Lakers FYI: Trying to stay on top of what's happening at bottom

Lakers FYI: Trying to stay on top of what's happening at bottom
Lakers center Jordan Hill is averaging career-highs in points (12.4) and rebounds (8) this season. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

These are important games coming up for the Lakers, but not for the usual reason this time of year.

Fans can safely resist the instinctive quick check of the schedule to see who's left to play and where the Lakers might be seeded in the Western Conference playoffs.


The next two games are significant only because of lottery position.

The Lakers (17-49) play suddenly resurgent Utah (30-36) and then, a big one, Philadelphia (15-52). Both are at Staples Center.

The Lakers currently own the NBA's fourth-worst record and are on track to stay at least that bad, holding a 2 1/2-game "lead" over fifth-worst Orlando.

Can they stumble further in the regular season, helping their lottery odds? Right now, the Lakers hold a 10.4% chance of winning the No. 1 pick at the May 19 lottery.

The 76ers have the NBA's third-worst record and a 15.6% chance at the top pick, followed by Minnesota (14-52, 19.9% chance) and New York (14-53, 25%).

The Lakers play the 76ers again later this month in Philadelphia and still have two games against Minnesota. They complete the season with back-to-back games against almost-as-futile Sacramento (22-44) next month.

Of course, the Lakers, if unlucky, could still be passed by some teams on lottery night. If that happens and they get knocked out of the top five spots, they forfeit their top-five-protected pick to Philadelphia, which acquired it last month from Phoenix.

In other words, anything is still possible.

More medical news

Forward Wesley Johnson was diagnosed with a sprained right elbow but planned to keep playing, the Lakers said Tuesday…. Reserve guard Ronnie Price was supposed to undergo a procedure to repair a broken nose Tuesday but changed his mind at the last minute. He was already done for the season because of elbow surgery.

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan