Lakers Coach Byron Scott: We’re not going to lose on purpose

Byron Scott coaches the Lakers against Indiana on Feb. 8.

Byron Scott coaches the Lakers against Indiana on Feb. 8.

(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Byron Scott has another message for Lakers followers who want them to lose.

Sorry, the team is going to keep trying to win.

For the second consecutive season, the Lakers’ draft pick will be surrendered if they fall below a certain spot in the May 17 lottery.

Last year, they had to finish with a top-five pick to keep it. They moved from fourth to second on lottery night and took D’Angelo Russell.


This year, the wiggle room is smaller. Their first-round pick is only top-three protected or else they have to surrender it because of the Steve Nash trade.

The Lakers (11-47) own the NBA’s second-worst record going into Wednesday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

If they stay in that position, they would have a 55.83% chance of keeping the pick on lottery night — a 19.9% shot at the No. 1 pick, 18.81% at No. 2 and 17.12% at the third pick.

It’s the second annual Lakers quandary — losing now helps them in the lottery later. But Scott doesn’t want to hear about it.

“You don’t go out there trying to lose basketball games,” he said Wednesday. “I think that’s a bad way to present that to your team, ‘We’re trying to lose so we can protect the top-three pick.’ That’s a bad omen to me.

“It sets a bad precedent to me, especially this organization and the people that’s been in this organization for a long time and understand what this organization is all about, we’ve never been like that and never will be. So I would never, even behind closed doors, tell my players, tell my coaches, tell my trainers or anybody that we were trying to lose games on purpose to protect the pick.”

Scott wasn’t quite done with his thought process.

“I’m not coaching, looking at the clock, going, ‘All right, man, if we can just turn it over a few more times and miss a few more shots, this game is in the bag as far as a loss is concerned.’ That’s not me,” he said. “We’re trying to win every game and trying to build something with the young guys that we have here.”

The Lakers are wedged between the worst team in the league, Philadelphia (8-48), and Phoenix (14-43). They play the Suns twice next month.