first_imgThis year, the Lakers have less wiggle room. They will owe the pick to the Sixers unless it lands in the top three. The Lakers currently have a 55.8 percent chance of that happening, while holding 19.9 percent odds of landing the No. 1 pick. “You’re always happy to be in the game,” Scott said. “But no matter what, you still have to do your due diligence. If you lose it, you lose it. You have to be prepared to have the pick.”Scott has stressed all year that neither the coaching staff nor his players have lost games intentionally. That has just happened naturally amid Kobe Bryant’s physical limitations and an inexperienced roster. But Scott reported the Lakers’ scouting department have watched 15-20 games of top prospects in case possibly the franchise’s worst season results in a consolation prize. Scott also admitted he has occasionally watched games featuring top players, including LSU (Ben Simmons), Duke (Brandon Ingram) and North Carolina (Brice Johnson). Scott may watch more once the NCAA Tournament starts on Thursday. Yet, Scott said he does not watch many games because of his heavy schedule with the Lakers. Scott watched only two of D’Angelo Russell’s games at Ohio State last year before learning the Lakers landed at No. 2. Instead, Scott said he “absolutely” put more stock in evaluating Russell during pre-draft workouts. “You also have scouts watching those kids,” Scott said. “They’ve seen them a whole lot more than you have.”Hence, Scott’s involvement in the Lakers’ pre-draft preparations last year mostly entailed being the team’s representative during lottery night in New York City.Will Scott and Lakers spokesman John Black make the trip on May 17 again? “That hasn’t been decided,” Scott said, laughing. “Our luck may have ran out.”But Scott’s luck trumped that of former Lakers teammate James Worthy, who was the team’s draft representative in 2014 when the Lakers landed at No. 7. The Lakers used that pick to selected Julius Randle. Said Scott: “His luck can turn around.”Injury updateLakers forward Brandon Bass missed Tuesday’s game against Sacramento because of a corneal abrasion in his right eye. Scott expects Bass will return to practice on Wednesday, but he may need to wear goggles. After already filling out his bracket for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Lakers coach Byron Scott sounded confident about his selections. But Scott politely declined to share his predictions out of fear of jinxing himself. That also might explain Scott’s neutral feelings on the Lakers chances to retain their top-three protected pick. “I don’t have a feeling right now,” Scott said before the Lakers hosted the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday at Staples Center. “I didn’t have a good feeling until the night of the lottery (last year).”Then, Scott maintained he told friends privately the Lakers would land the No. 2 pick despite having the NBA’s fourth-worst record. As the Lakers’ draft representative, Scott then witnessed his prediction coming true. The Lakers punted on having to trade their then top-five protected pick to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash trade.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more