Happy Monday, everyone. Here are a few of the best Laker-centric reads, news and notes from around the web:
- THREEEE THAT’S THE MAGIC NUMBAH: At this juncture, it is safe to assume that the Lakers will not be earning a playoff berth this season, meaning the team’s odds of making a third consecutive trip to the NBA lottery are alive and well. Recently, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times took an early look into the the Lakers’ potential draft position and broke down three scenarios that can affect the team’s probability of keeping their oft-discussed top-three protected pick.
- WAIT SO, HE ISN’T PERFECT?: If the Lakers do indeed manage to retain their draft pick, the consensus top prize among pundits is LSU forward Ben Simmons. And while many don’t expect his chief spot among this year’s prospects to change come draft day, Jonathan Tjarks of The Cauldron notes that Simmons’ more significant flaws could raise questions of fit among a few lottery-bound teams.
- MANNING UP: After the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday (and that’s putting it kindly), Byron Scott proclaimed that the younger players were “scared” and “in awe” of OKC. As covered by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle disagreed.
- MORE MANNING UP: Also after Saturday’s loss, Drew Garrison of Silver Screen and Roll relays that Russell had some interesting postgame comments regarding Scott’s offensive system.
- WHERE’S THE MAGIC?: As has been noted, the Lakers fell to the Thunder on Saturday. This is nothing new. Here is something new: Magic Johnson was “speechless” after the loss.
- SWEET LOU: There appears to be one singular opinion on Byron’s decision to bench Russell and Randle in favor of Lou Williams and Larry Nance Jr. — it shouldn’t have been done. Regardless, the change has remained in place thus far and Carter Johnson of Hoops Habit believes Williams has quietly thrived in his newfound role.
- SCARED LOU: Oh and hey, apparently Lou Williams is also incredibly terrified of ghosts. Who knew?
- CAREFUL, KOBE: In case you missed it, Kobe threw down a vintage dunk over Houston Rockets center Clint Capela. That was fun. Yet so it happens, Kobe was sidelined for the following game against OKC with a sore right shoulder. And apparently, as Dan Feldman notes, the last three times Kobe has dunked, he’s missed the next game. Fittingly, Byron Scott says Kobe should save his next dunk for the final game of the season.
- DINNER DATE: Prior to Saturday’s game, Kobe and Kevin Durant were spotted having dinner in Oklahoma City. After the matchup, neither player felt compelled to reveal what was discussed over the evening but, as covered by ESPN’s Royce Young, Durant did heap praise on Kobe’s “epic” career.
- DEFENDER BEWARE: Durant also had this incredible crossover move that made Julius Randle look helpless. The league is a fun place when he’s healthy.
Lakers’ Schedule for the Week:
- The Lakers have a four game slate this week that includes a back-to-back set featuring a road matchup against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, December 22nd (6 p.m. PT, TWCSN) followed by a home game versus the Thunder on Wednesday, December 23rd (7:30 p.m. PT, TWCSN). The team then has a date with the Clippers on Christmas Friday (7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN and TWCSN) and closes out the week at Memphis to take on the Grizzlies on on Sunday, December 27th (3 p.m. PT, TWCSN), kicking off a three-game road trip.