The Los Angeles Lakers won a surprisingly exciting overtime game against the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night, but it actually hurt the team long term.
Due to the disastrous Steve Nash trade, the Lakers won’t have their first-round draft pick this season unless it lands in the top five of the draft lottery. If the pick is outside the top five, it will go to the 76ers, courtesy of a trade with the Suns.
With the Lakers’ Monday night win, they’re dangerously close to falling into the fifth spot — which would greatly increase the odds that they lose their pick.
Here are the six worst teams in the NBA by record:
- New York Knicks, 14-60, 46.5 games back
- Minnesota Timberwolves, 16-58, 44.5 games back
- Philadelphia 76ers, 18-57, 43 games back
- Los Angeles Lakers, 20-53, 40 games back
- Orlando Magic, 22-52, 38.5 games back
- Sacramento Kings, 26-47, 34 games back
With nine games remaining, the Lakers have the fourth-worst record. They are three games behind the 76ers for the third-worst record and a game and a half ahead of the Magic for the fifth-worst record.
The NBA’s draft lottery odds create a significant difference between getting a top-five pick if a team is the fourth spot versus the fifth spot.
According to the odds from the NBA, the fourth-worst team has an ~81% chance of getting a top-five pick, while the fifth-worst team has a ~57% chance. If the Lakers were to somehow end up with the sixth-worst record in the NBA, their chances of getting a top-five pick would diminish to 21.5%.
In short, finishing with a better record than the Magic will give the Lakers a ~43% chance of losing their draft pick, while there will only be a ~19% chance if they remain with the fourth-worst record.
The Lakers have slogged through a miserable season. With Kobe Bryant entering the final year of his contract in 2016, the popular belief is they attempt to make a quick turnaround this summer with an NBA-ready lottery pick and the $US30 million in cap space they’re projected to have.
However, winning more games this season puts the Lakers in serious jeopardy of losing their lottery pick, one of the most valuable assets in today’s NBA.
Lakers fans are hoping the Lakers lose out. As Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll tweeted, the Lakers are trending in the wrong direction:
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