The Los Angeles Lakers could be on their way to missing the playoffs for the second straight year after LeBron James suffered a foot injury that will keep him out multiple weeks, but they are not guaranteed a lottery pick. The Pelicans have swap rights from the Anthony Davis trade, so the Lakers will get the least favorable between the two first-round picks this year.
LA’s track record in the draft is hit-and-miss. They selected Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich since 1960, and even traded for Kobe Bryant in the 1996 draft, but there have been some massive misses even with top draft choices. The franchise has placed less importance on the draft since signing LeBron James.
When the Lakers have missed, they have struck out completely in many cases. Here is a look at their all-time draft bust starting five starting with a recent point guard that was selected second overall.
Lakers all-time bust PG: Lonzo Ball
The Lakers draft Lonzo Ball second overall in 2017. They were in the middle of the longest playoff drought in franchise history, and Los Angeles desperately needed a star player. D’Angelo Russell showed some promise, but the Lakers traded him when they drafted Ball.
Ball got the keys to the offense as a rookie, and he showed plenty of promise in his two years in LA before being sent to New Orleans as part of the package for Anthony Davis.
Still, he was not living up to the hype of the second overall pick. He has played more than 60 games just once in his six years in the NBA, and the 6’6 point guard will miss the entire 2022-2023 season because of a knee injury. There are serious questions about Ball ever playing again after this season’s uncertainty.
The Lakers missed on Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Lauri Markkanen, and Jarrett Allen by selecting Ball second overall. All six of those players have already been All-Stars, and two are unquestioned superstars. It was a massive miss by the Lakers, but the franchise salvaged it by trading Lonzo Ball in the package that brought back AD, who helped LA win the championship in 2020.