How Lucky Will the Lakers Be?

Darius Soriano —  May 20, 2014

Lakers’ beat writer for ESPN LA, Dave McMenamin told a great story once about the lottery. Back when the annual drawing of lottery balls was held in Secaucus, New Jersey and Dave worked for, he was covering the event. When he went into the bathroom he encountered none other than Jerry West, The Logo, who was washing his hands. Making some small talk, the beat writer asked the executive how he was doing. West’s answer?

“Terrible. This is a celebration of losers.”

Classic Jerry West.

Tonight, the yearly celebration of losers retakes center stage. The teams who did not qualify for the playoffs will be sweating it out as the draft order of the first 14 picks is determined. The Lakers will be one of those teams hoping to have luck shine upon them.

They are certainly not used to this.

Since the inception of the “lottery” in 1985, the Lakers have only appeared at this event two other times. Both years they picked 10th, selecting Eddie Jones (1994) and Andrew Bynum (2005). This is the first time the team will select in the top 10 since the team selected James Worthy #1 overall in 1982. As a tie-in to that pick, the Lakers are sending Big Game James to represent them when the results are unveiled.

As you all know, the Lakers are currently slotted to pick 6th overall. Whether they stay there or not will depend on those lottery balls:

As the odds above state, the Lakers have roughly a 21% chance of jumping into the top 3 picks. They have much better chances — about 74% — of drafting either 6th or 7th. The odds, then, favor the team standing pat or moving down a slot much more than they do them jumping into the top 3*. It’s those slim chances, however, that will have all of us tuned in to see the results.

How lucky will the Lakers be?

Tonight we will find out. My guess? I think the Lakers either stay at six or move up to number two. My reasoning for this is scientific and involves a complicated algorithm. When playing for the Lakers, James Worthy wore #42: 4 + 2 = 6 while 4 – 2 = 2. There you have it.

Enjoy the “celebration” tonight, you guys. Hopefully, like the other times the Lakers have been at this event, they won’t make another appearance for at least another decade or so.

*Some are likely wondering why the Lakers have a zero percent chance of drafting 4th or 5th. The reason is that the lottery only determines the top 3 choices with the rest of the draft order being slotted accordingly. The Lakers, then, can only select at picks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, or 9. And just as the Lakers can move up because of the lottery, if teams slotted to draft behind them jump up the Lakers will then fall. This is why the odds are so low that the team will actually pick 9th. Three teams slotted to draft behind them would all have to move up into the top 3, pushing everyone else down three slots. 

Darius Soriano

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65 responses to How Lucky Will the Lakers Be?

  1. I say number 3. If we get no1 everyone will say how rigged the NBA is, but number 3 will be just enough to throw off the masses and still give the Lakers a top talent. No way it’s decided by a computer, NBA is more rigged than WWE.

  2. I’m predicting an outcry of “conspiracy theory”!!!!….Lakers get the #1 pick of the draft

  3. Good luck Lakers…

  4. I am predicting the Bill Sharman bobble head will not make it to the event.

    There is none.

  5. Lottery: We are due for some luck – We will see.

    Worthy: Speaking of James, he firmly endorses Byron Scott. The war of attrition is taking place. Scott will be there after the others fall away. Watch the video from back in the day in the second link.

    Heat/Spurs: Well it appears as though most would prefer either Indiana or OKC, but that is simply not going to happen. So picking from the two teams who have a chance: If you root for the Heat and they win. You must watch this video 10 times:
    LeBron – A Man Built for Mt Rushmore
    If on the other hand you root for the Spurs and they win. you must watch these “videos” 10 times:
    The San Antonio Spurs – The Team That Spans Generations Like No Other
    LeBron – A Man Built for Mt Rushmore (this video will be created no matter what)

    I do agree with those that point out that Wade is a Punk, and I have said so multiple times on this board.
    Such is our existence that we have to choose between two evils.

