Magic Johnson gets how winning teams are built. You don't snag star players by being the 10th-best team in the league.

In the NBA, the best teams start from the bottom. And that's where he hopes the Los Angeles Lakers are headed.

"I hope the Lakers lose every game, because if you're going to lose, lose," said Johnson to Newsday. "I’m serious. If you're going to lose, you have to lose, because you can't be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great or you have to be bad, to get a good (draft) pick."


Fans may not like to hear it, but that's the truth of how the NBA works. A single player can make a huge impact on a team, but only a few known commodities are available in the NBA draft every year.

If you aren't one of the first teams drafting, you likely miss out on that talent -- which makes it harder to rebuild.

"I'd rather be all the way bad than be in the middle," Johnson.

The Lakers great almost has his wish: At 5-16, the Lakers are among the NBA's worst teams. But the Sixers and Pistons have even fewer wins than the Lakers do, and Minnesota and New York are both tied with four wins each, heading into Tuesday night's action.

To increase the odds of a better pick, Los Angeles might have to do even worse.

Another consideration is that if the Lakers' first-round pick this season falls between first and fifth overall, they will retain the draft choice. But if it is sixth or lower, the pick goes to the Suns, as part of the Steve Nash trade.

Johnson's presumable hope is that last year's first-round pick, Julius Randle, along with a high pick in next year's draft and one or two strong free agents picked up over the summer, can join Kobe Bryant to pose a formidable threat on the court next year.

In the meantime, the Lakers are something of a circus act -- a bizarre show so bad it's hard to see a couple new players making much of a difference.

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