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NBA draft standings: The Lakers' tank season in review

The end has come. This is how the Lakers' tank steamrolled through the opposition.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014-15 Los Angeles Lakers' season has had a lot of ups and downs. OK, it was mostly downs, but in a lot of cases (such as the tank), those downs have also been ups. It has been a confusing, topsy-turvy ride full of Black Kelly Clarkson jokes, tank puns, and increasingly both baffling and depressing "Byron Scott said WHAT now?" updates.

The goal of Tank Watch was to provide some laughs amidst literally the worst season in Lakers history. To find a place to take solace in humor while the on-court product was a bad joke. Mercifully the season has come to an end with the Lakers (21-61) holding the fourth-best lottery odds. Join me as we "honor" the top tankers of the year one last time for their contributions in making those strong odds of the Lakers keeping a top five lottery pick possible.

Tank plays of the year

Yours truly watched a lot of bad basketball. One final time, here are some of my handpicked WORST (and some of the funniest) moments of the season. Enjoy it all set to One Shining Moment:

And yes, I had this video mostly ready before the excellent Knicks version dropped and beat me to it yesterday.

Tank Commander

As a refresher, here is a tally of who "won" the award of Tank Commander over the 7 editions of Tank Watch.

Byron Scott- 4x
Wesley Johnson1x
The Tankvengers- 1x
Ronnie Price1x

I could wax poetic on Byron Scott's thoughts on toughness, three-pointers, and fox holes, but I went all in on that last week. No, the real Tank Commander this season has been something been something far more sinister: The Injury Bug.

For the second straight season, the Lakers led the league in total games missed due to injuries. Here is a list of Lakers whose seasons were ended prematurely by injury:

  • Kobe Bryant
  • Julius Randle
  • Jeremy Lin
  • Nick Young
  • Xavier Henry
  • Ronnie Price
  • Wesley Johnson
  • Dwight Buycks
  • Steve Nash
  • Wayne Ellington
  • Jordan Clarkson (technically, although he only missed the final game of the season)

As I put it earlier this season, if you were on the Lakers roster this year, you essentially had a better than 50 percent chance to suffer a season ending injury, or worse odds than Russian roulette. Some of these injuries (Bryant and Nash) were of the predictable variety. But to lose Randle in the first game of the season and his career was an especially cruel twist of fate, and the bodies only piled up from there.

Certainly many of these maladies can be chalked up to simple bad luck, but it may be time for the Lakers to examine their training staff and practice habits. This is not to place blame on either, but when players are dropping like flies as frequently as they have over the last few seasons, everything should be on the table.

What is inarguable is the toll these unending waves of injuries took on the Lakers' roster. This outfit was never going to contend for a playoff spot, or even surprise people. But if the majority of players on the list above had stayed healthy for most of the season it is hard to imagine the team not being slightly more competitive and holding a greater chance to lose their draft pick.

This is not to celebrate these injuries, but merely to acknowledge the fact that the injury bug was a major factor in driving the tank this season. Hopefully the Lakers stock up on insecticide and let the exterminator lose in Staples Center over the offseason so that little guy will not make a return appearance any time soon.

Anti-tank mine

The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery

May 19th. If real life worked like NBA 2K, that is the day most Lakers fans would like to sim to. While the best of the best in the NBA are tested in the crucible of the postseason, the Lakers will be attending a gathering of the worst teams the league had to offer this season.

As has been extensively covered this season, the Lakers fourth worst overall gives them an 82.8% chance to keep their draft pick out of Sam Hinkie's clutches. That sounds great, except for the 17.2% chance that leaves of the pick heading to Philadelphia to celebrate his new contract with cheese-steaks instead of California rolls.

The Lakers survived Jordan Clarkson explosions, Kobe Bryant throwback performances, and the shocking competence of the Carlos Boozer to hold onto fourth place in the reverse standings. Now they just have to hope one wrong bounce of a ping pong ball does not screw it all up.

Tank reinforcements

The 2015 Draft Class

In the event that the Lakers' current odds of keeping their pick hold, and Mitch Kupchak and co. are selecting in the top-five, there will be no shortage of talent for the team to pursue. Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Justise Winslow, Stanley Johnson.... the list of talent the Lakers could acquire goes on and on (until ending at the Harrison twins).

If the Lakers retain their own pick, they will add it to a bounty that includes their own second-rounder, Houston's 27th-overall pick, and whatever First Team All-Rookie candidate the Washington Wizards want to sell them. If the Lakers keep their pick, young reinforcements are incoming, and the future will be looking bright.

Thank you

I did want to give a quick shout out to everyone in the Silver Screen and Roll community. From VoR's revealing that I am a recap-writing cyborg to Lady Alannya's constant lamentation of "Murphy," as well as the rest of the list that is too long to mention here, all of the interactions with you guys in the comments or on Twitter has truly made such a down season much more enjoyable.

Here's to lottery luck and more fun games next year. Thanks to all of you for sticking with us.

The final top-five

One final Tankathon lottery sim before the real thing

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