  6. darius: and some said the new math was for the birds: 4 x 2 = 8 – deritive of 4 + 2 = 2.

    Go lakers

  7. Such is our existence that we have to choose between two evils.

    The proverbial rock and the hard place. Breathe deep.

    I am trying to not buy into the gamblers fallacy, but I like “lucky spot #6! I’ll be wearing my collectors purple and gold Mexican poncho and breathing deeply.

  8. I’m sorry in advance, but the Lakers have been historically good and lucky for so long that #9 at 0.1% would not surprise me a bit. Regression to the mean.

    @Robert – If that LBJ video is inevitable for the making as you suggest, I will host a good old fashioned book burning modernized to include DVDs.

  9. I really hope they don’t trade the pick for Love.
    I think you’re right back in the position where he’s wondering about staying because of what’s around him. Make the right pick and you’ll have guys wanting to play with him.
    If we could get the #1, and take Wiggins great. Just no Embiid. With the way the rules are now,
    a big just isn’t as valuable as it used to be. If he was the second coming of Shaq, than fine, but he isn’t. No Jabari Parker either. Too much Melo in him. My #1 guy has to play both ends of the floor. I’ll roll the dice on Wiggins or Exum, and would settle for Randle.


  10. the other Stephen May 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you for that refreshing bit of math, Darius. Well, as we all know, the answer to life, the universe, and everything is…42.

  11. I agree with the first poster, #3 feels right for some reason. High enough to get Exum without it looking like too much of a reach.

    Ko, I’m just wondering, how can the lakers “go heavily after Love”? All they have is this 1 draft pick and no pick next year. What, are we going to though in Sacre to sweeten the pot? Every other team mentioned seems to have so much more to offer…

  12. posting here for good luck

  13. Thanks fir editing. Sorry I have a low tolerance for phony posts.

  14. It’s the seventh pick for the Lakers.

  15. Another pipe dream up in smoke.

    Look up the results last week on the player from UCLA. Off the charts.

  16. Damn it.

  17. Well that season was worth it then. What a god damn joke.

  18. Are you kidding me?! Cavs win the lottery AGAIN

  19. That’s a real gut punch. The horrific cavs get rewarded AGAIN with the #1 pick. We’re sorry Lebron left, but enough. They’ve blown every pick but kyrie.

    Meanwhile the Lakers get buried. Hope that win on the last game of the season was worth it for everyone year.

  20. Good thing we swept the Celtics this year and there was that awesome win against the Spurs at the end of the year! So, if we could somehow swing this pick into Love…go for it.

  21. What this shows is that silly theory of tanking is for losers. Playing the lotto is stupid. Spend the darn money, get the best players out there and play every game to win. Anytime you relay on luck you end up losing.

  22. As I said the second to last game of the season after another needless victory…. “This now was a wasted year”

  23. Ko:

    Thank you … I have been preaching for Zach LaVine and feeling like no one is listening. I’m telling you he is the guy. Remember the bums drafted before Kobe and Dirk? Exum, Gordon and LaVine those are the players in this draft. I have heard only one guy mention it a few months a go but it was Gordon who was MVP of the USA under 19 team. A lot of the guys in this draft were on that team and Gordon was easily the best player.

    Exum is versatile and capable of playing and making an impact right away. LaVine is off the charts with his potential and athleticism.

  24. The “fix”is in. Cleveland gets the #1 pick. San Antonio wins the 2014 NBA title. What in the world can do the Lakers do with the 7th pick?

  25. The Lakers didn’t tank hard enough. What’s the difference as a fan if they went 19-63 or 27-55? Why were we playing hard against Boston? Why did we try in the last game of the season? Why were we allowing Nash on the court at all. We should have been playing Marshall 48 minutes a game. Smells to me like a front office with no plan

  26. the other Stephen May 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm


  27. Disappointing to be sure, but it is what it is. The object remains the same though, turn the pick into an asset. Either a good young player or a trade chip.

