For those keeping track — and, I know, all of you are keeping track — the Lakers are now 1.5 games “behind” the Suns for the 2nd worst record. Having two fewer losses and one more win than the Suns, it’s very likely the Lakers will get locked into the 3rd. After all, the Suns only play 3 more games (Thunder, Mavs, Kings) while the Lakers play 4 (Kings, Wolves, Pelicans, Warriors). If the Suns lose out, it’s over. And I think they lose out.
So, that’s that. I covered some of this when talking about the Lakers’ recent wins, but I also took to twitter with a couple of additional points about the lottery.
The odds breakdown which make up the 46.9% chance to stay in the top 3:
#3 pick: 15.6%
#2 pick: 15.7%
#1 pick: 15.6%
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) April 6, 2017
Said another way, odds Lakers draft #2 (15.7%) are not much worse than the odds the Suns draft 3rd (17.1%) or the Nets draft 3rd (17.8%).
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) April 6, 2017
None of this is to say the Lakers are better off in the 3rd spot than the 2nd. But, I do find it interesting that the odds the Lakers draft 2nd (or, for that matter 1st) are only 1.5% or 2% chance worse than if the Nets or Suns fall to 3rd too. Of course, there are scenarios which play into those odds that are not at all likely (the teams at 10 and 8 jumping to #1 and #2, etc, etc), but this is the math which goes into all this. And, again, it’s a lottery. We can’t control it anyway!
Getting back to today’s game, then, the Lakers should be full strength tonight against the Kings.
D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson are expected to play tonight.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 7, 2017
Russell sat out the Spurs and game and Clarkson left early after banging his knee into a defender, so it’s good they’re feeling good enough to play. Ingram remains on a minutes restriction, but he should get some good burn in despite that. After writing what I did above, some might argue there’s little to play for so why have these guys out there at all, but I disagree on two levels.
First — at least for Russell and Ingram — for guys still so young, any game experience is worthwhile. These guys have had good second halves of the year and I want them to get opportunities to build on that and then carry it forward to the summer. Positive affirmation of your game, even for kids with this much talent, still matters. Second, seeing these kids play is why I watch. When Russell sat out against the Spurs, it made me look forward to the game a bit less. If these kids are the future of the franchise, I want to see as much of them as possible just like I did with Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Kobe, Andrew Bynum, etc.
One final point. This season has been long. And it’s not gone as well as I think anyone would have liked. The fact that we are back here talking about lottery odds and keeping the top 3 protected pick and still wanting to get good looks at the young players tells me that this team didn’t make quite the step forward as a group that many wanted or expected. To be completely honest, I thought the Lakers losing the pick was a formality before the season started because I thought 28 wins was nearly a guarantee and, with some luck and things meshing well, I thought a total in the low 30’s was possible.
This team has 23 wins with 4 games left. I’d be lying if, just off that total, I didn’t have some disappointment — even if it’s only a small amount. That said, I like the direction the young players are going and remain intrigued by the Magic/Pelinka duo. I bring all this up because in about a week, there will be no more Lakers games for a while. And as much as this season has offered frustration and been a chore to go through (at times), I’m going to miss watching the team I root for. So, I’m going to enjoy these last games, no matter the result.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.
Craig W. says
No matter what else we may think, this the the ‘toy department’ of life and we enjoy it because we get to watch our team play. While we are not playing for any real prize at this time, we still get to see our guys compete.
The better the players on the floor do, the more information our management has about how these players might fit into our future. At the very least we can evaluate those we wish to trade and better determine their value.
It may be hard to watch some parts of the next four games, but I intend to try and follow each one.
“we still get to see our guys compete.”
Indeed. I’m a Laker fan of some 30+ years, and for me it’s ‘perty’ simple: a game won > a game lost. And if my team’s competing hard, making good or great plays, I’m stoked and pull hard for them to succeed. Period.
I guess I’d fall in the category of a casual fan here in 2017, as I am passionate about my team’s fortunes within the lines, but real ambivalent when it comes to their salary cap issues, ping pong ball luck/conspiracies, etc., i.e., things off the court that ‘my’ players can’t control.
I think the ESPN-ization of sports programming over the past couple of decades has turned me off towards those off-field issues, not that these issues are without weight or value.
So naturally :), I’m pulling for a 6-game win streak to put this ‘interesting’ season to bed. As Darius mentioned last night “I’m just gonna enjoy these guys”.
Chris J says
Does anyone know at what point the Lakers typically reveal the summer league roster? I expect Ingram and Zubac will be given the chance to play in Las Vegas, but I wonder if Russell and Randle, now with two full seasons on the court under their belts, will be left off the roster, as was Clarkson last summer following his second full year.
I, too, would like to see as many of these guys as possible get more time on the court together, hopefully with a new Top Three pick in the mix with whom they’ll need to get accustomed.
Admittedly, it’s a sad day in Lakerdom when it’s early April and we’re posing questions about summer league. Alas, brighter days to come…
No chance DAR or JR play SL. Ingram and Zubac are (the two have talked about wanting to “dominate SL”), almost certainly Nwaba. Ennis is possible. The pick(s). They could possibly beat any of our 2016-17 starting lineups.
