D'Angelo Russell (knee) good to go as Lakers prepare for Sacramento

Apr 09, 2017, 01:29
D'Angelo Russell (knee) good to go as Lakers prepare for Sacramento

The Lakers have their next three games at home, beginning with Friday's contest versus Sacramento. The 2016-17 season is almost, mercifully over.

"It feels like it went pretty fast", Lakers coach Luke Walton said on the topic after Thursday's practice. We started out pretty poorly and got better as we went.

There's an elephant in the room, of course - or in this case, the gym. "They came in here to try to win a game and they did".

At this point, it sounds like a broken record, but it bears repating: the Lakers benefit from losing games. With the Brooklyn Nets out of reach for the league's worst record, the Suns and Lakers are battling to finish with the NBA's second-worst record.

Before we take a look at one of the most efficient performances from a Laker this season, let's take a look at how little of an opportunity the former SU guard has been given this season.

As it stands, the Phoenix Suns have lost 13 in a row and only have one fewer win than the Lakers. If the Lakers end up in the top-three of this year's lottery and keep their pick, the Magic will instead get the team's second-rounder in 2017 and 2018.

In truth, a coin flip would take place due to the odd number of lottery balls for the combination of the no. 2 and no. 3 lottery seeds, and the victor of the coin flip would earn one extra ball in the lottery and also technically hold the no. 2 spot in the lottery. The Lakers have the NBA's third-worst record, giving them a 51.3 percent chance of getting the No.4, No.5 or No.6 pick in the lottery.

San Antonio has already captured the first three games with the Lakers this season, winning by an average of 23.3 points.

Sacramento features Buddy Hield, who was named the March Rookie of the Month by the National Basketball Association. Not only were Brandon Ingram and Buddy Hield both lottery selections, but Ingram was also the other prospect the Kings aggressively pursued in the DeMarcus Cousins blockbuster trade, according to multiple reports. Next up for San Antonio is Friday's road game in Dallas. Meanwhille, D'Angelo Russell (sore left knee) and Jordan Clarkson (left knee contusion) are listed as questionable.

Los Angeles led by as many as 26 points in snapping an eight-game skid against San Antonio.

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With just four games left in the 2016-2017 regular season, the odds are against L.A. holding onto their pick this year. Nick Young has sat out of the team's last nine games, but that hasn't stopped the Lakers from pulling off back-to-back upsets, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs.

The odds of that pick conveying to the Sixers is now 53.1-percent, according to DerekBodner.com If the Lakers were to finish as the NBA's second worst team (behind the 22-57 Suns), those chances of the pick conveying to Philly would decrease to 44.2-percent.