Clippers' climb could cost Lakers a second-round draft pick

Where the Clippers finish in the standings will determine if the Lakers will have a second-round draft pick

The Clippers have won six straight games to climb to 48-25 and into fourth place overall in the Western Conference. Only the Atlanta Hawks (55-17) can boast a better record in the East.

Where the Clippers finish in the standings has direct implications for the Lakers and the 2015 NBA draft.

The Lakers, via the Jeremy Lin trade with the Houston Rockets, will receive the Clippers' second-round pick, but only if it falls exactly in the 51-55 range.

Based on the standings as of Saturday morning, the Clippers would be in line for the 56th pick, which instead of going to the Lakers would go to the Denver Nuggets to complete the 2009 trade for Cheikh Samb (who was originally drafted by the Lakers in 2006), because that deal gives the Nuggets the Clippers' pick if it's in the 56-60 range.

The Clippers originally sent their second-round pick only if it was in the 51-55 range to the Toronto Raptors for Hassan Adams. That pick was then conveyed by Toronto to Houston for David Andersen, and then to the Lakers for Lin. Neither Adams, Anderson nor Samb is currently in the league.

The Lakers may have four selections in June's draft, but only if they keep their own first-round pick, which will go to Philadelphia 76ers, via the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash, if it's not in the top five.

In addition to their own second-rounder -- which won't go to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard, as the terms of that deal would have otherwise dictated, because the Lakers have top-40 protection -- the Lakers will also receive the Rockets' first-round pick, which currently projects to be 27th overall.

The Lakers just need the Clippers to dip slightly in the standings to receive that protected second-rounder.

Currently the Portland Trail Blazers (46-25), San Antonio Spurs (46-26), Cleveland Cavalier (47-27) and Dallas Mavericks (45-28) are somewhat in range of the Clippers.

The Lakers need just one of those teams to overtake the Clippers, provided the Clippers don't catch the Rockets (49-23) or Memphis Grizzlies (50-23).

In the case of identical records at season's end, the Clippers' selections would fall to a tiebreaker, which if the Clippers won, would give them a higher pick in the first round but a lower pick in the second.

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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