Lakers sit in sixth lottery position, with room to climb

The 2013-14 regular season will come to a close Wednesday.

With a record of 25-54, the Lakers stand in 25th place overall, which translates to sixth in the NBA's draft lottery standings.

On May 20, the league will randomly select the top-three picks by lottery.  Teams that do not win are slotted four through 14, in order of worst records.

Should teams finish the season with identical records, the NBA turns to coin flips to break any ties.

The Lakers have three games remaining: Sunday against the playoff contending Memphis Grizzlies (47-32), Monday in Utah against the Jazz (24-55) and Wednesday at San Antonio to face the Western Conference-leading Spurs (62-18).

If the Lakers do not win another game, they'll finish the year at 25-57.

The Jazz, by virtue of beating the Lakers on Monday, would climb to 25 wins.  Utah also visits the Denver Nuggets (35-44) on Saturday and the Minnesota Timberwolves (40-39) on Wednesday.

If the Jazz can get a win against the Nuggets or Wolves, with the Lakers losing out, Utah would drop to sixth in the lottery, with the Lakers moving to five.

The Boston Celtics (24-55) are one win away from joining the Lakers and Jazz at 25 wins, if the Lakers lose out.

Boston still plays in Cleveland against the Cavaliers (32-48) and in Philadelphia against the struggling 76ers (17-62). The Celtics will also host the Washington Wizards (41-38) on Wednesday in a game that may have no playoff implications for the postseason-bound Wizards.

If both the Celtics and Jazz win two of three, with the Lakers dropping all three, the Lakers would climb to fourth in the lottery.

The Orlando Magic (23-56) are slotted third with three to play. They'll visit the Brooklyn Nets (43-36), Chicago Bulls (47-32) and Indiana Pacers (54-26).

The only way the Lakers can eclipse the Magic is by finishing with 25 wins while Orlando wins all three, which is an unlikely scenario against three of the four best teams in the East.

The Magic are probably out of the Lakers' range, but there's a real chance the Lakers, Celtics and Jazz all finish the year tied at 25 wins (fourth through sixth in the lottery).

If so, the league would give each of the three franchises an even 90 combinations and equal odds of 9% to win the top overall pick in the lottery.

If the Lakers do go on a winning streak to end the season, the only team they have to worry about are the Sacramento Kings (27-52). The Kings visit the Clippers (55-24) followed by two at home against the Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns (47-32).

The Lakers would need to win two to tie the Kings, assuming Sacramento doesn't win again.

The mathematical range of possible picks for the Lakers heading into the final five days of the season is technically one through 10, although the odds of the Lakers dropping to nine or 10 are minuscule.


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

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