Lakers Rumors: Landing Big Man in Draft Would Make Los Angeles Playoff Contender

Sometimes second place is as good as a win.

While the Minnesota Timberwolves won the 2015 NBA draft lottery and the No. 1 pick that comes with it, the Los Angeles Lakers are sitting pretty with the No. 2 selection. That means even if the Timberwolves select Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, the Lakers will have the opportunity to take the other big man.

That appears to be the plan, given this rumor from Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding:

It is clear why landing that No. 2 spot was so important. With two potentially elite big men in this draft, the only way to ensure a shot at one of them was with the fortunate bounce of the ping-pong balls. Sure, D'Angelo Russell, Justise Winslow and Emmanuel Mudiay could develop into stars, but drafting one of those big men would make the Lakers playoff contenders as soon as next season.

Superstar Kobe Bryant—whose impending return from a shoulder injury is one reason Los Angeles could contend for the playoffs next year—reacted to the news:

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times passed along head coach Byron Scott's reaction to the second pick:

Owning that second pick also takes some of the pressure off the decision-making process come draft day, as Larry Coon of pointed out:

Now that the lottery is in the rear-view mirror, it is time to look ahead to what the roster will look like with either Towns or Okafor. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times did not shy away from assigning significant meaning to the upcoming draft pick:

Either Towns or Okafor would bolster Los Angeles' immediate playoff chances. Towns is a defensive force who averaged 2.3 blocks per game in a mere 21.1 minutes a night during his one season at Kentucky. If those numbers are projected to 40 minutes a night, we are almost talking about five blocks per game.

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