NBA Draft 2016: Simulating Lakers’ Lottery Chances in Week 6


Simulating and analyzing the Lakers’ chances of winning the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery and keeping their pick

Whether Byron Scott will choose to admit it or do anything to help the process along, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a huge rebuilding project. That’s been evident with two lottery picks in the past two NBA Drafts that turned into Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, respectively.

However, the rebuild is far from over as the development of those young players is key right now. If that’s happening or not is an entirely different issue in its own right, but developing a core of players for the future is one of the chief concerns for the Lakers this season. Arguably, the other major focus of the Lakers is the 2016 NBA Draft and what will happen with their first-round pick.

At 3-18, it’s really no secret at this point that the Lakers are going to be in the lottery. However, as the Lakers’ first-round pick belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers if it falls outside of the top-three. With a prospect from a loaded draft class likely being at stake, it’s safe to say that the Lakers front office and the fans desperately want to keep that pick and add another high-end prospect, be that Ben Simmons, Skal Labissiere, or someone else. 

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Subsequently, it seemed like a good idea to simulate the NBA Draft Lottery process and do so throughout the season to see what happens with the Lakers pick. Does the No. 1 overall pick fall to Los Angeles? Do they have to settle for No. 2? Do they even get to pick in the first round at all?

These are all questions that will plague Lakers fans all season long, especially if the losses continue to pile up. Therefore, this will be a weekly simulation of the draft lottery. I ran 100 simulations using the lottery simulator at and recorded the results as to what happens with the Lakers pick, meaning where it falls, if they keep it, and so on.

As records and lottery chances stand on Tuesday, Dec. 8, this is what happened in these simulations in regards to the Lakers pick:

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As you can see, the Lakers keep their picks 64 percent of the time. Though that’s almost two-thirds of the simulations, that still leaves a lot of room for error that has to make Lakers fans just a bit uncomfortable.

Moreover, one thing seems to be pretty clear from these simulations: if the Lakers do keep their pick, it’s almost surely not going to be the No. 1 pick. In the 64 sims that Los Angeles kept their pick, 78.1 percent of those simulations ended with the Lakers having the second or third picks in the draft. If you assume that Ben Simmons is the consensus No. 1 pick, that doesn’t bode well for the Lakers’ chances to actually grab him.

Next: Lakers GIF Report Card: Week 6

Obviously these simulations aren’t the final word or even the definitive way that things would play out, but it does give a good indication of where the Lakers are in terms of the 2016 NBA Draft. As the season wears on, we’ll see if there’s more hope going forward in this regard or if things only continue to look more pessimistic.