While other teams are always chasing the top draft picks, teams like the Lakers and Celtics are usually making due with the 20th pick or lower. I'm not downplaying the Celts or the Bulls, but take away Jordan, and the Bulls never were. The difference between the Lakers and the Celtics is that the Lakers have been successful on a more consistent basis. Look at the last 30 years. The lakers have won 9 titles and played in 15 championships. In that time the Lakers have had two years where they have drafted high. Some guys named Magic and Worthy.
Other than that, the Lakers have made due with low pics. Divac was a 26th pic. Kobe wasn't picked by the Lakers. This year, the Lakers had three picks and decided that with a $74 million payroll, and the lack of a compelling player in the draft, to sell their picks.
Draft picks are often fools gold. Sure they work out: Magic, Bird, Jordan, Shaq, LeBron, Dwade, D Howard, and a few others, but every year 55 players turn out to be busts or average at best.
The funny thing is that the Lakers sold their 29th pick for cash and a future draft pick. Built in profit right there. The Lakers then sold their 42nd pick for 1.5 mil and another second round pick. Yup more profit. The Lakers did nothing and made money on it. And why not?
The Lakers won the title this year and were in the Finals the year before that. They are lousy with talent right now. Gee should I resign Ariza, Odom, Brown, or ditch the proven talent and sign a pig in a poke? Don't forget the Hedo is out there and would give his left nut to play for the Lakers. In addition there is some guy named Morrison on their roster. Adam may not have done much yet, but he played for the Bobcats for Christ sake and he suffered a knee injury he is still recovering from. Not too bad of a position to be in eh?
In contrast, the clippers constantly pick up at the top of the draft. Ironically they drafted Odom. Odom isn't a lead player, but he is a hell of a 2nd or 3rd on your roster. Consider Dwade, Odom and Shaq. Lebron, Odom and Shaq. Kobe, Odom and Gasol. Pierce Odom and KG. See how easy that is to think of, yet teams like the Clippers can't seem to do that. They just pick year after year and then after the give the player some experience, then the good franchises pick them up.
This extends to Football as well. How many years have the Lions picked at the top? The Browns, Raiders, etc. The funny thing is that a lot of franchises complain how difficult it is when they are newer. Panthers anyone?
In closing consider another low round pick. He was picked 24th in 1996, a very strong draft class. Iverson, Allen, Marbury, Nash, Oneil. Perhaps you have heard of him, Derek Fisher, picked by the lakers. How do you think the NBA liked his 24th pick ass as he knocked down those stone cold 3's against the Magic?