No. 2 Pick Means Darkest Days Are over for L.A. Lakers

After an extended stretch of mediocrity, the Los Angeles Lakers may finally be turning the page.

Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery produced a major stroke of good luck with the No. 2 pick. It could have been a whole lot worse—L.A.’s top-three protected slot would have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers with a less fortuitous combination of bouncing balls.

The Sixers still get to choose first on June 23 by virtue of their own top selection. But drafting right behind them is still a sweet spot for Los Angeles. That means the tag team fate of LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram will already be settled by the time the Lakers are on the board. 

Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold sees it as a win-win situation:

It’s one more major piece of a rebuilding puzzle that includes the hiring of Luke Walton as head coach, a war chest of money to play with in free agency and a core of talented young players.


Out with the Old...

The worst season in franchise history came to a close when Kobe Bryant went out like a lion, delivering 60 points in his final game. Another page was turned when Byron Scott’s option was declined less than two weeks later. The old-school traditionalist never gained traction as a coach in L.A., preaching tough love and mired in uncreative play-calling as the league evolved around him.

There will be other veteran goodbyes as well this summer, albeit with less fanfare. Big Roy Hibbert is a free agent coming off an utterly pedestrian year—it’s doubtful he’ll be brought back.

Metta World Peace’s playing days could also be over in L.A., although he’d be an interesting addition to the staff as a development coach. Peace was a mentor to younger teammates this season and he also played with Walton on three purple and gold squads.

As for Luke, exp...

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