NBA Draft lottery: Lakers land second overall pick in draft

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Several Lakers officials did not feel as at ease. Lakers spokesman John Black reported president Jeanie Buss, executive Jim Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak and himself all feeling nervous heading into the lottery. The Lakers still had a 17.2 percent chance of losing the pick if it landed sixth or seventh. Apparently that did not concern Scott, who refused to follow any superstitions beyond sporting a solid gold tie to complement his white shirt and black suit.“I screamed so loud when the pick was announced!” Lakers luminary Magic Johnson tweeted. “I haven’t screamed that loud in a long time! I’m so excited!”After all, the Lakers went 21-61 in 2014-15 in Scott’s first year as the team’s coach, representing both the franchise’s worst mark in its 67-year-old history and the NBA’s fourth-worst record. That contrasted to when Scott won three NBA championships with the Showtime Lakers. Though the Lakers had an 82.8 percent chance of retaining their top-five pick, they only had a 12.6 percent chance of climbing up to two. Since 1996, only five teams with the NBA’s fourth-worst record had moved up, one stayed in its spot and 13 other teams fell. Hence, Black joked Scott “is a better lucky charm” than former Showtime Lakers teammate James Worthy. Scott also coached New Orleans and Cleveland when they won the fourth and first overall picks, respectively, to draft Chris Paul (2005) and Kyrie Irving (2011). Worthy attended last year’s lottery when the Lakers finished with the seventh pick. They then drafted Kentucky’s Julius Randle, who is expected to return fully healthy next season after fracturing his right leg in the team’s season opener.Scott declined talking trash to Worthy, who represented one of 27 people to text Scott afterwards. But once the sixth pick went to the Sacramento Kings, Scott winked at former Lakers and Kings center Vlade Divac, who joked with Scott they would both feel happy if either side finished with the first or second pick. “This is a process that will take a few years,” said Scott, who will meet with Kupchak on Wednesday. “But this is a big process of rebuilding and getting this organization accustomed to where we belong.”Johnson argued the Lakers should select either Kentucky’s Karl Anthony-Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. But Scott maintained “we’ll take the best player available.” Other candidates include point guard (Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, China’s Emmanuel Mudiay) or small forward (Duke’s Justise Winslow, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson).“With our roster,” Scott said, “we need help in a lot of different areas.”Kobe Bryant, Randle, Nick Young and Ryan Kelly have guaranteed contracts, while the Lakers will retain rookies Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black on non-guaranteed deals. The Lakers could fill nine of their roster spots with the second, 27th and 34th draft picks. “We played like crap all season,” Bryant tweeted, “so it’s only right we get the #2 pick.”Meanwhile, Scott found it right that the Lakers’ possible next cornerstones will learn from Bryant. “They should want to learn from him. He’s one of the greatest players to ever play this game,” Scott said of Bryant. “There’s no better guy to have on a team to teach some of these young guys what the league is all about and the type of work ethic they’re going to have to even hopefully get somewhere near his level.” Bryant could not match that level last season, averaging 22.3 points on a career-low 37.3 percent shooting through 35 games before suffering a season-ending right shoulder injury. Yet, the Lakers’ eventual second pick could ease Bryant’s workload in his 20th NBA season. Even with that possible consolation prize amid a lost season, Scott still consistently managed to ensure his team remained competitive, an approach he believed returned full circle on a potentially historic night. “We got good fortune because we did accept it that way and go out to play every game to win,” Scott said. “This is a little bit of that reward. But now the real work starts.”center_img NEW YORK >> The stoic expression stayed on Byron Scott’s face. It all made it hard to read how the Lakers’ coach felt as he anticipated whether he would hear more bad news in a year full of them. But amid a year full of never-ending injuries and losses, the Lakers finally struck purple and gold. The Lakers landed the second pick on Tuesday in the NBA draft lottery at the New York Hilton Midtown, securing a key asset that could bolster the team’s offseason project beginning with the NBA draft on June 25. By finishing only behind the Minnesota Timberwolves in the lottery, the Lakers avoided sending the pick to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash trade with Phoenix in 2012. The Lakers will owe the Sixers the pick in 2016 if it lands out of the top three. “I didn’t feel nervous at all,” said Scott, who reported numerous friends at the Equinox gym in Santa Monica predicted the Lakers would secure the No. 2 pick. “I felt in my heart and my mind we would get one or two.”last_img

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