The greatest lottery selection for the Los Angeles Lakers was a no-brainer, as Kobe Bryant was the player selected.
The Los Angeles Lakers have one of the most storied histories in the NBA. They have had a ton of success during the history of the organization, as they have won 16 NBA championships. With all of that winning, the Lakers rarely were picking at the top of the NBA Draft.
Since the inception of the NBA Draft Lottery in 1985, the Lakers have made only six selections in the lottery. That number will become seven this year, as the Lakers won the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. It will be the fourth straight year that the Lakers are selecting in the lottery.
Prior to 2014, when this streak began, the Lakers selected in the lottery only three times. That speaks to how well the franchise has run things to always be in the postseason. It also speaks to how well Los Angeles has drafted when it does land in the lottery.
In the three instances the Lakers were in the lottery, Los Angeles selected an All-Star. Eddie Jones was the first one, selected 10th overall in 1994. Andrew Bynum was also selected 10th overall in 2005. Sandwiched in between those two lottery selections was Kobe Bryant, who was selected as the Lakers best lottery selection in franchise history.
Over at ESPN, insiders Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton selected who they believed was the best and worst lottery selections by each team in franchise history. There were some disagreements between the two for a few options. There was no disagreement about who the Lakers’ best pick was.
They both selected Bryant as L.A.’s best lottery selection. The Lakers have so few of them, most of which have turned out well, that there was no one picked as their worst selection. Here is what they had to say about Bryant being the best pick:
“The Lakers benefited from Bryant’s desire to play in L.A., which led the Nets to pass on him and allowed the Lakers to trade Vlade Divac for the pick necessary to draft the Hall of Famer.
“Since the Lakers have had just six lottery picks and the first three (Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Eddie Jones) all became All-Stars, there is no obvious choice here. We considered Bynum, whose career was cut short by injury, and Brandon Ingram, who posted a highly inefficient rookie season after being picked second overall in 2016, but it’s too early to say for sure about Ingram.”
Bryant was selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft. He was technically selected by the Charlotte Hornets and traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac a few weeks after the draft. That turned out to be one of the biggest heists in NBA history.
No disrespect to Divac, who was a solid center in his own right. But he didn’t come near to producing like Bryant did.
Bryant is a surefire Hall of Famer. He has won five NBA championships. He made 18 All-Star games, won one MVP, and two NBA Finals MVP awards. Bryant is currently ranked third all-time on the NBA points list.
Bryant was a no-brainer pick as the Lakers’ best lottery selection. There is virtually no debate to be made against Bryant; the only thing that people could argue is that he wasn’t technically a Lakers selection.
But, he didn’t suit up for any other team in his NBA career. He was a Laker from start to finish and went down as one of the greatest players not only in their franchise history, but NBA history as well.