NBA Western Power Rankings Week 8: Clippers hang onto 4th

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Dec 23, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) during the fourth quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

15th: Los Angeles Lakers (3 points)

By Jose Salviati

Record: 5-24

Last 10 games: 2-8

The Kobe Bryant Travelling Farewell Show, otherwise known as the Los Angeles Lakers, continues to putt-putt through their schedule. There is no doubt that Laker games became a lot more interesting since the announcement that Bryant was retiring after this season. Now, watching the future Hall of Famer hoist up air balls is somehow easier to swallow knowing that it will all end soon.

Aside from Bryant the Lakers have a host of problems. D’Angelo Russel has looked OK, but wouldn’t be taken second if you could re-pick the draft today (the Lakers would take Kristaps Porzingis if they had a do-over). Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. all look like serviceable players, but there is no star in the bunch and Los Angeles needs stars.

Which brings us to the draft. Here the Lakers become a very interesting franchise. They will lose their 2016 pick if it falls out of the top three. Should they finish bad enough to “earn” a top three spot in the lottery then they have at least a chance to draft LSU’s Ben Simmons. If you listen closely you can hear the conspiracy theorists theorizing. Simmons to the Lakers in 2016 would shake up the NBA in a way similar to Patrick Ewing to the Knicks did in 1985.

The Lakers have gone 2-3 over their last five contests, but the real game for this team is on January 1, 2016. That’s when they meet the Philadelphia 76ers in a must-lose game!

Next: New Orleans Pelicans