Coach Luke Walton is strongly against tanking saying that it can backfire on the roster in the long run. However, most people suggest that it would be best for the Los Angeles Lakers to tank this season since it helps them secure two first-round picks. If they go with that path, the Lakers might consider moving veterans like Lou Williams and Nick Young before the February 23 deadline.
The Lakers obviously don’t have the capability to contend for the title this season. After a surprising 10-10 start, they only won nine of their last 27 games. As of now, the Lakers are projected to be one of the lottery teams again.
Coach Luke Walton doesn’t believe that the Lakers should purposely tank. “When you start losing on purpose I think the basketball gods come back to get you in the long run,” Walton said. On a Twitter post, Lou Williams also expressed his disagreement with the idea of tanking.
Should the Lakers tank?
Walton and Williams have their points on why the team shouldn’t consider doing such thing. However, the Lakers’ future should always be the main priority for them to immediately return to title contention. If they decide to tank, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype revealed that the Lakers would consider trading their veterans.
“Despite head coach Luke Walton’s negative comments about tanking, executives believe the Lakers will strongly consider this route. If they do, other teams will certainly be calling about L.A.’s veterans,” Kennedy wrote.
At some point, their dismal performance this season would be beneficial since it will let them secure their first-round pick in the 2017 NBA draft. If the Lakers fall outside of the top-3, they would lose their 2017 first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. Also, they would forfeit their 2019 first-round pick to the Orlando Magic as part of the 2012 Dwight Howard trade.
As Kennedy notes, trading veterans like Nick Young, Lou Williams, Luol Deng or Jose Calderon would give the young players more playing time. The move would give them young assets and draft picks that would help them rebuild the team. So far, Walton already changed his rotation and moved Tarik Black and Brandon Ingram to the starting lineup.
The Lakers plan to use the final months of the season to prioritize the development of their young players. Though Walton is against tanking, the Lakers still have a higher chance to land the top three pick. The 2017 NBA draft is loaded with talented players and adding another potential will undeniably help the Lakers in the long run.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr