Pelicans projected to royally screw Lakers over to draft a bust in 2024

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The 2024 NBA Draft has been touted as one of the worst draft classes in recent league history. If there was ever a year for the Los Angeles Lakers to give away a pick from the Anthony Davis trade, it is the 2024 NBA Draft.

However, the Lakers may end up getting their own pick back as the Pelicans have the right to simply not take the pick, and roll it over to 2025. With this draft class being so poor, and the Lakers being right smack dab in the middle of the first round, it seems logical for New Olreans to take its chances on next year's draft.

That is not the path that ESPN projects the Pelicans to take, though. In the latest 2024 NBA mock draft put together by Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo, the Pelicans not only exercise their option to take the Lakers' pick, but select a polarizing prospect in Purdue's Zach Edey.

Edey has been putting up big numbers in the NCAA Tournament but that has not fooled NBA evaluators, who have compared him to a not-so-favorable NBA big man (h/t Michael Scotto, Hoops Hype).

"'People are talking about Edey going in the first round and I’m asking myself if we’re really talking about a situational big man in the first round?' an NBA scout told HoopsHype. 'Is he going to be a starter? No. Is he going to be a backup every night? Probably not. He’s Boban Marjanovic in my opinion.'"

Pelicans taking Lakers' pick to draft a potential bust would royally screw LA

From a pure fan perspective, the Pelicans taking the Lakers' pick only to use it on someone who is projected to be a first-round bust would be karma. The last thing that Lakers fans want to see is the Pelicans using this pick to draft the next star. Plus, it would officially end all of the payments of the Anthony Davis trade.

As funny as it would be to see the Pelicans waste yet another pick from the AD trade, doing this would actually hurt the Lakers this offseason. Los Angeles is reportedly looking to swing a huge trade this summer with the ability to trade three picks.

If the Pelicans opt to roll the pick over to 2025 then the Lakers would be able to trade the 2024 first-round pick (after the selection is made for Stepien Rule purposes, but the new team would still decide on the selection), a 2029 unprotected first-round pick and a 2031 unprotected first-round pick.

Granted, this year's pick is not extremely valuable as it is in the middle of a first round that is filled with a not-great class. But it still becomes a lot easier for a team to sell itself on trading, say, Trae Young when there are three picks coming back in return instead of two.

That very well could be the difference between getting a new star on the team or getting nothing. Even if it is not a new star, the Lakers could leverage that pick to get some kind of rotational help next season. Without it, LA's tradeable assets this offseason take a huge hit.

Hopefully, the Pelicans don't get any ideas from this ESPN mock. If so, it might end up being a fairly lackluster summer for the Lake Show.