While slogging through the hills of northern Spain, it was easy to lose track of stories he or she thought were important, before.
Top of the list on the sports side, for me … is the Lakers’ ridiculous five-game winning streak that cost them a chance to have the second-best position in the NBA draft lottery.
Did someone put Jim Buss back in charge, while I was away?
This team had one job, the final two weeks of the season: To make sure it finished with a record worse than the Phoenix Suns.
That would leave them with the second-lowest winning percentage in the NBA and a 55.8 percent chance of getting one of the top three picks when the league sorts out its lottery positions, on May 16.
Now, that they surged all the way up to third-worst (no, you don’t get a reward for that) … their chances of a top-three pick declined to 46.9 percent.
And the flip side is … if that 53.1 percent “not in the top three” comes through, the Lakers lose the pick entirely. It goes to Philadelphia as a delayed punishment for the Steve Nash trade.
It gets worse. If the Lakers are not in the top three of this lottery, they also hand over their No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, to Orlando. Why? Don’t ask. It was about the Jim Buss regime.
However, if the Lakers finish in the top three of this summer’s lottery, they also get to keep that 2019 first-round pick and instead lose two Nos. 2 picks — one in 2018, one in 2019.
Most anyone would take a No. 1 over two No. 2s.
We can trace the Lakers’ failure even to lose properly back to their 122-10 victory at Phoenix on May 11. A defeat — and the Lakers had not won in Phoenix since 2011 — would have left them a comfy three games behind the Suns.
Then it fell to pieces as Phoenix ran off a 13-game losing streak while the Lakers surged to that five-game winning streak, their longest since Kobe Bryant was still Kobe Bryant — four years ago. The streak began when the Lakers could not manage to figure out how to lose to the San Antonio Spurs …
If it turns out the loss of 10 percentage points and the fall to third-most chances to be in the top three costs the Lakers the 2017 first-round pick and the 2019 first-rounder, which would be a disaster for what is turning into a “long-suffering” club … well, someone has some ‘splaining to do.