Lakers News: Why The Pelicans’ Losses Are Los Angeles’ Gain

How the Lakers stand to benefit from NOLA’s current slide.

Your Los Angeles Lakers find themselves a bit up against it over the next several weeks.

LA will be without its lone 2023 All-Star, 20-year veteran small forward LeBron James, for at least the ensuing three weeks with a somewhat murkily-defined right tendon injury. 

The team has also been without maximum-salaried starting point guard D’Angelo Russell for the past week due to a sprained right ankle, though it is generally assumed he will be back sooner than James. Star center Anthony Davis missed LA’s last game, a miraculous 123-117 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, due to right foot stress injury maintenance. Thankfully the Brow is at least considered probable to suit up tomorrow against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Backup Los Angeles point guard Dennis Schröder also rolled his ankle against the Thunder yesterday, and may not be able to suit up for the Purple and Gold.

At 30-33, LA is currently the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference, just a game behind the 31-32 New Orleans Pelicans.

New Orleans has been on a major skid of late. Since losing All-Star power forward Zion Williamson, the Pelicans have gone just 8-18, and seem in jeopardy of falling out of the postseason hunt entirely if Williamson doesn’t return soon. The 22-year-old, by the way, has missed more regular season games (175) than he’s played (114) so far in his four-year NBA career, and has more or less never been in good basketball shape.

The Pelicans, as you’ll recall, possess first-round draft pick swap rights with the Lakers this summer. There was a time when it seemed entirely possible that meant the Lakers would be stuck with a selection somewhere in the 20s, as New Orleans started the season off near the top of the Western Conference when healthy. Now, with both clubs seemingly in danger of missing the playoffs entirely, LA could very easily get a lottery pick from New Orleans in what’s supposed to be a loaded draft, as opposed to just giving one up.

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