The Los Angeles Lakers are in unfamiliar territory with the franchise expected to finish this season without a playoff appearance for the second year in a row. The team currently sports a record of 8-17 in a highly competitive Western Conference with many anticipating the 16-time NBA champions missing the postseason yet again.
Unfortunately, even if the Lakers fail to make the playoffs come April, the team could still lose their pick in the 2015 NBA draft to the Phoenix Suns as a result of the Steve Nash from 2012. The Jeremy Lin trade last summer gives the Lakers a first round pick from the Houston Rockets, but it won’t be anywhere near as valuable as a pick in the top five.
On Wednesday, GM Mitch Kupchak made an appearance on The Herd with Colin Coherd to talk all things Lakers. Kupchak was asked about potentially losing the draft pick and the notion of tanking. The longtime Lakers general manager responded by saying the following:
“It’s beyond our control. There’s nothing we can do. There’s nothing that we will do to try and influence where we are at the end of the season. Our coach and our players have been instructed to win as many games possible.”
As the Lakers brass has maintained throughout the season, Los Angeles has no intention to tank or sway the coaches or players into a losing mentality in order to improve chances of keeping their high draft pick.
Although it has become a hot topic on social media with some fans believing it is time for the Lakers to consider tanking, Kupchak and company will not jeopardize the integrity of the franchise to simply land a draft pick.
As the Cleveland Cavaliers showed in last year’s NBA draft lottery, any team in the lottery can land the top pick or make their way into the top five. Tanking may improve the Lakers’ odds, but it by no means will guarantee they’ll hold onto their pick.
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