Years ago, the Los Angeles Lakers traded their 2017 first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns and added protection to that pick for an aging Steve Nash, who didn't help the team succeed due to multiple injuries. The Suns then traded that protected pick to the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire Brandon Knight, who was a failed project for Phoenix.

The draft pick L.A. traded is top-three protected, meaning the Lakers will have to get at least the third pick to be able to keep it. If the Lakers fall out of the top three during the Draft Lottery, they will lose the pick to the Sixers, which will greatly help them in their efforts to rebuild.

Chances decreasing

Recently the Lakers have been winning games, surprisingly beating the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. With those two back-to-back wins, the Lakers have drastically reduced their chances of keeping the draft pick, which would be a travesty for them.

The Lakers’ chances of landing a top-three pick recently dropped from 55.83% to 46.93%. They are now most likely to land the number five spot in the lottery, according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports. The Lakers also now have the third-worst record in the league instead of the second.

The Lakers have had their eyes on UCLA star Lonzo Ball, but if they fall out of the top three, their chances of landing a potential young star completely diminishes.

With a team that has been trying to rebuild for years, it will be a significant setback if they do not keep their first-round pick.

Offseason

If the Lakers lose their pick, they lose a major asset. Essentially losing the pick will slightly set them back in the offseason. The Lakers are gradually looking like an attractive market again, but they need all the assets they can get to lure a top free agent ultimately.

It is bad enough they invested so much money in Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov last summer, and losing what could be a valuable pick will put a dent in their future.

Looking ahead

Looking at the Lakers’ remaining schedule, they have a few more winnable games coming. They play three opponents who are non-playoff teams -- the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, and Minnesota Timberwolves, and close the season playing the Golden State Warriors.

They could very easily win a couple more games, which will not be ideal for their stance in the draft lottery. If the Lakers are focused on the future, they must lose their last four games to increase their chances of keeping their pick.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!