With less than a week to go in the NBA regular season, the single most important result might just be LA Lakers 102, San Antonio Spurs 95. In San Antonio.
When is a win a loss? When you need to lose to make sure you keep your draft pick. It’s well documented that the 2017 NBA draft is an important one; maybe the most impactful draft since 2003, when LeBron entered the NBA along with Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
And the Lakers may have lost their shot at any of them with that meaningless victory in San Antonio.
The Lakers owe the 76ers a draft pick, and it’s only Top 3 protected. Right now, the Lakers have the … 3rd worst record in the NBA. Brooklyn is 19-59 (Boston gets that pick), Phoenix has lost 13 in a row to fall to 22-57 and the Lakers are 23-55.
According to Tankathon, here are the percent chances of finishing in the Top 3:
Brooklyn: 64.3 percent
Phoenix: 55.8 percent
LA Lakers: 46.9 percent
Brooklyn is a disaster. The Suns know how to tank. The Lakers, while trying to lose, clearly need some practice. For instance: 37-year old Metta World Peace, who played a combined 17 minutes in January, February and March, played 17 minutes against the Spurs. The Lakers were actively trying to lose … and couldn’t do that correctly.
The NBA Draft lottery is May 16, so Lakers fans will have a month to lament these late-season wins. And Magic Johnson can have a month to deliberate whether or not he’s going to trade D'Angelo Russell or Brandon Ingram to try and get into the Top 3.