For all Los Angeles Lakers fans hoping for the highest pick possible in the 2014 NBA Draft, you may just get your wish considering the team’s schedule for the final 26 games. Other than a three-game stretch in March where they will be facing the Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, and Milwaukee Bucks, the Lakers will be facing Western Conference contenders the rest of the way.
Indeed, 15 out of their last 26 are against the top nine in the West, who have an averaged combined winning percentage of .650. This includes a four-game stretch where they play a home-and-home set against the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs — yikes. Let’s put it this way, if the Lakers win 7-8 games from here until the end of the season, it will be very honorable.
It would be a pretty big upset if the purple and gold didn’t have the worst record in the West this season, as the Sacramento Kings have been playing better basketball and the Utah Jazz have a much easier remaining schedule littered with Eastern Conference opponents.
Mike D’Antoni is currently playing a 10-man rotation, which will further complicate matters as that’s simply playing too many guys. It’s difficult to get any kind of rhythm when players are shuffling in and out of the game. Pau Gasol was none the least pleased as he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin “the coach decides to rotate these guys and I doubt there is going to be any consistency on their minutes.”
In other words, it is going to be a very bumpy ride for Lakers fan from here until Apr 16. Then will come the anticipation of the NBA Draft Lottery, which will take place sometime during the second round of the playoffs in late May. Right now, Los Angeles has the fifth-worst record, which gives them a 62.1 percent chance of having either the fifth or sixth pick.
They would have less than a 1 percent chance of falling to the eighth slot, and around a 37 percent chance of getting a top three pick or sliding down to sixth. In this draft spot, there is no chance they would pick fourth. Regardless, things should be looking up starting in May with a lottery pick and cap space for a max player.