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D’Antoni didn’t know draft lottery implications for Lakers after win over Jazz

Apr 15, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

Mike D'Antoni AP

As this abomination of a season comes to its merciful conclusion for the Lakers, it’s been clear for some time now that there is quite literally no benefit to winning any of the team’s remaining games.

But Los Angeles thumped the Jazz by 15 points on Monday anyway, behind a 41-point performance from Nick Young in 34 minutes off the bench.

The victory hurt the Lakers’ chances of securing additional ping pong balls in the NBA’s Draft Lottery that will take place on May 20, and in what seemed to further prove that players and coaches never “tank” or do anything that remotely shows an intent to lose on purpose, Mike D’Antoni appeared clueless afterward as to how the win negatively affected his team’s prospects.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

“They played hard, and I think, if I’m not mistaken, it’s the same number of pingpong balls, right?” D’Antoni said. “They flip a coin, or something.”

Turns out, he was mistaken. The Lakers went into the night with the sixth-worst record in the league. A loss to the Jazz would have put them in a tie for fifth with Utah, with the Lakers owning the tiebreaker as the worse team — should the Jazz close out the season with a loss in Minnesota and L.A. finish things out with a loss in San Antonio — because Utah would have won the season series 3-1.

A reporter informed D’Antoni that the win by the Lakers actually cemented the Jazz with a worse record and thus better lottery chances.

“I mean, you kind of hate that,” D’Antoni responded, realizing what the win did to the potential draft order. “But, I thought we had the same rank.”

A segment of Lakers fans viewed this as unconscionable, but there was zero wrongdoing on D’Antoni’s part.

The Draft Lottery is just that — a random drawing of how the top picks in the draft are ultimately distributed. Yes, L.A. would have theoretically had more chances at a better pick had the team managed to finish with a worse record than the Jazz, but nothing is guaranteed.

Besides, the decision of whether or not to play the team’s best players is one made by the front office. If Mitch Kupchak viewed the securing of additional ping pong balls as the end-all, be-all, then he could have instructed his coach to play someone like MarShon Brooks extended minutes under the guise of player development, while making sure Young rode the bench.

The Lakers are a star-driven team that will need to rebuild on the fly by adding proven talent in free agency in order to quickly return to the status of contenders. The top of this year’s draft has a handful of potential impact players, but like the lottery itself, nothing is guaranteed — all of which makes Kupchak’s decision not to intervene, along with D’Antoni’s ignorance of the situation completely understandable.

  1. chargerdillon - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    Mike D’antoni appeared clueless?! Now that’s shocking news

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      D’Antoni is clueless, but not for this reason. He is the coach of this team, his job is to win games. He’s done poorly at it, but at least he’s focused on doing it.

  2. retxedfred - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    Why would D’Antoni care? He’s not going to be there next season anyway.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      That’s what I was thinking. He cares more about adding a W to his overall coaching record then he does about tanking for the next guy. As he should too.

  3. brianscalabrine - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    I just know the lottery is going to be rigged for the Lakers and Celtics…

    • cantonb0und13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:58 PM

      And Knicks. Oh wait………………….

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      This is what is stupid. The Lakers and Celtics both are among some of the absolute worst teams in the NBA this year. Watching the Lakers has often been physically painful they are so bad. Would it really be surprising if they were lottery winners? It’s not like they’d be jumping from 9th best chances to 1st overall pick in a year a hometown star was available. They’d be among the top 5 or 6th worst teams. The Celtics had the second worst record in 2007 and got leapfrogged by the Trail Blazers. Give it up.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      @ White Mamba…

      Well…..I hope so. lol

  4. sportsfan18 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Don’t tell me that REAL Laker fans WANT them to lose on purpose…

    Such a proud franchise…

    Losing should NEVER be acceptable under ANY circumstances…

    The Fakers tanked anyway by not having Kobe play. I for one feel that had the Lakers been competitive this season, easily in the playoffs with a chance to do some damage… Kobe WOULD have come back and played this season…

    With that being the case, the Fakers DID tank by not having him come back because they knew even with him they were NOT going to make the playoffs so they decided to TANK…

    But while the did LOWER the product on the floor, they did NOT lower the prices of their tickets…

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      Wait, which narrative are you going to stick with?

      He’s breaking down and won’t be reliable next year?

      Or the Lakers sat him even though he could come back because they were tanking?

      They’re contradictory, but you’ve presented both theories recently. Which is it? Or is it just whichever one is more convenient to you to criticize the Lakers and Kobe Bryant?

      • redbaronx - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        @asimonetti88 – I couldn’t have said it better. Some guys just want to rip without any connection to logic. Sportsfan18 is obviously in that camp.

        Also, I don’t get the impression that Lakers fans want their team to tank in any case. Tanking rarely works and most people are becoming aware of it. There’s actually a fairly high chance statistically that the teams with the 3 worst records stand a higher chance of being bumped downwards than not. Every year one or two teams get bumped down out of those three.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      Every time I see the all caps words, I mentally yell that word in my head as I read. It’s kinda funny.

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      SportsFan18… what a name

  5. slaugin - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Why would LA need anything rigged? Every star free agent wants to go there. Who needs to gamble on prospects when you can hand pick known top talent.

    • readysethike - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      If that was the case then Dwight would’ve stayed.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:44 PM

      lol. this was sarcasm, right?

    • sonnysuave - Apr 16, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      Uhhhhhhh… nope. Your owner sucks… your coach sux…Kobe doesn’t get along with teammates… and your team will suck for awhile, until Kobe’s cap-eating salary is completed.

  6. slaugin - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    The Celtics on the other hand…Well, no one in the NBA goes to Boston willingly

  7. cantonb0und13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Prediction: Lakers trade lottery pick for K. Irving. And K. Love signs with Lakers next off-season. Everyone wins, well except for Minnesota.

    • readysethike - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:15 PM

      that trade wouldn’t even work in nba2k

      • cantonb0und13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:07 PM

        Yeah, but the Lakers got D. Howard for free basically. And they basically got Pau Gasol for free (at the time no one thought M. Gasol was good).

      • sonnysuave - Apr 16, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        The difference is… D12 & Pau thought they were coming to a contender when they signed w/ the Lakers. Now, players know they’re coming to a bottom-end team. Not the same.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:07 AM

        Sonny, D12 and Pau were both traded to the lakers, so it doesn’t matter if they were contenders or not, the lakers were able to get them.

        And for the Kyrie Irving trade, how about this prediction: Lakers get a top three pick, then Kyrie and Love both sign with the lakers as soon as they can.

  8. campcouch - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    But,Phil Jackson would have won a title with the same tea…naw. Don’t blame the coach,blame the FO and Kobe.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      Kobe played 6 games this year, hard to blame him.

  9. luz56 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    Danphoney is who we think he is…still amazed that they hired this clown but when the circus is in town and the grand pooh bah is running the show did you expect anything else but….

  10. ranfan12 - Apr 16, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    people are going to be in a fit if the lakers of all teams get a #1 draft pick lol. conspiracy articles all day, adam silver questions, the works 😀

  11. noahbird - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    I swear after he recovered from the broken arm or what not in his first season as Lakers’ coach the pain killer consumption didn’t stop. Just an observation.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      Hip relocation

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        *replacement not relocation haha

  12. kb2408 - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Lakerluver would be rolling over in his grave….if he were actually dead!!

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