first_imgMax Verstappen fastest in both Friday practice sessions on ice-like Istanbul Park circuit; Charles Leclerc second in Practice Two, ahead of the Mercedes; Lewis Hamilton, who can clinch seventh title at Turkish GP, 0.8s off the pace in fourth By Matt MorlidgeLast Updated: 13/11/20 1:41pm

first_imgA subplot of the draft will be how the Lakers – or their rivals – improve their assets for summer trades. The Lakers notably made a hard push to try to acquire New Orleans big man Anthony Davis near the February trade deadline, offering several young players and draft assets. Getting a top-two pick in the draft, either Williamson or likely No. 2 prospect Ja Morant of Murray State, would sweeten the pot considerably for any potential trade package.On the other hand, Boston, which is rumored to be interested in making a run at Davis this summer, has the chance to gain some assets: The Celtics gain Memphis’ pick if the Grizzlies land ninth or further down in the draft, and they’ll get Sacramento’s pick unless the Kings get the No. 1 pick (1 percent odds). Philadelphia would get the pick if the Kings get the top spot – and the 76ers could be looking to shake up their roster with three key free agents (starters Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick) after a second-round playoff loss to Toronto.With a front office shaken by change for the last month, a newly hired coaching staff that has the appearance of being the third choice after a tumultuous process, and a roster that has tried to roll with the punches ever since the season ended, the Lakers could use a turnaround in their fortunes. And while the odds aren’t particularly in their favor, the chance for a surprise remains a ray of light that the team hopes to guide them back onto a winning path. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed For the past season, the Lakers and luck have been poor bedfellows.When it comes to injuries, fate has been disproportionally unkind: from groin tears to broken hands to sprained ankles to pneumonia and even a blood clot. The Lakers were hit hard on their way to a second-half slide in which they finished 17-31 after LeBron James’ injury on Christmas day.If the same strings that guide such misfortunes also have some influence on the ping-pong balls that will be bouncing in 1,000 different possible combinations on the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, maybe the Lakers should feel worried. Or maybe they should feel as though they’ve earned some good karma – because moving up in this year’s draft could help regain some sense of optimism for a franchise that has taken plenty of body shots, even since the season ended.It might not feel like much of a boost, but the odds that the Lakers land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft are twice as good as they used to be: Under the rules revised by the league two years ago, the Lakers, who finished with the 11th-worst record this season, have a 2 percent shot at the top spot.center_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThey’re not good odds, but that 2 percent represents consensus top prospect Zion Williamson from Duke – a 6-foot-7, 285-pound dynamo with sky-high athleticism and a tireless motor. For the franchise that covets him, he’s a potential foundational piece, one of the most exciting NBA prospects of the last decade. For the franchise that is looking for a more immediate path to winning, he’s the ultimate trade chip.This is the Lakers’ eighth appearance (and sixth in a row) in the draft lottery (they owed their 2018 pick, 10th overall, to Philadelphia), and they’ve only ever moved up twice: Both times they advanced (No. 2 in 2015 for D’Angelo Russell, No. 2 in 2017 for Lonzo Ball), they had a top-four position to begin with. Moving up for Williamson or any of the other top spots will require hitting on longer odds than any other lottery they’ve ever advanced in.Kyle Kuzma, the second-year forward who will represent the Lakers in Chicago on Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. PT, said he will shun any good luck charms or trinkets.“I’m bringing myself,” Kuzma said in a video released by the team. “Knock on wood, but I’ve had a lot of luck in my life. So hopefully me being there will help.”The revised odds, designed to reduce the incentive for teams to tank, already help. For one thing, the NBA now draws for the top four spots, as opposed to just three. The odds for the worst teams in the league are lower than they used to be – New York, Cleveland and Phoenix all have the exact same odds (14 percent) at landing No. 1, whereas, in the old system, the Knicks would have had a 25 percent chance of picking first. Toward the back end of the lottery, where the Lakers are, the odds have improved. A  year ago, the 11th-place Lakers would have only advanced to a top-three pick in 2.9 percent of scenarios; this year, they can improve to a top-four pick in 9.4 percent of scenarios. Those are still worse odds than their chances of being jumped by one of the teams behind them (12.6 percent), but the improvement is representative of how the NBA hoped to reward the teams that were closer to the middle of the pack.The Lakers had something of a feel-good finish to the season, a 6-5 stretch powered by two-way contract players and G Leaguers who got on the court because of the slew of injured rotation players. It hurt the Lakers’ lottery odds, but not profoundly: Minnesota, which finished just one game behind the Lakers, has a 3 percent chance of picking first, and a 13.9 percent chance overall of getting a top-four pick.Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years last_img read more

