Which Los Angeles Lakers Have a Legitimate Future with the Team?

The Los Angeles Lakers can't win for losing.

No sentiment seems more appropriate for this talent-deprived team that runs the risk of losing a top-five NBA lottery draft pick next June if it ekes out too many wins during the regular season.

At 8-18, that’s just where the Lakers stand during another record-setting, gosh-awful season.

What’s a coach and his players to do? For a small handful of Lakers who may have a legitimate future with the team, the answer is simple: Play hard and play to win every night. Your job depends on it.

If it was left up to Magic Johnson, the Lakers would purposely lose every game to ensure they obtain a coveted lottery draft selection next June. Johnson told Neil Best of Newsday:

If you're going to lose, you have to lose, because you can't be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great or you have to be bad, to get a good [draft] pick.

Unfortunately, Magic has no role in how the team performs. And players aren't going to take the court in order to tank games—it's just not their nature.

So this year's Lakers team follows a pattern of of mediocrity that seems to keep it just good enough to eventually miss out on gaining that top-five draft pick. There's still plenty of season left for L.A. to sneak into the bottom five or even three, which made its one-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night such a nail-biter.

What's obvious is that the Lakers lack talent and depth. And the only way to get more of each is through the draft, trades and free-agent signings.

Regardless of how they go about getting better, the current Lakers who seek job stability with the purple-and-gold can only control what they do and how they perform.

The current number of Lakers with a legitimate shot at sticking around is small. The club will probably turn over at least half of its roster before next season, wh...

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