With each mounting loss securing their worst season in L.A. franchise history, the Lakers’ future indirectly looks brighter.
The defensively maligned Lakers may have deprived their fans of free tacos, but they have helped their position in the NBA draft lottery. The Lakers (25-54) enter tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies (47-32) at Staples Center with the sixth worst record in the NBA, ranking ahead of only the Milwaukee Bucks (15-65), Philadelphia 76ers (17-63), Orlando Magic (23-56), Utah Jazz (24-56) and Boston Celtics (25-55).
That standing gives them a 6.3 percent chance of securing the No. 1 pick, which could be used for a number of top prospects, including Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embidd and Duke’s Jabari Parker should he declare for the draft. The Lakers have showed otherwise. Yet, The Lakers’ chances for the top pick improve if they finish last (25 percent), second-worst (19.9 percent), third-worst (15.6 percent), fourth-worst (11.9 percent) or fifth worst (8.8 percent).
Yet, Lakers forward Nick Young saw little benefit in chasing those odds, admittedly for selfish reasons.
“We’re not going out there just to lose for the draft because I think we still want to be in the league,” Young said. “These guys are coming in to take our spots, so, I’m not about to give up for somebody else to come in and take my spot.”
The Lakers will have up to 12 of their 15 players becoming free agents this summer. That will likely include Young, who is expected to opt out of his $1.2 million player option in hopes of securing a longer and more lucrative deal with the Lakers. That gives the Lakers plenty of incentive in their three remaining games.
“I know some teams believe they should tank,” said Young, mindful that the Sixers had a 26-game losing streak. “I know a lot of teams out there are probably doing it, because they believe this draft is going to be one of the biggest drafts that’s happened in a long time.”
But for the sake of his own future, Young has no interest in helping that cause.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org