I want to see BI, the emerging beast that’s taking it to Yannis and Kawhi, feast on green noobs his age. Ditto for Zubac. I’m also very high on Nwaba. With at least three players seasoned with heavy minutes since the All-Star break, the SL team will not all be learning a system, but observing and learning from the 2nd year players and team leaders. This could prove particularly valuable to the top-3 pick, assuming. And if it’s Josh Jackson, this could be the best defensive summer league team in history.
david h says
Thanks for that spin, I mean clarification on laker’s Lottery chances from the third position. Safe to say now, it’s not about the position, it’s about the player. Let’s see how lucky magic is.
I can understand and appreciate the effort the laker players and coaches will continue to provide through the remainder of this season. And I apologize if I came off hoping for lottery positioning while giving off the impression that the team Is no more important than chopped liver. This is our team today, as fans they deserve our respect.
For tanking fans, PHX is up 26 and the Lakers are down 13.
Luke starting the 4th with Tank lineup.
Tough night for the Tank Commandos.
I don’t care about the lottery, i don’t put my hopes in it if we keep that pick we will, if we don’t we dont, not the end of the world. We been REALLY fortunate we were able to keep it for 3 years. We have enough youth in the roster that losing that pick isn’t the catastrophe some people make it out to be. It’s a cautitionary tale for the new FO. Be more judicious with our future picks in future deals. Now that Houston first rounder looks pretty good. I liking what i seen this week. Growth, Ingram is going to be soooo good. He is starting to absorb contact on the way to the hole and he’s going to get so good at that as his body keep developing. Would love to see his stats since the ASB, he must’ve improved in almost every category. All the young kids are playing pretty well and Ennis has been a very nice addition, Brewer too. Im extremely happy we didn’t lose 60 games. I take great comfort in that. GO LAKERS!!!!
Craig W. says
For Lou and Marcello we got Brewer and Ennis – plus the 1st round pick. I’d say we did very well with that trade. Lou really helps Houston this year and next and we got two players who have a ‘chance’ to stick for next year and we get pick – perhaps a Nance Jr type in the upcoming draft.
The young talent we now have on this team is fairly deep – no superstars yet, but that really is sort of a crapshoot anyway. That’s what we are finding out in these last games. This certainly gives the front office something to work with going into the summer – regardless the outcome of the ping pong balls.
This year no, but I think we have a better balance going forward than Boston does.
Sorry, missing this pick is a big deal. The Lakers are 14th in the West. They need talent. Free agents that can make a difference don’t want to play for losers. With no pick in 2017 and 2019 how are the Lakers acquiring talent?
Yes, getting the pick is a bounce of the ping pong balls but the Lakers have done themselves no favors by winning these meaningless games and decreasing their odds of keeping the pick.
I truly believe that losing this pick coupled with the ‘time stamp’ on our cap space will but in motion significant changes this off season — everyone and everything will be in play. The new FO does not believe that organic growth from our youngster will make the Lakers a championship team.
Craig W. says
It really hurts your credibility on this site to remain Anonymous.
I disagree about your statement that we are weak on talent – see my statement just above yours. We don’t have any superstars yet. Incidentally, there are very few Lebron James’ coming out of high school or one year of college – it takes time for young players to adapt and grow into the NBA style of physicality and play. That said, we certainly don’t lack talent – just that our players fit our team, but don’t yet drive it.
I must admit at this point in time, that I no longer believe that we have superstars on our team, so though I hate to admit it,. RR, Robert and others,.. you are probably right.
My hope was that D’Angelo’s flashes would be more consistent.
However, it seems now, that though he will be a very good player, his heart is missing that fire required.
Ingram will probably be better, but a super star, I doubt it.
Randle has the fire, but lacks finesse and decision making skills.
Clarkson is skilled, athletic, however not super star skilled, and too nice of a guy to be a hitman.
Zubac, love the guy, and he will be our center of the future, but a super star, don’t think so.
This is why I recently changed my opinion on tanking, as it makes little sense for any star to come here, even if LA is their home.
Combined with the bad deals on our books, we are now beggars in this league.
However,.. all is not lost, at least there is hope.
Out of frustration in these recent wins, I just did some research, and it turns out that our odds at 3 position could be better than either 2nd or even 1st.
As it turns out, since 1990 the 1st position has won the number 1 pick,.. 5 times.
2nd position 4 times.
3rd position 6 times !!
That shock was a ray of sunshine that will last until at least June.
Craig W. says
Yes I stand corrected,.. we find out in May !!! So not long to wait.
I would be frustrated by the win streak if the Lakers were winning because of Young and Williams. But since the org. did the right thing and traded Williams and has shut down Young/Deng/Mozgov, I am not that upset. As I said the other days, if a few wins come because of young guys getting reps and fringe guys hustling, so be it. Since Brewer is 31 and his deal for next year is locked, I am not as sanguine about him, but while he has the money, he is trying to establish that he is worth a little PT, here or elsewhere.