If 7 ft. 4 in. Ralph Sampson had decided to turn pro rather than complete his collegiate career at Virginia, the Los Angeles Lakers were prepared to pay handsomely to insure their draft rights to him. As it is, they are still sitting very pretty, and may wind up with the top selection in the National Basketball Association draft.
Normally the most talent-depleted NBA teams select first, but the well-to-do Lakers, finalists in this season's playoffs, acquired Cleveland's top pick in a trade. That's either the first or second overall selection in the June 29 draft , depending on the outcome of today's coin flip. This procedure determines which last-place conference team, San Diego or Los Angeles (for Cleveland), goes first. Whoever wins will likely draft 6 ft. 9 in. forward James Worthy of national champion North Carolina.