, I know the size and strength of Laker Nation and I understand intimately the appeal of having the league’s marquee franchise win more than, say, 21 games. But even so, it’s a bit sad to see the Lakers go on corporate welfare and be granted one of the most valuable prizes the NBA has to offer, especially after the half-hearted way they finished the season. Magic himself celebrated the outcome on Twitter.
The Lakers are worth an estimated 2.6 billion dollars, have won 16 NBA championships -- including two in the past six seasons -- and hold significant advantages over every other NBA team when recruiting players to join their franchise.
Now for the second straight year, they get an outright gift for failure – one of the most talented players coming into the league, on a rookie salary scale while the salary cap goes up and up.
The draft is generally understood to be an attempt to level the playing field and create competitive balance -- and particularly to provide small-market teams a way to compete. It’s an adjustment to the structural advantages that large markets naturally have. Given that, it’s amazing to see the league rewarding Los Angeles and New York for failure and incompetence by granting them the rights to the biggest prizes.
Scott and Kobe Bryant both said the Lakers deserved such a prize, though their takes were markedly different. Scott called the No. 2 pick in next month’s draft “a little bit of a reward” for all their recent misery. On Twitter, Bryant resorted to potty humor that hinged on the double meaning of “No. 2,” saying, “We played like crap all season.”
The draft is where crap turns to gold.
Official position: 3rd
Unofficial position: It could’ve gone better, but we knew the math.
The 76ers are a lightning rod for critics because of their coldly methodical approach to creating a roster that, they hope, will eventually be able to compete for NBA titles. The Sixers have lost 127 games the past two seasons -- quite intentionally, many believe -- which has “earned” them a pair of high draft picks. Team president Sam Hinkie’s unorthodox moves, including trading away rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams for a future draft pick, have annoyed some observers and puzzled others.
After the lottery, Hinkie calmly described the Sixers’ process to reporters, noting that for a bad team looking for talent, it was entirely normal to churn through a lot of players before finding the ones to keep. As he said, if a player he picks up has a 25 percent chance of becoming someone you’ll want for the long haul, you probably need four such players to find the one you are looking for.
Hinkie understands that one part of the rebuilding process -– perhaps the most important part of the process - is to take full advantage of the NBA’s offer of free talent via the draft (free, as long as you don’t mind a losing season). Hinkie wants to win championships, and to do that he needs stars, the kind of players that are hard to get most of the time, but much easier to get through the draft.
He is wary of getting stuck in NBA purgatory, reserved for teams not good enough to compete for a title and not bad enough to get high draft picks. He wants high draft picks and has shown himself adept at acquiring them – so adept that some teams and fans are bothered by the way Hinkie, who holds an MBA from Stanford, and the Sixers have conducted business the last two years. But that’s just what it is: Hinkie’s judgment about what constitutes good NBA business sense.
So on the one hand, Tuesday night was a success – Philadelphia got the No. 3 pick and a potential star. On the other hand, it wasn’t quite the blowout victory the Sixers might have hoped for. Philly had a chance on Tuesday to set an NBA record by winning three lottery picks, because they hold rights to protected draft picks from the Lakers and the Heat. But the balls didn’t bounce quite their way, and now they have to wait for those latter two draft picks, which might become less valuable over the years as those teams improve.
Hinkie understood this, and noted that he and his staff had run the numbers already, saying, “We never anticipated we’d get the Lakers’ pick this year. We spend countless hours trying to evaluate those sorts of things, those sorts of uncertain things in the future.”
If you want to know where Sixers-style losing gets you, we saw that on Tuesday night. Like it or not, this is the system the NBA has set up.
New York Knicks
Official position: 4th
Unofficial position: OK, we’ll take it. Anybody wanna trade us a star?
Phil Jackson wasn’t there – he sent Steve Mills. After the Knicks “fell” to fourth, Mills said, "It's not a setback at all. We went into this draft knowing we can get a good player, anywhere from 1 to 5 [in the draft].”
Emotionally, that didn’t seem accurate, but technically, it was – the fourth pick in a loaded draft is the equivalent of a big bonus after a bad year at the office. And yes, we did just see the NBA grant James Dolan a prized top-four draft pick.
The Knicks will surely explore how to get a star player in return for the pick, as Mills acknowledged on Tuesday.
Before and after the lottery, I surveyed some of the executives and others attending the affair, to ask: Do the Knicks and these other teams deserve a lottery pick? I asked about a variety of teams, including three from large markets: Los Angeles, New York and Philly.
The consistent answer, which matched NBA doctrine, was that yes, they did deserve a high draft pick after successfully losing and/or tanking their way into the lottery.
And I get that. Losing is painful, as one longtime NBA executive noted in our chat.
