Things look bad for the Los Angeles Lakers right now. The team failed to prevent history on Wednesday night, taking a 111-77 beatdown from a Golden State Warriors team out to make history and falling to 2-12 to start the season. According to former Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, and Memphis Grizzlies forward Shane Battier, however, there may be hope in the near future.
Battier appeared on the latest episode of NBA analyst Zach Lowe's "The Lowe Post"podcast, and Lowe asked him if he thought the Lakers were secretly "outsmarting everyone because they are forward thinking tankers."
"The Lakers will be a championship-level within three years," Battier said. "Los Angeles' ability to reload is unlike any other team in the league and then you throw in a top three pick, they get this kid Ben Simmons, who's a player... they're going to get free agents... they will reload before your eyes and you'll be shocked. Mark my words, within three years they'll be a championship contender."
Ben Simmons or another top-three selection in the 2015 draft would certainly aid the Lakers in recruiting free agents, that much is a near certainty. Unfortunately, the Lakers owe their 2016 first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers (via the Phoenix Suns) if it falls outside of the top-three as one last vestige of the team's ill-fated trade for Steve Nash.
Even if the Lakers lose the most games of any team during the 2015-16 season, they would still face a 35.8% chance of losing that pick. Making matters worse, the Lakers are unlikely to have even those "favorable" odds with Philadelphia and the Brooklyn Nets (among others) both fielding teams that could be even worse than the Lakers. If the Lakers have the second-worst record, they have a 44.2% chance to lose their pick, and that rises to a 57.4% chance of losing the pick with only the third-worst record, and so on and so forth.
If the Lakers manage to maintain their pick, and there are even some (unlikely) scenarios where it is possible without it, Battier could be right that the future is bright for the purple and gold. They just need some ping pong balls to bounce their way, again.