first_imgKey stats: 16.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 47.6 3-point percentageGarland will have some mystery surrounding him because he suffered a season-ending meniscus injury just five games into his college career and has reportedly already pulled out of the NBA Combine (welcome to the world of top-five picks). But his available tape shows a crafty and confident playmaker who can hit shots from all over the court. That’s something the Lakers need, particularly if his 3-point shooting holds up at the NBA level. The team will need to evaluate if Garland can contribute early scoring without being ball-dominant – he’s not going to usurp LeBron James or Lonzo Ball as a primary ball-handler as a rookie.JARRETT CULVER6-foot-6 forward, Texas TechKey stats: 18.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.4 spgIn Texas Tech’s stunning run to the NCAA championship game, Culver was a do-it-all lynchpin. He might not be that kind of star in the next level, but his length and versatility and work ethic suggest a fit in almost any system and an asset to any defense. Culver’s playing style has a blue-collar toughness indicative of a player who has had to prove himself, but he’s also comfortable being the pressure performer for his team if need be. His shooting percentages (last season: 46.1 percent field goals, 30.4 percent 3-pointers, 70.7 percent free throws) leave more to be desired, but he’s hit big shots in critical moments.DE’ANDRE HUNTER6-foot-7 forward, VirginiaKey stats: 15.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 48.3 3-point percentageAnyone who watched the national championship will know this name: Hunter had arguably his best career game at the best possible moment with 27 points to push the Cavaliers to a title. He’s made his name as the best defender for Tony Bennett’s defense-first squad, with the versatility to guard multiple positions and the shooting to knock down long-range attempts. He might be more of a role player at the next level – a 3-and-D prospect as they say – but his skills suggest he can step in early and contribute.CAM REDDISH6-foot-8 forward, DukeKey stats: 13.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 spgOf the three-headed monstrous recruiting class for Duke last year, Reddish was the least imposing. While he has the body and the occasional look of a future star, his production and his more reserved bearing on the court (at least compared to the all-out explosion of Williamson) was more deferential. There’s a lot of physical talent and even shooting polish in Reddish’s game, but the right team will need to maximize it over time – that might not exactly fit with the Lakers’ desire to win next season.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers COBY WHITE6-foot-5 guard, North CarolinaKey stats: 16.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.1 apg, 35.2 3-point percentageWhite’s speed and voluminous hair created the impression that the Tasmanian Devil was on the court for the Tar Heels last season. He’s got zip and fearless scoring ability, something that was on display in marquee matchups in the ACC last season. What he lacks against the rest of the class as a playmaker and long-range shooter is made up for with his size and ability to get buckets. On the Lakers, however, he’d be an awkward fit on a team that already has several players who need the ball. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersEven the seven spots that separate where the Lakers thought they would pick to where they will pick is significant to the team’s evaluation prospects.Picks in the teens are often home to prospects who are working out and testing as they try to improve their draft position; top-four picks generally withhold information in the interest of not hurting their stock (two possible top-four picks, Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, have already pulled out of the NBA Combine this week).Players such as Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Russell Westbrook and Kristaps Porzingis have been selected fourth. On the less successful end, so have Tyrus Thomas, Wesley Johnson, Cody Zeller and Dragan Bender.Based on available prospect evaluations – and obviously pending important information coming from this week’s combine in Chicago – here’s an early look at whom the Lakers could pick fourth overall should they choose to keep their selection:DARIUS GARLAND6-foot-3 guard, Vanderbilt Shortly before Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery, Rob Pelinka met with Jesse Buss and the rest of the Lakers scouting department to strategize for the NBA Combine. The discussion focused on pick No. 11, which the Lakers had a 77.6 percent chance to land, and which player might be in range to select.So much for all that.“Now it’s a shift: what we can get at four,” Pelinka said, less than an hour after the Lakers had defied the 9.4-percent odds to jump into the top four of the draft. “I will say there are some incredibly talented impact players there that we are going to study deeply.”The June 20 draft in Brooklyn will be headlined by New Orleans’ expected selection of Duke forward Zion Williamson. Two other heralded prospects – Murray State’s Ja Morant and Duke’s R.J. Barrett – are expected to be taken in the top three. Still, the Lakers will be in position to select one of the draft’s most exciting talents – or flip their pick to someone who wants a shot at No. 4.center_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years last_img read more