But to say that teams “deserve” a high pick is to reward failure. In Malcolm Gladwell’s critique of the NBA draft, he noted the “moral hazard” of rewarding losing. Rewarding failure is generally considered bad policy, whether in sports or other endeavors.
Perhaps fans themselves do “deserve” to be rewarded for their loyalty. The excitement and the potential that stems from the lottery and the draft do indeed give fans a reason to hope, a reason to believe. Of course, if some fans “deserve” such rewards, that implies that other fans deserve them less.
When it comes to the teams themselves, “deserve” might be entirely the wrong word. Perhaps it’s another d-word that keeps the draft going, that creates excitement and buzz around something as peculiar as the lottery.
Perhaps it’s desire. Desire to have a shot, deserved or not, at a transcendent talent that can change team and career trajectories.
Desire. Isn’t that always the fuel that makes a lottery go?
The Lakers are more than relieved with how the lottery turned out.
Not only did they end up keeping their top-five protected pick, which they could have lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, but the Lakers were the only team to move up in the lottery, doubling up from No. 4 to No. 2.
And that outcome puts them in position to take one of the two prized big men in this draft, Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke's Jahlil Okafor. ESPN insider Chad Ford has the Lakers selecting Okafor in his latest mock draft, and he would give the Lakers a potential franchise center who would pair well with their first-round pick from last year, power forward Julius Randle.
The tremendously gifted Okafor is bit of a throwback because of his rather polished low-post game, but that will help make him much more effective on the offensive end early on.
With Okafor, Randle and All-Rookie first-team point guard Jordan Clarkson, the Lakers could have a strong, young core. Now factor in whomever they're able to get in free agency and perhaps later in the draft -- they also have the 27th overall pick -- and the Lakers could go a long way in rebounding from their worst season in franchise history.
Center Jahlil Okafor doesn't seem to mind where he goes in the NBA draft as long as it's to a team that he feels is the right fit.
"I don't know that I should go No. 1," Okafor told SI Now. "I don't care. I just want to go to the right environment for me and the right team. I think the hype about No. 1 is more for the fans."
The 6-foot-11, 270-pound Okafor and former Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns are projected to be the top two picks entering the draft. Okafor led the Duke Blue Devils to the national championship as a freshman, averaging 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
The Minnesota Timberwolves landed the first pick of the 2015 NBA draft in the league's annual lottery Tuesday. The Los Angeles Lakers will pick second, with the Philadelphia 76ers drawing the third choice, the New York Knicks the fourth and the Orlando Magic the fifth.
"We're going to get a great piece," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said after the lottery. "There are a lot of directions we can go. This gives us flexibility. We don't know who we're going to pick."
Former Lakers star Magic Johnson also was optimistic
NEW YORK -- Representatives from the two teams sat side by side on the first of three rows, sharing a small table draped in black cloth. Just a few feet in front of the two well-suited men, in a clear glass drum about the size of an office water cooler, 14 ping-pong balls danced like popcorn in a microwave.
On the left sat John Black, the Los Angeles Lakers' vice president of public relations.
On the right, Brad Shron, the Philadelphia 76ers' executive vice president and general counsel.
The seating arrangement wasn't happenstance. Rather, it was based on record, and since the 76ers finished with the league's third-worst record while Lakers' finished with the fourth-worst, they were paired up.
But the mere image of them sitting a few inches apart truly symbolized -- and no doubt significantly heightened -- the already delicious drama between both teams entering Tuesday night's 2015 NBA draft lottery, held at the New York Hilton Midtown.
After all, if those white spheres bounced a certain way, the 76ers were going to swipe the Lakers' first-round pick, leaving them with nothing to show for the worst season in franchise history -- a disastrous scenario for the Lakers by any measure.
Both men seemed cordial after taking their seats inside the secluded lottery drawing room, a white-walled, green-carpeted conference room two floors below the stage where the picks would be announced on national television an hour later.
They were joined by 12 other representatives from teams who failed to make the playoffs, a dozen media members (including three Lakers reporters who flew in from Los Angeles), a handful of NBA officials and a small video crew with the league.
Guarding the door, as he has done for about two decades, was Clifford Cooper, a private consultant working security for the NBA. No one has tried to get past him to get the word out about the lottery's outcome before it's aired on television -- not that they would have much luck. Cooper spent nearly four decades working in law enforcement in New York City, retiring as Detective First Grade, and he once slapped handcuffs on notorious gangster John Gotti during an arrest.
On the left wall, eight large, white boards listed 1,001 possible four-ball combinations. The worse a team's record, the more combinations it had been assigned. If its combination came up first, then it won the lottery and the top pick. The Lakers had 119 combinations as ammunition.
