We are already through one-third of the 2015-16 NBA regular season, and it has not been pretty for the Los Angeles Lakers. After 27 games, Los Angeles has managed to produce a dreadful record of 4-23, despite having the ninth-easiest schedule in the league thus far.
With a more difficult schedule looming and the team seemingly having unbalanced chemistry between some of the players and head coach Byron Scott, things could get a lot worse before they begin to get better.
What does that mean for their first round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft?
Unfortunately for the Lakers, as a result of the Steve Nash trade back in the summer of 2012, they will only keep their first round pick if it stays in the top-three. If it falls fourth or lower, it will be conveyed to the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired it from the Phoenix Suns last year in the Brandon Knight trade. The “good” news, however, is that the Lakers are currently sitting with the second-worst record, giving them a decent chance to retain their selection.
Here’s what the current lottery standings look like, via tankathon.com.
Obviously, a lot will probably change between now and April when the season actually ends, but there is a noticeable gap between where the Lakers are and where a cluster of 11-win teams stand. Unless something severely changes for Los Angeles and they start piling up some wins — which could happen if the young guys get adequate playing time and continue to develop — it looks like a safe bet that they will finish with one of the four worst records in the league, though all the team should be worrying about for the rest of the season is said development.
The column to monitor closely throughout the year is obviously the odds of them staying in the top-three, which as of right now they would have slightly better odds than a coin flip. Needless to say, Lakers fans everywhere will be a nervous wreck when May 17 — the date of the 2016 draft lottery — rolls around.
If the Lakers keep their pick in May, they will certainly have options to work with. However, if they lose it, they will most likely miss out on having a top-10 pick this year, but will still have their own second-rounder, along with full rights to their first round pick next year.
A lot is yet to unfold and only time will tell what happens in the end. Either way, the odds of retaining the pick this year will be less favorable than a year ago. Ultimately, we will just have to hope that the ping pong balls take another generous bounce in the Lakers’ favor.