It’s Draft Lottery Day! That exclamation point is more sarcasm than anything else.
From around July 1st to, oh, I don’t know, about the first part of March (that brutal and embarrassing loss to the Suns in Phoenix was on March 2nd), I did not think this day would matter at all to the Lakers. With LeBron James now on the team, I believed wholeheartedly, there’s no way the Lakers would be out of the playoff picture. How foolish of me.
So, here we are. Wondering if the ping-pong balls that get sucked through that magical machine will once again shine on the Lakers and deliver a high draft pick the team can use in whatever way they see fit.
A few things to know:
- This is the first year of the league implementing revamped lottery odds that were put in place to discourage tanking. Those odds redistributed raw percentages to flatten odds in a manner which give more teams an opportunity to jump into the portion of the lottery the actual drawing determines.
- The drawing now determines the top 4 picks in the draft rather than the top 3 (as it did in years past). Said another way, teams outside the top 4 now have slightly better odds of jumping into that part of the lottery and the teams currently in the top 4 have flatter odds of either jumping up to #1 and, due to the better odds of teams behind them to move up, better odds to fall back (with “better” being bad for them haha).
- The Lakers are currently slotted 11th and if the lottery goes exactly as planned, that’s where they’ll pick in June.
- However, due to the redistribution of odds, the Lakers actually have a 9.4% chance of jumping into the top 4 and a 2.0% chance of getting the number 1 overall pick. As a comparison, last year the 11th slotted team would have had a 0.8% chance at the number 1 overall pick and a 2.9% chance of jumping into the top 3.
- As another comparison point, the Lakers odds this year actually mirror odds that would be between the 8th and 9th slotted teams from the 2018 lottery to move into the top part of the draft.
Considering all the above, I think the Lakers stand pat. The odds pretty much lay it out that way and who am I to argue with math? That said, I’ll be watching it closely anyway, if only because absolute hilarity will ensue if the Lakers move up into the top 4. First, the internet will melt from anger and then the jokes will fly about how the team will draft Kurt Rambis’ cousin or a new hardcover copy of “The Alchemist” for Rob Pelinka to read from at his next press conference.
Anyways, enjoy today as much as you can enjoy a day you wish would not matter in the least bit, but does because the team we love was much worse than we all thought it would be.