The Lakers have lost six straight games, dropping to 13th place in the Western Conference.
Injuries have derailed the team, specifically at the point guard position where recent signee Kendall Marshall is expected to start Friday night against the Utah Jazz -- instead of Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Xavier Henry (knee).
Once it becomes clear that a team won't make the playoffs, down becomes up as the standings reverse.
The Lakers still have a lot of season to get healthy with hopes of climbing back into postseason contention, but at 13-19, the team may have a better chance at nearing the worst record overall.
With a strong 2014 draft class, with players such as Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Jabari Parker (Duke), Joel Embiid (Kansas), Julius Randle (Kentucky), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Dante Exum (Australia), the Lakers are gaining on the "first-place" 7-25 Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee, who just beat the Lakers on Wednesday at Staples Center, may be too far gone for the ninth-place (in lottery terms) Lakers to catch.
The lottery gives more combinations to teams with the lesser records, and thus a better chance at landing a young franchise player.
The Lakers are technically tied with the fellow, former title contender Boston Celtics, behind three teams tied at 11-21 (Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets).
The New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings have 10-21 records while the Jazz (11-24), Orlando Magic (10-22) and Bucks round out the bottom.
The Knicks and Nets have no first-round picks in 2014, traded away for star power that hasn't exactly paid off this season. Both teams have incentive to climb into the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
The Lakers have a long way to go to catch the Bucks in the Bizarro standings, but injuries have put the franchise in the mix for a serious lottery pick.
While the Lakers have done their best not to tank the season, so far it's happening organically.