Predicting Where Lakers Finish in Race to Bottom of NBA Standings

Much has been made about the Los Angeles Lakers’ chances for a high draft pick this year, but they’re not the only horse in the race.

At the top of the stretch and heading for home, the Milwaukee Bucks are ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Orlando Magic about four lengths back. The rest of the pack is trailing and all bunched up—trying to predict the finish for the plodders is akin to investing your paycheck in the Pick Six on a muddy track.

But isn't that what makes it fun?

Tanking is a concept that has gotten a lot of attention across the league this season. Teams don’t necessarily start the season trying to lose, although it makes for a good narrative.

The Phoenix Suns, for instance, have three first-round picks in this year’s draft, which certainly seemed like motivation to some. Then they started winning under new head coach Jeff Hornacek. On the other hand, there’s the Philadelphia 76ers with two first-round picks, five second-round picks and a 21-game losing streak that speaks for itself.

The Lakers have just one pick this year, and it’s in the first round.

The team began the season with a multi-faceted approach, signing a slew of cheap one-year deals with undervalued players. The idea was to surround Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash with test cases that could factor into an upcoming rebuild.

The coordination of expiring contracts had been in the works for years, with the goal of clearing salary-cap space for free agency. The draft was certainly a consideration, but nobody could have predicted the sheer number of injuries and the manner in which losses rapidly gained momentum.

The latest woe is Jordan Farmar with a groin strain, which will keep him out of action for a minimum of two weeks. According to Mike Trudell of, that brings the total number of games missed to injury this seas...

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