Black tried to keep calm, but he feared the worst.
"I've been a nervous wreck," he said.
He said he hadn't slept in three nights thanks in part to constant jackhammering and an elevator near his hotel room here that kept dinging as it delivered people to his floor at all hours.
As he tossed and turned, he thought about what would happen if the Lakers fell out of the top five altogether, meaning their pick went to the 76ers as part of the Steve Nash trade.
"It's been on my mind the whole time I've been here," he said.
There was about a 17 percent chance of that situation occurring, but it was still enough to make the Lakers and all their fans sweat, especially after the Lakers twice beat the 76ers in the regular season, wins those same fans worried would come back to haunt their team on Tuesday.
Before Black entered the room, he spoke to Lakers coach Byron Scott, who was representing the team on stage. He told him he hoped when they saw each other again in an hour and a half, they would share a big hug.
Black wore a purple-striped tie, a dark charcoal gray suit and his ring from the Lakers' 2001 championship. "I never wear rings," he pointed out. But he said he chose that one because of the Lakers' dominance that postseason, going 15-1 en route to the second of three consecutive titles. And just who did the Lakers beat in the Finals that year? Why, the 76ers, of course, the same team they were up against Tuesday night.
Black hoped the ring would bring good luck.
If it didn't, he joked that he would throw it in the East River.
Air pushed the balls around the drum designed by a company that makes state lottery machines. After 20 seconds, Kyle Yelencsics, an associate coordinator with the NBA, clicked a purple stopwatch in his right hand and raised his left arm.
Then Lou DiSabatino, the NBA's vice president of events and attractions, pulled a small lever, causing one of the balls to be sucked up through a vertical tube to an opening.
Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA's senior vice president of basketball operations, plucked the first ball and read it aloud.
After three more intervals, each lasting 10 seconds, a four-ball combination gave the Minnesota Timberwolves
In Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery, the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to the No. 1 spot, while the Los Angeles Lakers -- despite having the fourth-worst record in the league -- jumped up to the No. 2 pick.
Kobe Bryant responded on Twitter:
This should surprise no one. It's also not the first bathroom-related comment Bryant made about these Lakers; Kobe famously called his team "soft like Charmin" during a midseason practice.
Magic Johnson? His reaction was a little more hopeful:
On the other end of the spectrum were the New York Knicks, who went from the second-best chance at the No. 1 pick ... down to No. 4.
Hey, at least one of the top prospects seemed to enjoy it ... we think.
NEW YORK -- The Minnesota Timberwolves lost 66 games during the 2014-15 season.
But they won big Tuesday night.
The Wolves landed the first pick of the 2015 NBA draft in the league's annual lottery. Minnesota had an NBA-high 25 percent chance of landing the top pick based on its last-place finish in the leaguewide standings.
The top draft-eligible players include Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns, Duke center Jahlil Okafor, Ohio State point guard D'Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay, a 19-year-old guard who played professionally in China this season.
The NBA draft will be held at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, on June 25.
Minnesota president and coach Flip Saunders said Tuesday's lottery was a "very emotional" day for the franchise and its fans. He said that the team will consider all of its options with the pick.
"Having the No. 1 pick gives us the opportunity to really evaluate everybody and really see what direction we want to go," Saunders said. "At this point, we're open. We'll pick the best player for us on June 25."
Added Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor: "I'm just really happy for the Minnesota fans because they've been so loyal and they've been so patient with us and this has been such a difficult year."
It is the first time Minnesota has ever had the No. 1 pick, though the team has Andrew Wiggins
NEW YORK -- The Lakers have won more games than any other NBA franchise, so it's no surprise that they're rare visitors to the draft lottery. In fact, Tuesday’s 31st annual lottery will mark just their fourth appearance -- but second in a row -- since the NBA created it in 1985.
That’s the second-fewest appearances among NBA teams behind the San Antonio Spurs, who have gone three times but haven’t been since they drafted Tim Duncan in 1997.
For perspective, every other NBA team has made at least seven lottery appearances, and the Lakers’ fellow Staples Center tenants, the Clippers, have made an NBA-high 22 trips.
So if Lakers fans aren’t too familiar with how the whole process works, they’re forgiven. After all, they’re more used to their favorite team competing for a championship at this time of year than praying pingpong balls bounce their way.
But no worries. Here’s a quick step-by-step look at how it all works, as provided by the league.
It begins with 14 pingpong balls in a drum, one ball for every NBA team that did not reach the playoffs this year, numbered 1 through 14.
Fourteen balls means there are 1,001 possible four-ball combinations. Prior to the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 combinations are assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams. (The 1,001st combination isn’t assigned to any team.)
The number of combinations teams are assigned is determined by regular-season record.
