The 2018-19 NBA season was a disappointing one for the Los Angeles Lakers. After adding superstar LeBron James in free agency prior to the year, they’ve officially been eliminated from playoff contention. And while the season is largely considered a failure by the fanbase, one thing that could make them feel a bit better would be landing the No. 1 pick and Zion Williamson.
The Duke Blue Devils star freshman is considered the clear-cut top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. His upside and playmaking ability could make this one of the most vital NBA draft lotteries in history, and the Lakers will find themselves in the mix. Although the idea of pairing Williamson with James is incredible to think about, the team will still need a lot of luck to make it happen.
We’re going to evaluate the latest chances for the Lakers to wind up with the Duke forward, not factoring in any potential trades.
Lakers’ Chances to Get No. 1 Pick, Draft Zion Williamson
While many fans joke about NBA teams trying to tank to increase their chances, the Lakers would benefit from a few losses down the stretch. They currently hold a 31-41 record with 10 games remaining in the season. Currently, Los Angeles holds the No. 10 best odds to earn the top pick in the draft, but there are a few teams just barely ahead of them.
Based on this spot, the Lakers are given a 3.0 percent chance to land the No. 1 pick and 13.9 percent chance to wind up in the top four, per Tankathon. We’ll look at just the odds for the top pick, as it’s highly likely they’ll need to get that high for a chance at Williamson. While these odds aren’t great, there are four teams with better odds who the Lakers could surpass.
Here’s a look at the standings outside of the bottom four teams, how many games back they are and their chances at the No. 1 pick.
- No. 5 Atlanta Hawks, 12 games back: 10.5 percent chance
- No. 6 Memphis Grizzlies (tie), 15.5 games back: 8.3 percent chance
- No. 7 Atlanta Hawks (tie) from DAL, 15.5 games back: 8.2 percent chance
- No. 8 Washington Wizards, 16 games back: 6.0 percent chance
- No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans, 17 games back: 4.5 percent chance
- No. 10 Los Angeles Lakers, 18 games back: 3.0 percent chance
Lakers’ Chances to Jump in NBA Draft Lottery Odds
As much as non-Lakers fans may hate hearing this, the team could very possibly move ahead of one or two teams listed above them. Down the final stretch of the season, LeBron and company face six playoff teams and at least one other still battling for a postseason spot (Charlotte Hornets).
The biggest and most brutal stretch for the team comes over the final five games and it could decide their lottery fate. Over that stretch, they’ll face the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers. This 10-game stretch will be interesting to watch for the Lakers along with each of the other teams near the top of the lottery as the push for Zion heats up.