Facing daunting odds to make a postseason appearance, the Lakers have a difficult path ahead. The team will have to fight through injuries, internal turmoil, and troubling on-court chemistry to fight their way into the Western Conference playoffs.
In light of these overwhelming circumstances, we have to ask: is it even worth it? Maybe it’s time for the Lakers to change direction. Thanks to the NBA’s new draft lottery rules, the Lakers actually have a realistic shot at landing a high draft pick this summer. The new system could give the team a 32 percent chance of winning a top-four pick.
As much as it would pain him, it might actually be the best thing for the Lakers if they quietly tanked the rest of the season. Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Owens explains why.
Beyond the Grizzlies lies a low unattainable even for the ever-sinking Lakers. The five worst teams in the league move from the realm of mediocre to flat-out terrible starting with the 22-43 Atlanta Hawks extending to the dregs of the 13-51 New York Knicks and 14-51 Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers can’t practically sink that low with 18 games remaining, even if they try.
But the No. 6 or No. 7 seed? That’s an attainable goal. And if the Lakers care about salvaging the LeBron James era into something that can save the job and the pride of team icon Johnson, it’s the only choice.
The Lakers have less than a 1% chance of making the playoffs – but right now their lottery odds aren’t great either. With 18 games to go, should they try to “catch” a team like the Wizards in the tanking race? If they did, their chances of a top-4 pick would go from 5% to 32% pic.twitter.com/COOjcbVmMR
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) March 6, 2019
Winning the tanking war could bring home a guy like R.J. Barrett, who would make for an amazing trade piece for a guy like Anthony Davis.
It’s an incredibly shameless route to take, one that would require essentially wasting a year of LeBron’s career. But with how bleak things seem now, it could very well be the team’s best remaining option.