Los Angeles was originally expected to fall out of the top 10 and held just a 9.4 percent chance to move as far up as it did.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was pleased with his franchise’s unexpected jump up to the No. 4 spot Tuesday in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery.
“This is a powerful asset for us,” Pelinka said, per the team’s website. “Our focus right now is going to be on doing all we can to have an incredibly successful year next year.”
Los Angeles was originally expected to fall out of the top 10 and held just a 9.4 percent chance to move as far up as it did. Pelinka said the jump will impact the Lakers’ mindset and they will focus on how much they can get with a draft pick in the top five.
“But now it shifts, what we can get at four. I will tell you there are some incredibly talented, impact players there that we’re going to study deeply,” Pelinka said. “And then of course we’ll canvas the league and see what value that pick has. But either of those options is an extraordinary win for the franchise … I already talked to (Lakers owner) Jeanie Buss and she is just thrilled. I think it should really be exciting for our fans. It’s an unexpected event for the Lakers and we’re certainly really blessed.”
Pelinka expressed optimism that the Lakers’ No. 4 pick has the chance to significantly change their franchise if they make the right decision.
“Top five picks in the draft, if you go back in history and study them, those picks can alter and impact franchises,” Pelinka explained. “I think this is a big moment for us. Last year of course we had to go through some hard and difficult things, but this is certainly a great silver lining. I think our dedication is really towards our fans right now, and doing all we can next year to deliver a really special Lakers season for our fans.”
The Lakers have gone through a number of drastic changes after Magic Johnson unexpectedly resigned as Los Angeles’ president of basketball operations and the franchise parted ways with coach Luke Walton after a 37-45 season, but this bit of good news is a relief for Pelinka.
“I think the biggest motto is just laser focused, head down, do the work,” Pelinka said. “I think that we’ve been trying as an organization to just be methodical and continue a path forward, and doing the work. Our job is to put in the work to make the Lakers a successful organization for our fanbase, and that’s really the course and the path we’ve been on.
“This is just a burst of good will for us as a franchise. It just gives us some excitement and kind of a nice launching pad going into next year after some of the difficult things we had to go through last year. Our focus right now is just head down, do the work.”