After 50th loss, Lakers in 6th position for NBA draft lottery
The Lakers lost their 50th game of the season on Wednesday night, falling 107-102 to the Sacramento Kings (27-48).
Given the Lakers (25-50) have been long eliminated from the playoffs, the worse they do in the standings, the higher their position in the May 20 NBA draft lottery.
The Kings’ victory on Wednesday put them two games “behind” the Lakers in the lottery standings, with Sacramento in seventh place. The Lakers play seven more games, six against teams in playoff contention.
As long as the Lakers don’t go on a significant winning streak, they should be safe at their current position in the lottery, at No. 6.
The Milwaukee Bucks (14-61), Philadelphia 76ers (16-59) and Orlando Magic (21-54), the three teams likely to take the top positions in the lottery, are out of the Lakers’ range.
For the Lakers to catch the Utah Jazz (23-52) and/or Boston Celtics (23-52), both teams will need to win at least two more games. The Celtics are set to play the 76ers twice. The Lakers visit the Jazz on April 14.
Any additional Lakers’ victories could push the fourth and fifth slots out of range, if it’s not already too late.
The lottery odds for the fourth, fifth and sixth positions are as follows:
Fourth: 11.9% (1st), 12.6% (2nd), 13.3% (3rd), 9.9% (4th), 35.1% (5th), 16.0% (6th), 1.2% (7th)
Fifth: 8.8% (1st), 9.7% (2nd), 10.7% (3rd), 0.0% (4th), 26.1% (5th), 36.0% (6th), 8.4% (7th), 0.4% (8th)
Sixth: 6.3% (1st), 7.1% (2nd), 8.1% (3rd), 0.0% (4th), 0.0% (5th), 43.9% (6th), 30.5% (7th), 4.0% (8th), 0.1% (9th)
Only the top three selections are decided by the lottery, after which teams are slotted by record, worst to best. In the sixth position, the Lakers wouldn’t have any chance to draft fourth or fifth.
The Lakers would have a 37.8% chance at a top-three pick at four, 29.2% at five and 21.5% at six.
The scenarios get complicated by two- or three-team ties. The lottery combinations would be split between the tied franchises, with one or more coin flip determining the order before the actual drawing.
A three-team tie would give the Lakers, Celtics and Jazz a 9% chance each at the top overall pick. A two-team tie at five and six would give the coin-flip winner a 7.5% chance and the loser a 7.6% chance at the top pick.
The winner of the flip would finish ahead of the loser if neither lands a top-three selection in the lottery. The future of the franchise could literally be determined by a coin toss.
The draft is scheduled for June 26. The pool isn’t set but the top prospects could include Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein, Australia’s Dante Exum, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis, among others.
A higher draft pick might prove to be a valuable trade asset should the Lakers look to move their selection after the draft for an established veteran such as Minnesota’s Kevin Love or Boston’s Rajon Rondo.
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