How LA Lakers Should Address Each Area of Need at the NBA Trade Deadline

The Los Angeles Lakers have improved over last season's 17-win debacle but are facing a fourth straight trip to the NBA's draft lottery. The team started the year with 10 victories in its first 20 tries but has since flatlined, winning just five of the next 26.

Despite their many struggles, the Lakers are only five games behind the eighth-place Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers' hot start did more than just keep the team in sight of an unthinkably early postseason bid. It may have also cost the Lakers their 2017 first-round pick, which would mean finally paying the price for acquiring Steve Nash in 2012. 

If the Lakers don't luck into a top-three lottery pick, they'll forfeit their selection to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Should general manager Mitch Kupchak search for a deal to try to push the Lakers into the playoffs? Or should he stay the course, trust the process and look to add to the team's youthful core? Or should he sell off just enough fringe parts to insulate against wins rather than lose another prime draft choice?

Kupchak and the Lakers have until the NBA's February 23 trade deadline to decide.

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