  28. A celebration of losers indeed Logo. A Laker fan that celebrate this night, needs to get his head checked. Loved the Worthy “algorhitm” lol. Even if we do great on this “loserry” i be happy but i will still have this feeling of humilliation and shame deep down. I hope we dont have to be here in a long time, and if you like the concept of being bad for several years to “build” thru the draft, go and root for the Bucks or the Cavs since that has worked out so good for them, for every OKC lucky story there have been 20 horror ones, thats never is going to be the Lakers way. GO LAKERS!!!!

  29. “This is the good news Lakers fans… Mike D’Antoni can’t hurt you anymore. This was the last time.”
    – Max Kellerman

  30. So we drop from our number 6 spot to 7.

    Once again I long for the days when we were “6th”

    This is clearly all Jim’s fault. All those hats- does he even have a lucky hat?

  31. Best case–Exum makes it known he’ll refuse to sign with anyone but the Lakers. Second-best case: Smart. Consolation prize: LaVine.

    It’s a guard’s league these days. Those three are the best options out there, since no one’s going to want the #7 in a trade for anything except last night’s leftovers.

    Maybe I’m putting the best face on it I can right now, but picking seventh in a seriously stacked draft takes a lot of pressure off whoever gets picked by the Lakers. Imagine if Wiggins struggles against NBA players, or if Embiid’s back really is a problem. Meanwhile, Mitch and company can lay back and select the evergreen “best player available”.

  32. Any chance we do a draft day trade for exum if we throw in our pick and another of our players on a S&T like Hill etc. Is that viable?

  33. Number 7 huh? That algorithm didnt work, i call shenanigans!!!! I imagine its Jim Buss fault too. No matter since this draft its so deep or so been said we still could get a nice player, preferably a pg. I imagine exum is out of reach bit sometime the Draft works in mysterious ways. We’ll see…

  34. We don ‘t own Hill. Benny Hill maybe!

  35. Fern: You and I agree on Byron – let’s just hope we get that.
    Aaron: Mike D’Antoni helped lose DH so he continues to hurt us.
    Jim Buss: Luck is part of it. And he has none

  36. Embiid bad back has bust written all over it. A 7th pick on a “loaded” draft like this one is not bad at all. Im fine with it. Is not like we are drafting the next Kobe, Worthy or Magic anyways. I always been saying that i be happy if we draft the next AC Green, well he was drafted 23rd and he was a great piece for those Showtime teams, so we have a opportunity to draft a better player than him.

  37. Marcus smart is the way to go, need someone who is physically ready and has an edge. He reminds me of Dwayne wade.

  38. The cavs having the top pick in consecitive years and for tue 4th time in 10 years is a load of crap im sorry is the NBA triying to prop up a mediocre owner like Gilbert? I hope they get a good rookie like Bennett, they keep blowing draft picks and keep getting the top pick, something smells hereis the league triying to make it up to them bc Lebron left that dump?

  39. Well that sucked. Really disappointing after enduring this season and especially since this crappy system got me hoping for losses to improve draft position. Luckily this is a deep draft so the Lakers can still get a good player.

  40. Makes you wonder. For the Mensa that keeps using other’s names( last one not me) how small can one’s life be?

    Oh well.

  41. Maybe we can get Gordon @ 7. I doubt it but if he is there we need to take him.

  42. Who will we get at #7?

  43. Some of the commenters on this site are lamenting the Lakers’ number 7 slot as if Kobe just suffered another career-threatening injury. This is silly. It should stop. Number 7 is an excellent place in the draft. There are any number of outstanding athletes who could be available at that spot, namely the following:

    Marcus Smart
    Aaron Gordon
    Doug McDermott
    Cleanthony Early
    Noah Vonleh

    All of these are terrific athletes. Any of these could be fine. Perhaps it would be helpful to look at some recent past history — other draft picks from prior years who were chosen #7 or later:

