The Lakers (12-27) are in 14th place in the Western Conference, just one game behind the Jazz (13-26), who they will play Friday night in Utah.
The benefit from an awful season is typically a high draft pick, but the Lakers owe their 2015 first-rounder to the Phoenix Suns, with the caveat that it is top-five protected -- meaning the Lakers won't keep their pick if it falls within six through 30.
According to gambling website Bovada, the Lakers have 5/7 odds of finishing the season with a bottom-five record.
The Pistons have won nine of their last 10, surging after cutting forward Josh Smith from the roster. Meanwhile, the Celtics have dealt away veterans such as Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, partially to improve their NBA draft lottery odds, while adding draft considerations for the future via trade.
The Lakers are a longshot to finish with the worst overall record (Bovada gives 7-1 odds), and there's still a very reasonable chance the team will lose their pick this year to the Suns. If not, the Lakers will owe their 2016 first-rounder, this time with top-three protection.
Another concern for the Lakers -- even if they do finish in 26th place, they still have to get through the NBA's draft lottery May 19. The fifth-worst team only has a 44.8% chance of dropping to sixth, seventh or eighth. Of course, the Lakers might actually win the lottery, with 29.2% odds of jumping to a top-three pick.
Meanwhile, Coach Byron Scott and his players are doing everything they can to win games -- albeit with limited success.