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May 20, 2015 Updates

The Los Angeles Lakers announced their 2015 preseason schedule on Friday, and it includes two exhibition games against the Jazz in Hawaii. Aloha and mahalo, schedule maker. Utah and L.A., who usually play each other in Southern California each preseason, will play Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 in Honolulu. Deseret News

The Los Angeles Lakers pick second, the Philadelphia 76ers third, the New York Knicks fourth and the Orlando Magic fifth. "More excited than anything," Lakers coach and former Lakers guard Byron Scott said. "This is the first time I've done this. I was excited to do this because of our organization. You guys know how much pride I have in the organization, so this was a big deal to me. To be able to come here and secure the second pick, I guess I can go back home and say, 'I'm sorry I didn't get the first pick for you guys, but No. 2 ain't bad.' " USA Today Sports

Johnson argued the Lakers should select either Kansas’ Karl Anthony-Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. But Scott maintained “we’ll take the best player available.” Other candidates include point guard (Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, China’s Emmanuel Mudiay) or small forward (Duke’s Justise Winslow, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson). “With our roster,” Scott said, “we need help in a lot of different areas.” Los Angeles Daily News

Instead, they'll draft second, behind the Minnesota Timberwolves after jumping in the draft lottery on Tuesday. "We played like crap all season so it's only right we get the #2 pick HA #lakerluck #goodday," tweeted Kobe Bryant. The top prospects in the draft are probably Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns. The Lakers are absolved from choosing between the two, assuming the Wolves don't go in a different direction, perhaps Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell. Los Angeles Times

May 19, 2015 Updates

Following his freshman year at Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph’s High School, Towns was on the Dominican Republic team that played against the United States’ national team in an exhibition game in Las Vegas on July 12, 2012. That USA team, which was preparing for the London Olympics, included LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant, but Towns expressed the most excitement at the time about playing against Kobe Bryant. Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers have the fourth-best odds in the lottery of landing the top pick at 11.9 percent. The third-best odds (15.6 percent) belong to the Philadelphia 76ers. “The biggest thing I took away from that game was a confidence level that I could play with these players, that I can play with the best of the best,” Towns said. “Kobe talked to me. ... He told me to make sure I keep working hard and he talked about some other things. We had a good conversation.” Yahoo! Sports

With the Lakers owning the fourth-worst record and thus the fourth-best odds at the No. 1 pick, there’s a 17.2% chance the Lakers drop to No. 6 or No. 7, and thus gifting their selection to Philly. Interestingly, there’s a greater chance of that happening than the Sixers simply winning the lottery. The Heat finished the season with 10th-worst record, barely clinging on to their first rounder as is. However, there’s still a 9.1 percent chance one team in the 11-14 slots can jump all the way into the top three (the lottery is simply a drawing for the top three slots followed by the remaining teams being awarded picks 4-14 based on worst record). Sports Illustrated

"What's interesting in the discussion here, conventionally, when you think of tanking, you think of teams trying to lose," he said. "Here in this case, even the greatest critics of a so-called rebuilding strategy would acknowledge that the team is trying to win. They are trying to win over a longer time period than that particular year." The 76ers are slotted in the third spot with a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to No. 1 and could land another high pick if the Lakers fall outside the top five and have to give it up as terms of a previous trade. So Los Angeles also ended up on the perceived tankers list while finishing with the NBA's fourth-worst record. Associated Press

 

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