    Michael Carter-Williams (Rookie of the Year) – 11

    Harrison Barnes – 7
    Andre Drummond – 9

    Klay Thompson – 11
    Kawhi Leonard – 15
    Nikola Vucevic – 16
    Kenneth Faried – 22
    Chandler Parsons – 2nd Round, 8
    Isaiah Thomas – 2nd Round, 30

    Greg Monroe – 7
    Gordon Hayward – 9
    Eric Bledsoe – 18

    Stephen Curry – 7
    Jordan Hill – 8
    Demar DeRozan – 9
    Darren Collison – 21
    Taj Gibson – 26
    Jodie Meeks – 2nd Round, 11

    If history teaches us anything, then, it’s that the list of excellent players will not be exhausted by the # 6 choice in the First Round. The Lakers are in good shape. They’ve just got to nail this draft pick. That’s all.

  44. Very good players will be available at the 7th pick. F.O. is going have to do more homework to find a gem though. Better luck with that I hope.

  45. Sigh. The best thing about the lottery show was the Bucks owner’s daughter. Super cutie.

    Don’t draft “best player available.” Draft for most upside. To me that means elite athleticism. Gordon and or LaVine are likely still available. Both will require development and both have a strong chance to become high level players. Gordon probably the safer pick of the two as he is more physically mature and has Kawai Leonard like potential.

    I could see the Lakers taking Marcus Smart here as well. If he can improve his shot he could be a very good pick here. A much more NBA ready player than most, and already a tough guy.

    I don’t see trading down to garner a second first round pick as likely. More likely would be buying a second round pick from another team, as there are guys there who can make NBA rosters.

    The next step will the workouts for the Lakers and the other teams. Look for some to rise and some to fall in the projected order.

  46. Heard very little about Lakers pursuing Stephenson who is non restricted this summer. Should be on Lakers radar. We need players!

  47. #7 for us. #sigh
    this is done so must accept it now. i hope we can get a good player with this, its still in the top 10 anyways… 🙁
    who can we get for 7 pick? (#sigh this is really sad we did not crack the top 5).

  48. Maybe if the Lakers had won a few more games they would have earned the Cavs’ luck. 😉

    Number 7 may end up being the lucky pick. You never know, so no sense crying until that pick has a chance to make their mark in the league.

  49. People whinning about that “horrible” 7th pick should read Mid-Wilshire excellent comment above.

  50. As much as I would have liked to pick higher, 7th ain’t bad. Vonleh can be really, really good. Smart is fine. I know the kid from Creighton did well in the agility tests. Not quite the athlete that Dirk was, and not as tall. I’m not that excited about him. Drafting LeVine at the 7 spot seems a waste. If the Lakers like him then they might trade down. There are things about Gordon I like. So, for me A) Vonleh B) Smart C) Gordon D) trade down and develop LeVine E) McDermott

  51. Im ok with the result. The thing to remember is somebody always drops. I have a feeling Vonleh will be gone and Randle will be there. I’m down with the Smart pick though and think he’ll be a better pro than college player. I also expect Nik Stauskas to rise and be in play at 7.

  52. 2013
    Michael Carter-Williams (Rookie of the Year) – 11
    huh? wasn’t it Lilliard @ 6th who was ROY 2012-2013 season?

    anyway, the point of Mid-Wilshire’s post is well taken.

  53. I think Lillard went at #6 and was 2012-2013 ROY.

    Otherwise, Mid-Wilshire’s point is well taken.

  54. About Mid’s excellent post, most of those picks were on drafts less talented than this “deep” one until i see this kids play with the pros i will not be convinced of the depth of this draft, shoot, when Lebron got drafted i wasnt sold on him until i saw him play. I seen too many busts to be sold on any draftee until he proves he can go.

  55. I don’t see anyone selling 2nd round picks anymore unless they are really towards the end of the 2nd round and even then because of the way that new GMs are forcing 2nd round picks to sign 5 yr deals with multiple team options it might be hard to get one …. looking at the new mock drafts i’m really surprised that some guys arent even getting drafted

    If there is anyway to get additional 2nd round picks we need to do it ….. stupid nash trade …arrgggg

  56. Btw the projections on the guys in the Lakers range in the Draft are that whoever the Lakers pick should be a top 3 pick in a less talented draft, so thats something to chew on for the “doom n’ gloom club”

  57. Who knows if the 7th pick will end up being better than a top 3 pick, but one thing is certain…..the trade value of a top 3 pick dwarfs the trade value of a no. 7 pick.

    The only chance to land Love now is if he specifically states that the Lakers are the only team he would sign an extension with.

  58. @bryan S you are so right on the bucks owner’s daughter. Nice legs too.

    pick 7 isn’t so bad, this year, if it was last year we would be in trouble.
    Don’t trade it for Love for pete’s sake! pick teh player and work him into the system. I reckon a point guard would be perfect, Exum or Smart for mine

  59. Anonymous and r,

    I don’t mind the corrections. But I think you might be confusing the year in which a player was drafted with the year in which that player won ROY. For example, Lillard was drafted #6 in 2012 but was named Rookie of the Year in 2013. Similarly, M. Carter-Williams was drafted #11 in 2013 but was named ROY just recently (in 2014).

    This year’s draft will be the 2014 draft. The Rookie of the Year from this bunch will win his award in 2015 and so forth.

    But all of this quibbling over dates brings up a more important and interesting point: the last two Rookies of the Year were chosen #6 and #11 in their respective drafts, not #1 or #2 (or even #3).

    Who’s to say the Lakers won’t pick an outstanding player with their #7 choice? Could happen. They’ve just got to do their homework and be really smart about it (no pun intended).

  60. Anyone see Wade kneee George in the head …. he strikes again

  61. Players picked at #7 from 1980-2013:

    2013-Ben McLemore
    2008-Eric Gordon
    2007-Corey Brewer
    2006-Randy Foye
    2005-Charlie Villanueva
    2004-Luol Deng
    2003-Kirk Hinrich
    2001-Eddie Griffin
    2000-Chris Mihm

    The best guy taken at 7 since 1980 is probably Steph Curry or Chris Mullin.

  62. I was anon as well as R and I haven’t been drinking . Honest.

    In any event, Mid-Wilshire, you are spot on!

  63. 3rd pick:

    2013-Otto Porter
    2012-Bradley Beal
    2011-Enes Kanter
    2010-Derrick Favors
    2009-James Harden
    2008-OJ Mayo
    2007-Al Horford
    2006-Adam Morrison
    2005-Deron Williams
    2004-Ben Gordon
    2003-Carmelo Anthony
    2002-Mike Dunleavy Jr.
    2001-Pau Gasol

    The best #3 ever is of course Michael Jordan. Busts include Chris Washburn and Darius Miles.

  64. A idea that Darius pushed when the team was contending applies just as much as it does now. There is a process. We are not entitled to any sort of success, but we can all appreciate the process. Like any other fan of the team, I was hoping to win the top pick, mostly because I wanted to pull off a trade (to show my bias, I didn’t want a trade for Love, but rather an opportunity to trade down to nab two player. I would have wanted to see if the #1 would have nabbed us both Philly picks or both Orlando picks. Anyway, this is now moot). As it stands, we get to see what Mitch and the rest of the Lakers’ brass is thinking in terms of where the league is headed, what skills they value, and how they see the end of the Kobe era shaking down. We may get to see another great Laker develop into a player. I personally want a player that my kids can see play his first game and watch his journey from #7 pick in a deep draft to perhaps the best player in that class. If I thought the Lakers stand a real chance at competing for a championship in the next couple of years, I might think differently but that is not happening. Enjoy this process.