At 13-40, there are only 29 games left in what's unfurling into the worst Los Angeles Lakers season of all time. For fans everywhere, watching this team for over 1/3 of the season may be the worst type of basketball punishment in their lifetimes.
Here's a peak at the team's schedule for the next two months:
After perusing this schedule, in the most optimistic situation, how many games do you think the Lakers could win? Which games are they?
The Great Mambino: If the team plays at the peak of its very provincial powers, I think that they could win as many as 9 games! Wow! That would be home games against the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings, with roadies in Minnesota, Philly and Sacramento.
I truly believe that the LA Lakers have the least amount of talent in the league, especially on the defensive end of the floor. However, they still play hard and as evidenced by games against the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors, this is the NBA and all teams are filled with NBA-caliber players. I'm pegging these as merely the winnable games, as many of those teams will have rid themselves of some of their more talented players at the deadline.
Harrison Faigen: In the Lakers last 29 games, I can see them winning about 10 games at most. The Lakers remaining opponents on average win about 47 percent of their games, but the Lakers have been so bad and disorganized for most of the year that it is hard to see them winning any more than about one third of their remaining games.
It is hard to see the Lakers not winning at least one of their upcoming Nets/Celtics/Jazz slate for example, with 2 victories in that three game stretch being a realistic possibility as well. It is also hard to not see the Lakers winning their March 12th Toilet Bowl rematch with the Knicks in Los Angeles. A March 22nd home date with Philadelphia on two days rest is also a probable victory.
These are just a few examples of possible wins, and if you sprinkle in a couple of the unpredictable ones this team has shown a propensity for (the Kobe-less win over the Warriors, their defeat of the Jugger-Hawks, and the double overtime thriller over the Bulls just to name a few) and it is relatively easy
Sabreena Merchant: I think the Lakers can win at most 13 of the remaining 29 games - this includes both games against Brooklyn, both against Philadelphia, one against Detroit, a game against the Knicks, two each against Utah, Sacramento, and Minnesota, and one win against the Clippers to avoid another embarrassing 4-0 sweep at the hands of the other LA team. Naturally, this involves the Lakers winning a few road games, which hasn't yet happened in 2015. The team would still end the season at 26-56, which is a worse record than last year. No reasonable Laker fan is rooting for even half of those wins as we continue to eye that top-five pick
Drew Garrison: There are six games left on the schedule that the Lakers -might- have an edge in. The Brooklyn Nets in their first game out of the All-Star break might be a win for the Lakers, while the team still has two games against the Philadelphia 76ers, a game against the Carmelo Anthony-less New York Knicks, the Utah Jazz and the blown-apart Denver Nuggets.
There might be a few more than that, but those are games you can peg as attainable for the Lakers. Now if we want them to win any of those games is another story.
Now let's shade back a tad back. What's the worst case scenario? How few games do you think they could win and which ones are they?
The Great Mambino: In my worst case scenario, I could see them playing as poorly as a 2-27 record. With home games against three of the worst teams in the league in Philly, NY and Minny, I can't see the Lakers not winning at least two of them. I'll say the T-Wolves and Knicks for the sake of argument here, but as we saw in a roadie at MSG and a last minute December loss at home, the Lakers could very, very easily lose against the very worst of the NBA.
Harrison Faigen: I think the least amount of wins the Lakers could get is six. They just play too many cream puff teams for predicting less than that to feel right.
One potential wild card in the remaining schedule is the home and away series with the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento has proven to be unpredictable under its new ownership group, and their recent hiring of George Karl could leave the team either competitive enough to win both of those games, or Sacramento could finally give in to the tank by then and lose both as well. The games against Denver and Minnesota on April 8th and 10th are hard to predict.
Sabreena Merchant: The Lakers have had one decent run all season, a 7-7 stretch beginning with Nick Young's return against Atlanta and ending when Kobe broke Michael Jordan's point total against Minnesota. Other than that brief display of competence, the Lakers are 6-33 and potentially the worst team in the NBA. While other lottery-bound teams are showing signs of life and allowing their gobs of young talent to coalesce, the Lakers are going in the opposite direction and will very likely be unbearable to watch for the remainder of the year.
With that in mind, I can only see one game that Los Angeles would be favored in a home date against the Melo-less Knicks. There might be a few surprises along the way, given that the Lakers have beaten Atlanta, San Antonio, and Golden State already, but those will be few and far between.
Drew Garrison: If we take into consideration the fact the Lakers have gone 1-15 over the last 16 games, it's fair to project about three more wins for this team through the final 29 games of the season. As it stands the Lakers are four losses away from ending the month of February without a win, and the Lakers felt comfortable heading into the final stretch with this same roster.
The front office considers the top-five '15 pick an integral part of the rebuild and put their faith in this roster to deliver it. Who am I to disagree?
So now let's get at the porridge that's just right. Where do you peg the team's final record at?
The Great Mambino: Yikes. I'll give the Lakers home wins against the Celtics (I can't help it), Sixers, Knicks and Timberwolves, while surprising Sacramento on the road and another wild card win. That will lead them to 6-23 over the balance of the season, a franchise-worst 19-63 record and a full bucket of my tears.
Harrison Faigen: According to my extremely proprietary and secretive HarrisonyliticsTM, I have the Lakers winning 8 of their final 29 games, leaving the team's final record at 21-61. This obviously could be way over if the team rides out its current path towards all out locker room anarchy, or could even be a few games short if the team gets a few of its patented random and undeserved wins, but 8 wins seems about right for my win prediction porridge. Hopefully that does not leave the Lakers burned by the loss of their first round pick.
Sabreena Merchant: The Lakers will probably end up at 20-62, ideally beating Brooklyn or Boston to avoid a double-digit losing streak before heading into the meat of the second half schedule. Hopefully, L.A. will put together a few more gutty national TV performances by the end of the season, but there won't be too much to look forward to until June 25 for the NBA Draft.
Drew Garrison: Where it ends is a scary place, but first for some perspective on just how bad this team is. They would have to go 14-15 (.483) over the final 29 games to match the Lakers' previous franchise-worst outing last season under Mike D'Antoni. So, for starters, this will undoubtedly go down as the worst Lakers team of all-time once the final buzzer of the regular season sounds. Way to build a roster with eyes on a top-five protected pick, Lakers.
But a number? 18-64, which would be good for the second-worst record in the NBA last season. The tank off is about to get real with the Lakers, Knicks, 76ers and any other team ready to step onto the battlefield.