The Lakers had a shot at versatile 7-foot-3 power forward Kristaps Porzingis but instead selected point guard D'Angelo Russell with the second overall pick. Porzingis went fourth to the Knicks.
Nearly three years later, Russell is no longer in Los Angeles, but Porzingis is still with the Knicks (21-25), and the Lakers (16-29) will need to find a better method to stop him when he visits Staples Center.
Porzingis has emerged as the team's leading scorer this season at 23.5 points per game, and has steadily become a painful thorn in the side of Los Angeles.
He sat out his first career matchup against the Lakers two years ago with a stomach virus, and quietly chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds later that season in a game more remembered for Kobe Bryant's last visit to Madison Square Garden.
Porzingis emerged as a difference-maker against the Lakers last season, totaling 26 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots in the first meeting at Staples Center, a 118-112 win by the Knicks, then finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in a 121-107 loss in New York.
His development was even more evident last month against the visiting Lakers, when he scored 37 points on 14-of-26 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also took 11 rebounds and blocked five shots.
Russell was traded to the Brooklyn Nets last summer to make room for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, another second overall pick who was one of the best players on the floor when the Lakers played the Knicks last month, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Ball will miss his fourth straight game Sunday with a knee injury, however, and his 10th game overall this season because of injuries.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored a team-high 24 points against New York last month, is questionable with a right Achilles tendon strain. Brandon Ingram, the team's second-leading scorer at 15.9 points, is also questionable with a mild left ankle sprain.
All three missed Friday's game against the visiting Indiana Pacers, but Los Angeles still managed a 99-86 victory behind 33 points off the bench from point guard Jordan Clarkson, who has been able to ignore trade rumor distractions.
"I'm just hooping to be honest with you," Clarkson told the Orange County Register after the game. "If I'm here, I'm going to help them win games, impact how I can. If I'm not, it is what it is."
Lakers point guard Tyler Ennis, who didn't play against the Knicks last month, will likely continue to start at point guard. He has been performing well before passing the baton to Clarkson for long stretches.
Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 31 points in a 117-115 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday that kept New York from dropping six games below .500 for the first time this season. He was 6 for 7 from 3-point range and New York shot 11 of 20 as a team.
"I liked the effort," New York coach Jeff Hornacek told Newsday. "We just have to continue to be smart. We got to continue to be stronger, continue to be aggressive."
Lakers rookie forward Nigel Hayes, who signed a training-camp deal with the Knicks before spending the entire season in the G League, signed a 10-day contract with the Lakers earlier this week. He did not play in his first game in uniform Friday night.