Even with his recent increase in scoring, if Sacramento is interested in actually winning the game, they should try and push him to the perimeter. The 2016-17 season is almost, mercifully over. Now, the team is looking their next win over Los Angeles Lakers. We want to get better in all aspects of the game.
There's an elephant in the room, of course - or in this case, the gym. "Originally, he was on no minutes restriction, but with the pain (he is now)", Walton said.
The Silver and Black reached the 60-win mark for the seventh time in franchise history with a hard-fought 95-89 overtime victory against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night at the AT&T Center.
At this point, it sounds like a broken record, but it bears repating: the Lakers benefit from losing games. The Spurs and Lakers have the two best overall winning percentages in National Basketball Association history. Back in 2015, the Sixers received a first-round pick from the Lakers (via the Suns) in the three-team trade that sent Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks. While the second-seeded Spurs are gathering momentum for a deep playoff run, the Lakers are in "tank mode" with hopes of holding onto their top-3 protected draft pick in June's NBA Draft Lottery.
In truth, a coin flip would take place due to the odd number of lottery balls for the combination of the no. 2 and no. 3 lottery seeds, and the victor of the coin flip would earn one extra ball in the lottery and also technically hold the no. 2 spot in the lottery. This all but seals the Lakers' position as having the third-best lottery ends, which is effectively a nine percent swing against their favor. The Spurs have eight wins out of last ten played games.
Luke Walton has already shut down a healthy Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov for the rest of the year and D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson are questionable for tonight, while up-and-coming rookie Brandon Ingram is probable. Spurs guards Danny Green and Manu Ginobili sat out the contest with injuries of their own in a sloppy game where San Antonio trailed by as many as 26 points, before a late rally.
If Ingram suits up, comparing the lanky 19-year-old's impact on the game to his 23-year-old Kings' counterpart influence on the proceedings should make for an interesting side bar. San Antonio has five games left, Golden State four. The fourth game between Lakers vs Spurs' first ball is scheduled to tip-off at 08:30 pm ET.
According to SB Nation's Tom Ziller, the Lakers will have a 55% chance of retaining their pick if they have the second-worst record, a 47% chance if they have the third-worst record, and a 51% chance if they tie the Phoenix Suns for the second-worst record.