The NBA draft is fast approaching, and I was wondering, how many times have the Los Angeles Lakers chosen #2 overall in history? We know that the Lakers will draft in the second position for the third year in a row, which is pretty remarkable. You might be surprised at the results.
The NBA draft officially started in 1947. The Pittsburgh Ironmen selected Clifton McNeely out of Texas Wesleyan, and he didn’t even play professional basketball. He chose instead to coach high school basketball in Texas! Do you think the number one overall pick this year will walk away like he did? Probably not, but the draft was off and running as it were.
The Lakers, (Minneapolis and LA) have had thirteen top 5 picks in history and 3 number one picks, (Baylor ’58, Magic ’79, Worthy ’82) in 70 years of the draft. The #2 pick is just as important and can effect the team as well. The Lakers have had (including 2017 #2 pick) a total of 5 number 2 picks as a franchise. Here they are in order.
In 1960, the Lakers were still in Minneapolis and were set to make their pick. The Lakers selected Jerry West of the West Virginia Mountaneers. He had led the school to the 1959 NCAA Championship game. The 1959-60 Lakers were struggling. George Mikan had retired and the attendance was terrible. Owner Bob Short packed up newly drafted West and moved him and his Lakers to Los Angeles. He is the last pick of the Minneapolis Lakers and the first pick of the Los Angeles Lakers. “Mr. Clutch” would go on to average 27.0 PPG for his career. He finally beat the dreaded Celtics for the NBA Championship in 1972. “The Logo” retired in 1975 and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1980.
The NBA Draft in 1975 was fresh off Jerry West retiring, so the Lakers had to make an important pick at #2. David Meyers was a forward at UCLA that played alongside Bill Walton and future Laker Jamaal Wilkes. He won the NCAA Championship with the Bruins in 1973 and 1975. The Lakers made him their 2nd overall pick in 1975. David Meyers played for 5 seasons in the NBA, but none with the Lakers. In 1975, the Lakers were looking for a superstar to revitalize the franchise after some down years. 19 days after the draft, Meyers was traded with 4 other players to the Milwaukee Bucks for Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and we know how that ended up. David Meyers was inducted into the PAC 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor in March 2015, and passed away from cancer 3 months later at the age of 62.
In 2015, the Lakers win/loss record helped land the 2nd overall pick and selected current PG/SG D’Angelo Russell, from The Ohio State University. In his brief 2 years with the Lakers, he has averaged 14.3 PPG and 4 assists per game. 2016 wins were less than the prior year, and again the Lakers found themselves in the Lottery with the second pick. The Lakers selected Forward Brandon Ingram from Duke. His rookie season produced mixed results. Ingram struggled in the first half, but rebounded and showed he was the correct pick with a fabulous second half. Brandon is going to be a player the Lakers build around for years to come.
We are anticipating another superstar player with our third #2 pick in a row. Who do you want the Lakers to take? Will he wind up like Jerry West or David Meyers? Time will tell!