Lakers jockeying with Suns for draft position

The Lakers had a chance to close the gap between themselves and the Phoenix Suns, and position themselves to at least tie for the second-worst record in the NBA entering Sunday’s game.

Their 110-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves kept them 11/2 games better than the Suns, who also won on Sunday.

The Timberwolves are 24-57 while the Lakers are 25-55 and on a four-game winning streak.


The Suns are the Lakers’ only threat for lottery positioning and they could still catch them.

Phoenix beat the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, and is 24-57. They have one game left in the season.

If the Lakers lose their last two games and the Suns lose their last game, Phoenix will finish with the second-worst record in the NBA and Los Angeles will finish with the third-worst.

That will give the Lakers about a 47% chance to get a lottery pick in the top three in next month’s draft lottery.

If the Lakers’ first first-round pick falls out of the top three they will surrender it to the Philadelphia 76ers and they will also have to give up an unprotected 2019 first-round pick to the Orlando Magic.

If their pick remains in the top three, they will give next year’s first-round pick to Philadelphia and two second-round picks to Orlando.

Curtain call

Back when Metta World Peace was first a Laker, playing on a team trying to repeat as champions, fans often booed when it seemed he was ready to shoot the ball.

“A lot of people don’t understand,” World Peace said. “You miss but you gotta keep shooting. Lot of fans on the professional level. Lot of fans don’t have the pressure. I knew when I was in the Finals I would miss a lot of shots but if I didn’t keep shooting we wouldn’t have had a chance.

“They used to boo. I’d hear that [stuff]. For me I don’t care. I’m gonna continue to shoot as long as I’m on the … floor. You just never know which one’s gonna go in.”

On Sunday fans heartily cheered World Peace’s shooting opportunities. Lakers coach Luke Walton seeks opportunities to play World Peace these days.

World Peace will get what could be a curtain call on Tuesday at Staples Center. It will be the Lakers’ last home game of the season and could be his last at Staples — at least in a Lakers uniform.

“They love him for what he is, for what he’s done for this franchise,” Walton said. “His shot was looking good. Leaving his hands it was looking like it was going in tonight. He took a couple rushed ones that he was quick to come to the bench and apologize for, but for the most part those were all good shots. It’s awesome the standing ‘O’ he gets, I’m looking forward to hearing. I can only imagine Tuesday’s game when he gets out there is going to be loud.”

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli