After coaching the Lakers’ worst team in franchise history, Byron Scott hopes he can bring better luck during a significant moment in the team’s rebuilding process.
Scott will serve as the Lakers’ NBA Draft representative on May 19 in New York City. Then, the Lakers (21-61) will find out if their season ravaged by injuries and an unproven roster will result in a consolation prize. The Lakers must land a top-five pick, or else they will owe it to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash trade with Phoenix three years ago.
The Lakers finished with the NBA’s fourth-worst record, giving them an 82.8 percent chance of their draft pick to stay within the top five. They also have an 11.9 percent chance at landing the No. 1 selection. But the Lakers also have a 17.2 percent chance at falling either sixth or seventh, which the Lakers cannot keep.
After last week’s exit meetings, Scott downplayed whether he felt nervous about the Lakers’ chances considering they collected a combined four wins against Minnesota (16-66) and Philadelphia (18-64).
“No,” Scott said. “None.”
The Lakers sent Scott’s former Showtime teammate James Worthy to last year’s draft lottery, aware of the symbolism that he represented the Lakers’ last No. 1 pick in 1982. Although the Lakers landed that draft pick because of a trade, the move still helped the Lakers win three NBA championships in the Showtime Era.
Worthy attended last year’s lottery and brought with him bobbleheads featuring iconic figures of the Lakers, including their late owner (Jerry Buss) and the late famed announcer (Chick Hearn). Though they symbolized a period when the Lakers won the majority of their 16 NBA championships, the Lakers landed with only the seventh overall pick. They used that to select Kentucky forward Julius Randle, who played only one regular-season game before suffering a season-ending injury to his right leg.
Although they remain encouraged with Randle’s recovery and potential, the Lakers hope for better fortunes this year in both draft order and health. Scott said last week he may bring his grandaughter to help boost the Lakers’ odds. But after coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers when they landed the No. 1 pick in 2011 for Kyrie Irving, Scott joked the Lakers should send the son of Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert. He became the franchise’s good-luck charm after landing three No. 1 picks in the past four years.