Depending on your point of view, this Lakers’ season has either been seriously stressful or rather relaxing. If you live and die with every Lakers loss, this would have been a very difficult year for you. If you expected this year’s squad to disappoint then you likely have been able to enjoy the season with the realization that every loss brings this team closer to a top-3 draft pick. With only seven games remaining, it is of utmost importance for the Lakers to lose out over this final stretch.
The final seven games for the Lakers includes six games against current playoff teams and one game against the Utah Jazz. If you’re a member of “Team Tank” than this is the best case scenario. More than likely, the Lakers won’t be able to win any of these games against playoff teams, unless they choose to rest players. The Utah Jazz are currently two games behind the Lakers for last place, and have a more forgiving schedule down the stretch. If the Lakers can manage to lose that game, they would be giving themselves a better shot at entering that top-5 pick range.
What an absolute shift one year can create. Last season at this time, the Lakers were fighting for their playoff lives, knowing that missing the playoffs would not only be the biggest failure in franchise history, but there wouldn’t have been a lottery pick at the end of the road to soften the blow. This season, I’m writing about the Lakers chances of losing out and how it actually benefits them for the upcoming draft lottery.
Right now, the Lakers sit at 25-50 and that is good for the 6th worse mark in the NBA. For those of you unfamiliar with the draft lottery, it works like this: Each team is given a certain amount of ping pong ball combinations that increase with how poorly you finished the season. But the ping pong balls aren’t only for the #1 pick, they apply to the top 3 picks. For example, as the 6th worst team right now, the Lakers have a 6.3% chance at the #1 pick, 7.1% for the #2 pick, and a 8.1% chance for the #3 pick. The Lakers would not be eligible for the #’s 4 and 5 pick, and they would have a 43.9% chance at the #6 pick, a 30.5% chance at the #7 pick, a 4% chance at the #8 pick, and a .1% chance at the #9 seed.
Those odds aren’t very favorable at landing a top pick, and the Lakers can end up as low as the 9th position, which could potentially be too far to take one of the high potential players. With each spot the Lakers move down in the rankings, they increase their odds at a better pick and lower the possible range of their pick as well.
With news coming out today that the Lakers are considering holding out Pau Gasol for the remainder of the year, it would make sense that the front office is embracing the tank. The Lakers can’t afford to fall any further back in the lottery and can only benefit from losing more games. This team will likely end as the worst in Los Angeles Lakers’ history, but the reward of a top lottery pick is more than enough to comfort Lakers fans.
The end of the season is basically opposite world for the Lakers. Losses are actually wins, and wins are actually losses. With only seven games left, Team Tank needs to be in full effect.