Let’s take a moment to make sure I understand the point of the Lakers losing at this time of year.
It’s to make sure they keep a draft pick in the top three. If they fall out of the top three, the pick goes to Philadelphia — as if the Sixers could do any better with it.
Keeping that top three pick by continuing to lose means, according to most mock drafts, the Lakers will get to choose an elite point guard in UCLA’s Lonzo Ball or a small forward in Josh Jackson of Kansas.
Didn’t the Lakers already draft to fill those needs? Didn’t the guard they drafted hit a three-point field goal as time expired to lift LA to a victory over Minnesota on Sunday? Wasn’t small forward addressed in the last draft with Brandon Ingram? Or Julius Randle three years prior?
Keeping a top three pick is no panacea for the Lakers. What fans haven’t noticed is this so-called disastrous four-game winning streak indicates the team — indeed, the franchise — is trying to cure itself. You should applaud that.
The Lakers are perilously close to becoming what the Sixers have been for far too long — a storied franchise obsessed with “the process” of getting better instead of simply getting better. The Sixers stocked up on picks for years and are still nose deep in the swamp.
Instead, Jeanie Buss — bless our little purple-and-gold nudist — willingly asserted herself in a family dispute when it became apparent the franchise with 16 NBA titles was nowhere near catching the Celtics. The franchise has clearly been scrubbing off the stench of ineptitude left by her brother, Jim. Remember, the only reason the Lakers are forced to tank to keep a draft pick was because of his foolhardy trade that brought a broken-down Steve Nash in the first place.
Under Jim Buss, the Lakers reputation had been so sullied they couldn’t even get a meeting with Kevin Durant when he was a free agent last year.
Not that I’m convinced everything new grand poobah Magic Johnson will find a miracle cure (please insert your own HIV joke here). Put it this way: The Sixers motto for years was “trust the process.” It seems that Magic’s motto to this roster is “trust in yourselves.”
What would happen should the Lakers keep the pick? You really want them to take Ball with his megalomaniac/racial provocateur father? How does that play in the locker room of a young team still finding an identity? How long before there’s infighting between Ball and D’Angelo Russell? How long before that idiot father of his claims Luke Walton can’t coach because he’s white?
If the Lakers keep the pick, great. If not, they either have a foundation with the three lottery picks they’ve already utilized or the Lakers need to look to free agency and trades.
Each win thus far suggests there might be hope with Russell, Randle and Ingram. Putting wins together makes a streak that is more than a sign of hope.
Winning streaks are a sign of what made the Lakers the franchise that it was.