The Lakers didn’t trade for Rajon Rondo.
Not Greg Monroe, either.
But as the 13-38 Lakers head toward their worst season in franchise history, they’ll continue to try distracting their fans from the mess on the court.
Hey, the NBA draft is around the corner, and the Lakers could have a high pick. With Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell coming into focus as the top tier, whom do the Lakers favor?
If they finish with the worst record in the league, Okafor is a slam dunk for them. Their best and only big man is Jordan Hill, and he’s a far cry from Okafor. For a team that has a long legacy of elite big men — from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaquille O’Neal to Andrew Bynum (OK, not so much Bynum) — the Lakers would love to have a young front line of Okafor and Julius Randle. Okafor’s closest competition I’m told is Mudiay, but it’s not that close right now.
Go ahead, Lakers fans. Dream about Okafor and a healthy Julius Randle lifting Kobe Bryant for his final seasons. Enjoy it while you can, because the dream might not last long.
The Lakers, who have the NBA’s fourth-worst record, send their first rounder to the Suns if not in the top five. Los Angeles needs a bottom-two record to guarantee keeping its pick this season. Anything lower in the lottery standings would require varying degrees of luck.
Even if the Lakers finish with the league’s worst record, they’d still have just a 46.5 percent chance at a top-two pick necessary to guarantee an opportunity to draft Okafor or Mudiay.
On the bright side for the Lakers, they’ll probably keep their pick this season. But Okafor or Mudiay aren’t quite as likely to end up in Los Angeles.