For example, the Minnesota Timberwolves finished with the league’s worst record, so they’ll have the most combinations, 250, meaning they’ll have a 25 percent chance at the top overall pick.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, meanwhile, have the best record of any team in the lottery, so they’ll have the fewest combinations: five.
The Lakers have the league’s fourth-worst record, so they’ll have the fourth-most combinations, 119. That means they’ll have an 11.9 percent chance at landing the top overall pick. They also have a 12.6 percent chance at the second overall pick and a 13.3 percent chance at the third overall pick.
The procedure itself will take place in a separate room at the New York Hilton Midtown prior to the national broadcast on ESPN at about 5 p.m. PST.
In that room, select media, NBA officials and representatives from each of the lottery teams and the accounting firm Ernst & Young will be present. (John Black, Lakers vice president of public relations, will represent the team in the drawing room.)
The NBA says the lottery machine is manufactured by the Smart Play Company, a “leading manufacturer of state lottery machines throughout the United States.” Smart Play also weighs, measures and certifies the pingpong balls prior to the drawing, the league says.
All the balls are placed in the lottery machine and mixed for 20 seconds; then the first ball is removed by an official. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds, and then the second ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the third ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the fourth ball is drawn.
The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the No. 1 pick. The same process is repeated with the same pingpong balls and lottery machine for the second pick and then again for the third pick.
If the same team comes up more than once, the result is discarded and another four-ball combination is selected. Also, if the one unassigned combination is drawn, the balls are drawn to the top again.
The length of time the balls are mixed is monitored by a timekeeper who faces away from the machine and signals the machine operator after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed.
After the first three picks are set, the remaining teams will pick in the inverse order of their record. So, Minnesota can pick no lower than fourth, New York (17-65) no lower than fifth and Philadelphia (18-64) no lower than sixth.
After the drawing, team logo cards are inserted into envelopes marked 1 through 14 by Denise Pelli, a partner with Ernst & Young, and the envelopes are brought onto a stage, where the announcement of the lottery results will be made by NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. An additional representative from each team will be on stage. (Head coach Byron Scott for the Lakers.)
The team whose logo is in the envelope that is opened last will have the first selection at the June 25 draft, which will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
NEW YORK -- As the losses piled high at a historic rate, Los Angeles Lakers fans looked ahead to what they hoped were better days. Specifically, they looked to this Tuesday night.
At about 5 p.m. PST, in a room at the New York Hilton Midtown, 14 pingpong balls will dance in a clear, plastic container about the size of an office water cooler, and the order in which four of them are selected will help determine the fate of many teams’ immediate future.
The Lakers, who will participate in their second consecutive lottery drawing and fourth since it was introduced in 1985, might be in the most compelling situation of the 14 teams in that room, each of whom are there because they failed to reach the playoffs.
In short, Tuesday night could unfold well for the Lakers -- very well, perhaps -- or, like their 2014-15 campaign, it could go horribly wrong.
As it stands, the Lakers, following the worst season in franchise history, are hopeful that, in the words of GM Mitch Kupchak, they’ll be “rewarded” with a high pick in the draft, which takes place June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
How high? High enough that they'll likely be in position to snag an impact player, such as Duke center Jahlil Okafor or Kentucky big men Karl Anthony-Towns or Willie Cauley-Stein.
Or perhaps the Lakers would take a dynamic young guard, such as Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay, who played last season in China.
The Lakers finished with the NBA’s fourth-worst record (21-61), which gives them an 11.9 percent chance at landing the top pick and a 37.8 percent chance at a top-3 pick.
But there’s another scenario for them, one that could be disastrous.
The Lakers’ first-round pick this year is only top-5 protected because they traded it in the 2012 deal for Steve Nash. So if it falls out of the first five slots, the Lakers would lose it to the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired the pick from the Phoenix Suns in a February trade.
For the Lakers, such an outcome after such an awful season would be nothing short of catastrophic. And that could happen if two teams slotted fifth through 14th leap-frogged the Lakers into the top three. There’s a roughly 17 percent chance of it happening.
Should Lakers fans worry? Maybe.
Since the weighted lottery system that resembles what’s being used today was introduced in 1994, only three times has a team in a pre-lottery position of fourth dropped to six, but two of those instances occurred in the past five years: the 2011 Wizards and 2010 Warriors. (The other instance was the 2001 Grizzlies.)
In the Lakers’ other three lottery appearances, they selected Eddie Jones 10th overall in 1994, Andrew Bynum 10th overall in 2005 and Julius Randle seventh overall last season.
The Lakers will also have the 27th overall pick as a result of the preseason Jeremy Lin trade with Houston, and they’ll have their own second-round pick, the 34th overall selection.