2019 NBA Draft Lottery odds for the Los Angeles Lakers
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2019 NBA Draft Lottery odds for the Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James, Lakers

Here is something you probably didn’t expect at the beginning of the season: The Los Angeles Lakers are in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery and will have an opportunity to land the No. 1 overall pick on Tuesday night.

Of course, the Lakers don’t exactly have a great chance of having a shot at Zion Williamson, as they have just a 2 percent chance of landing the top overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft. Their most likely selection is No. 11, as they have a 77.6 percent chance of staying put.

For a team that came into the 2018-19 campaign expecting to not only make the playoffs but challenge in the Western Conference, this has to be a rather harsh reality.

When Los Angeles signed LeBron James last summer, all bets were off. While sane minds knew that just adding James to what was a very young and inexperienced Lakers roster would not put LA above the Golden State Warriors, everyone also understood that James was still probably the best player in the league at the time and had a history of making so-so rosters look really, really good.

But things never happened that way in LeBron’s first year in Hollywood.

The Lakers got off to a slow start, and while they did make a push in December to reach 20-14, James ended up injuring his groin during a Christmas win over the Warriors and was sidelined for a month.

Trade rumors then split the team apart, as not even James’ return in late January saved the Lakers from their fate. As a matter of fact, LeBron’s presence seemed to make things even worse, as the young players no longer trusted James after he tried to get them dealt for Anthony Davis.

To put the cherry on top, Magic Johnson stepped down as team president at the end of the season.

Obviously, the Lakers are entering a pivotal offseason, and a lottery surprise would definitely make things much easier. Pairing Zion Williamson with LeBron would be intriguing, but the pick would most likely be traded if luck is on LA’s side.