The sweet smell of tanking is in the air every April in the NBA, but it’s especially pertinent for this year’s Lakers, who will lose their first-round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if it falls outside of the top three.
Lakers fans are well aware of the situation, and many are actively rooting for their beloved franchise to lose games so that they can retain their pick in what is being touted as one of the deepest drafts we’ve seen.
There’s just one problem -- the Lakers keep winning. They’ve won three games in a row, including a victory over the Spurs. After their latest win over the Kings on Friday night, fans took to Twitter to express their outrage.
Yea!!! We are screwing up our lottery position — watching Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers— DamenQuincy Hayes (@DNAFILMS2010) April 8, 2017
Lakers beat Kings but how 'bout the lottery pick 🤔— Edcel Buelo (@ebuelo17) April 8, 2017
“Me personally, I know my guys around me, we don’t believe in going out there and trying to lose games,” Randle said. “The basketball gods will come back at you. I believe in that. It’ll come back and haunt you, so you don’t do that. You got to treat the game with respect.”
Nance appeared offended and frustrated at the idea of tanking.
“To me it’s ridiculous,” Nance said. “I think it’s crazy ... I mean our job is to go out there and play basketball as hard as we can every single night. ... My job is to win tonight, and that’s all I’m focused on. ... We’re going for wins right now. I don’t necessarily care about any of that stuff.”
The Lakers currently have the third-worst record in the NBA and are two games ahead of the Suns in the loss column for the second position in the lottery drawing. The worse record you have the better the chances at getting a high pick, but even if the Lakers finish with one of the top three positions in the lottery, they’re still not guaranteed to get a top-three pick. It’s up to the lottery gods to decide.
The Lakers have a chance to improve their lottery odds on Sunday when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Lakers fans will surely be watching, and rooting for a loss.