The Los Angeles Lakers may not have picked up the top overall pick in the NBA Draft at Tuesday night’s draft lottery, but there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future, with the ping pong balls awarding them the second overall pick. That should be good for incoming head coach Luke Walton once he settles in to his new job, but the Golden State Warriors assistant was pranked on lottery night by his current employer.
Before the lottery proceedings got underway, Walton was informed by a member of the Golden State public relations office that the Lakers had fallen out of the top three and received the fourth overall pick in the upcoming draft.
Before lottery, Warriors PR czar Raymond Ridder texted Luke Walton that Lakers got 4th pick. Luke fell for the prank, now has last laugh.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) May 18, 2016
Had the Lakers actually fallen out of the top three and landed the fourth overall pick (or lower), they would have had to send that pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, who had already been awarded the top overall pick in the draft. Sixers fans were hoping that would be the case, as it would give the team the first and fourth picks in the draft along with a pair of picks later in the first round (24th and 26th). Fortunately for Walton and the Lakers, they will now get to pick either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, whichever is not chosen by the Sixers with the top pick next month. With a young team playing this past season, the Lakers will transition to the post-Kobe Bryant era with a player that should be the new centerpiece of the franchise for years to come.
The 76ers claimed the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, followed by the Lakers and the Boston Celtics for the third overall pick.