In a not so distant past, it was often the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns battling it out on the court for the Pacific Division or Western Conference crown. Now in 2017 with both teams struggling to win games, the focus is on quietly tanking to improve each teams NBA Draft Lottery Odds.
With a surprising win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon, the Lakers (22-55) are not going quietly and now find themselves with the third-worst NBA record. The Suns (22-56) on the other hand gained a slight edge and now have both an extra game played and an extra loss. Both teams are off tonight.
Back East, the leagues last place Brooklyn Nets (18-59) are currently riding a 2-game win streak, and have gone 5-3 over their last eight contests. However they still have a comfortable lead in the race to the bottom, with a 3.5 game reverse-lead over Phoenix and a even 4.0 games gap between them than Los Angeles.
Even if both the Lakers and the Suns lose out, the Nets will need to go better than 3-2 over their final five games to fall out of the top spot. Brooklyn plays Philadelphia and Orlando, both games they could win, but then finishes the season with two games against the Chicago Bulls and one against the Boston Celtics. Boston has a big incentive to beat Brooklyn down the stretch as they own the Nets first-round pick.
What if they tie?
There is a decent chance that the Lakers and Suns may finish with the same record. If they do they will split the combinations for second and third in the NBA draft lottery. That would give each team about 18-percent chance at the top pick and approximately, a 51-percent chance at one of the top three spots. And remember, the Lakers need to land one of the top three picks or their first-rounder goes to the Philadelphia 76’ers.
What’s left on the schedule?
Upcoming game odds?
Currently the Lakers are 12-point underdogs playing on the road against the Spurs, and the Warriors are 12.5 point favorites against the Suns. Remember, William Hill offers the best NBA betting opportunities for these games.
Trades and pick protections
The Celtics own the rights to swap 2017 first-round picks with Brooklyn.
The Lakers will send their first-round pick to the 76’ers if it falls outside the top three.
Philadelphia owns the rights to swap picks with Sacramento inside the top 10. If the Kings’ pick falls out of the top 10, it will go to the Bulls.
New Orleans will send its first-round pick to Sacramento if it falls outside the top three.