Vexing Questions Loom for Los Angeles Lakers After Disappointing Draft Lottery

As if Los Angeles Lakers fans needed any more heartbreak, they were introduced to a new low Tuesday night.

Draft lottery disappointment.

Dreams of moving up to a top-three pick—a 21.5 percent possibility, according to—went unanswered. As a result, landing one of the guys Lakers management had already identified as a cut above all others (Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker) is suddenly out of the picture.

Los Angeles actually dropped from its mathematically probable spot of sixth overall and is now slotted for seventh. It was a lesson to Lakers fans unaccustomed to depending on the draft how imprudent it is to bank on this most traditional style of rebuilding.

Not only does the lottery scramble the order—the tanking movement hopefully suffered a deathblow with the Cleveland Cavaliers snagging the top pick despite a 1.7 percent likelihood—but these are just kids. It’s very difficult to predict how truly dedicated to developing they will be...or how fast the good guys will develop into great if they do.

So bank on this much: More surprises await.

And they might well be of this ilk:

Eighteen-year-old Australian Dante Exum, seemingly a perfect fit for a point guard-needing team that covets long-limbed athletes in Orlando at No. 4 overall, winds up lacking the requisite relentlessness that Oklahoma State sophomore point guard Marcus Smart has already displayed. (Smart could well be there at No. 7 for the Lakers.)

Or Parker’s basketball skill set isn’t enough to outweigh his middling athletic ability over the long term, and Arizona’s 18-year-old power forward specimen, Aaron Gordon, becomes one of the greatest defensive players of his era. (Gordon could also be there at No. 7 for the Lakers.)

L.A.'s brass did covet a top-three spot, but they really like at least eight players in this draf...

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