The Miami Heat‘s Play-In game win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday also represented a small win for the Los Angeles Lakers, as Miami would have moved up past the Lakers in the 2023 NBA Draft order had they lost.
The Heat finished the regular season with a 44-38 record — one game better than the Lakers’ mark of 43-39. But, because the Lakers qualified for the playoffs, they would have moved back from No. 17 to No. 18 if Miami had missed the playoffs. Instead, the Lakers are solidified at No. 17.
A minor victory? Sure. But the Lakers will take it.
The more consequential draft-related result of the Lakers’ improbable run to the playoffs nullified a pick swap with New Orleans Pelicans included in the Anthony Davis trade. (The Pelicans fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 Play-In game on Wednesday.)
When the Lakers were sitting at 2-10 in November, it looked like they might end up sending the No. 1 overall pick — in other words, Victor Wembanyama — to New Orleans.
The Lakers own their 2023 second-round pick.
Los Angeles’ scouting department has a laudable track record of drafting and developing players over the past decade, though many of them didn’t end up sticking with the Lakers long-term. Ivica Zubac, Talen Horton-Tucker, and promising rookie Max Christie were second-round finds, while Austin Reaves and Alex Caruso went undrafted.
The NBA Draft lottery will take place on May 16, and the draft will be held on June 22.
The post Heat Play-In win vs. Bulls finalizes Lakers pick in 2023 NBA Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.