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Pacific Notes: Lakers, Johnson, Knight

The Lakers seem to have quite a bit of turmoil surrounding the team, writes Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports. Dwyer cites the franchise’s dismissal of new technology and advanced statistics as reasons to why Los Angeles could spend a considerable amount of time in the cellar of the Western Conference. Coach Byron Scott’s disdain for analytics is well documented and Dwyer points out that the Lakers were one of the last teams in the NBA to install SportVU cameras that allow the tracking of player movement on the court. Such drawbacks could severely hinder the team’s chances of competing for a championship in the near future. Having said all this, if the Lakers can hold onto their 2015 first-round draft pick, which will head to Philadelphia if it doesn’t fall within the top five, the team could see a turnaround sooner. Los Angeles has a record of 16-41, the fourth worst in the league and, as our Reverse Standings indicate, it has a decent shot at keeping its pick.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Wesley Johnson has enjoyed his time in Los Angeles and hopes to be in the Lakers‘ future plans, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News“I want to definitely stay here,” said Johnson, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. “I like coach Scott and the whole coaching staff. I love it here. I definitely want to be a part of when they get back.” Johnson is currently making slightly more than $981K this season.
  • A high draft pick is what the Lakers need but Scott doesn’t see obtaining one as a goal this season, writes Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. “We’re not trying to tank games,” Scott said. “We’re going to try to win every game and whatever happens after that with the lottery pick, happens. I think if you go into it saying. ‘We’re going to lose every game to see if we can get the best pick,’ I think it backfires on you.”
  • The Suns believe new addition Brandon Knight can be a team leader, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. “He understands the game, so that’s always helpful,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “If you’re out there just relying on athletic ability, it’s tough to talk because maybe you don’t even know what’s going on. When you get a smart player who understands the game, I think he’ll help us offensively to get into things.” The 23-year-old will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

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