After finishing last season with a 27-55 record, the most losses in franchise history, the Lakers were hoping to sneak into the top three of the draft during Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery but ended up with the seventh overall pick.
“I wouldn’t say it was bad luck; we were hoping to get lucky,” general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We could have dropped down to No. 9 too, so we were hoping to get lucky and worst case, stay where we were, but it could have been worse. We think drafting at No. 7, there’s going to be a good player available there.”
When Kupchak was asked if the Lakers’ draft pick figures to be a starter next season, he joked, “Right now, we only have four guys under contract right now.”
The Lakers currently have Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Kendall Marshall under contract for next season. Kupchak said the Lakers will invite the top 15-20 prospects on their board in for workouts.
“We started last night calling and trying to set up workouts with everybody in the top 15-20 on our board,” Kupchak said. “Some of those guys don’t think they’re going to be there at seven, so they’re not going to come in. There’s nothing we can do about that. You may say, ‘Why bring in a guy who may go 20?’ Well, you never know, No. 1, and No. 2, you have the opportunity to develop a relationship with a player. Why not do it? That started last night.”
There is a possibility the Lakers could trade their pick in a deal for a veteran player or addition draft picks, which Kupchak said is always an option.
“It stands to reason that the higher the pick, the more value it has, but a sixth pick or a seventh pick certainly has value,” Kupchak said. “We’ll evaluate that between now and the draft.”