- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It's a far cry from the normal championship-or-bust mentality the Los Angeles Lakers operate under, but this year's team has settled on a goal for the remaining 15 games of the regular season nonetheless.
It's trying to avoid the record books.
"We just got to finish the year off not being the worst team in Lakers history," said Nick Young, who will play Friday against the Washington Wizards for the first time since Feb. 23 because of a left knee injury. "I talked to Pau (Gasol) about it and he's been on me about coming back, so I'm trying to come back and help the team out."
It isn't going to be easy. The Lakers (22-45) would need to finish 9-6 to eclipse the franchise mark for futility set in 1974-75, when the team went 30-52. L.A. comes into the Washington game Friday night having only won nine of its last 41 games.
"I think the goal is to try to get 30-plus [wins]," Young said. "It's been tough. Just sitting back and watching and seeing some of the games when we just get killed out there, that's frustrating. But it is what it is. Like I said, we all talked, and we don't want to be the worst team in Lakers history."
The Lakers currently have the fifth-worst record in the league, with the Milwaukee Bucks (13-55), Philadelphia 76ers (15-53), Orlando Magic (19-50) and Utah Jazz (22-47) as the only teams struggling more than they are.
L.A. plays the Bucks, Magic and Jazz down the stretch, but 11 of its 12 remaining games other than those three are against teams with a .500 record or better and the other game is against the New York Knicks, who have won seven games in a row.
"I'm not used to this at all and that's the frustrating part," Young said. "I know it's tough for the fans, especially when you see the other team across from us (the Los Angeles Clippers) doing so well and we're getting blown out by 50 by them, it's sad. And it's frustrating. But I just say, 'Stick with us.' Everybody has a down time, but you got [nowhere] to look but up."