The Los Angeles Lakers’ 6-16 start to this season is painful for fans and Laker greats alike. That includes Magic Johnson.
The Hall of Famer, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, doesn’t like seeing his former team near the bottom of the league’s pile. But he has a suggestion on how the franchise can turn things around for the future — keep losing this season and snatch a top draft pick.
“I hope the Lakers lose every game,” Johnson told ESPN on Tuesday in New York City, where he received the prestigious Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award at Sports Illustrated’s annual Sportsman of the Year ceremony. “Because if you’re going to lose, lose. And I’m serious.”
After scoring 32 points and leading the Lakers to a 98-95 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant was asked about Johnson’s suggestion and commented that the Hall of Famer was simply speaking from an “owner’s perspective.”
“He’s used to being an owner. He’s an owner of the Dodgers. He was an owner of the Lakers. That’s speaking from an owner’s perspective. I think the fans — or hopefully some of them — are probably smart enough to understand his perspective as an owner. I certainly am,” Bryant told reporters. “Magic is one of the most competitive players of all time. He doesn’t want to lose. From an owner’s perspective, his opinion is to get top picks and to be able to use those as leverage to trade and get a competitive team and so on. From where I’m sitting, I just look at his point of view.”
Johnson took to his Twitter account Tuesday night to reinforce that notion of the Lakers losing to improve via the 2015 NBA Draft.
“Laker Nation: Today in NY, I said I hope the Lakers don't win too many games because I want them to have the 1st or 2nd pick in the draft,” he tweeted. “Last years draft there were no superstars. This year there are about 3-4 superstars in college basketball and we need one of them! Laker Nation: I don't want the team to finish in the middle of the pack and get a 10th-14th pick because that won't do us any good.”
Duke center Jahlil Okafor, for example, figures to be a top pick in the draft, at 6-foot-11 and 272 pounds of force in the paint.
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