Don’t Even Try to Tell Me the Lakers Weren’t Trying to Lose Last Night

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(Photo: Getty)

In a league where at best five teams have a chance at winning it all, a successful NBA season is hard to define.

For teams like the Warriors, Cavaliers, Spurs, Thunder, and maybe the Clippers, the season is championship or bust.

Up-and-comers like the Jazz and Pistons just want to make the playoffs and get their young guys some postseason experience.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers want to be as bad as they possibly can to get as high a draft pick as possible.

The Los Angeles Lakers should probably be trying to lose, too, and are even more incentivized to do so than Philly: Thanks to the 2012 trade that sent Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns to the Lakers, if Los Angeles doesn't get a top-three pick in this year's draft, their first-rounder goes to the 76ers (who got the pick in a separate trade with the Suns).

This might explain why they've held on to head coach Byron Scott despite a coaching philosophy that was already outdated when he was hired.

So far, whether they're actively trying to lose or not, it's worked: The Lakers have the second-worst record in the NBA.

But it might not be enough. According to draft lottery rules, the team with the second-worst record in the league has a 44.2 percent chance of landing the fourth or fifth overall pick, and a 55.8 percent chance of landing the top three.

However, the team with the worst record has a 64.3 percent chance of getting that top-three pick, and a 35.7 of netting the fourth overall selection.

The solution? Lose harder.

And it'd be hard to convince someone that's not what the team was trying to do on Sunday.

Why? Well, for starters, rookie D'Angelo Russell shut down his own team's fast break by bodying up teammate Jordan Clarkson.

It appears Clarkson eventually got the memo, though, responding to a John Wall air ball a quarter later with one of his own.

Man, these guys must really want to play with Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram next year.

The Lakers succeeded in sucking, shooting 37.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from three in a 101-88 loss to the Washington Wizards.

At least Kobe Bryant is taking it all in stride.

The loss knocked the Lakers down to 15-58, just 6.5 games away from the 76ers' league-worst mark with nine games remaining.