A look at the NBA Draft lottery battle
New Jersey and Minnesota have locked up the two worst records in the league so I won't even discuss them. Just pencil them in as the two worst teams.
Golden State (20-52, entering Sunday night) is the favorite for the third worst record. The Warriors have six of their final nine games on the road, where they are 4-30 this season. Two of Golden State’s three home games are against playoff teams in Utah and Oklahoma City. Don’t be shocked if the Warriors win just one more game or lose out, preventing Don Nelson from becoming the NBA’s all-time winningest coach.
Predicted finish: 21-61, 15.6 percent chance of winning No. 1 overall pick
Washington (21-51) has lost 15 straight and likely won’t win more than three games the rest of the season. The Wizards have road games at Houston, New Orleans, Orlando, Boston and New York, which are all likely losses. Washington has winnable home games against New Jersey and Golden State, but the Wizards could easily loss those games with the way they are playing right now.
Predicted finish: 23-59, 11.9 percent chance
Detroit (23-50) has lost eight straight and it’s hard to find many wins in their nine remaining games. The Pistons remaining four home games are against teams likely to make the playoffs (Miami, Phoenix, Atlanta and Toronto). Games at Philadelphia and Minnesota are winnable, but Detroit is just 7-29 on the road this season. Anything can happen, but with the way the Pistons have been playing defensively lately, two wins appears optimistic.
Predicted finish: 25-57, 8.8 percent chance
Sacramento (24-50) is the team most likely to overtake the Pistons for the fifth worst record. The Kings have road games at Indiana and Minnesota before five straight at home. But Sacramento host the likes of Portland, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and the Clippers before ending the season on the road against the Lakers. Can’t see the Kings winning more than three games with that schedule.
Predicted finish: 27-55, 6.3 percent chance
Philadelphia (26-47) appears to be one of the only teams in this group with a pulse. The 76ers have won two straight and over playoff teams in Milwaukee and Atlanta. Philadelphia has a tough schedule with Detroit and Toronto the only teams on its schedule with a losing record and the Raptors are fighting for the final playoff spot in the East. The 76ers recent success aside, it will be tough for them to win three games.
Predicted finish: 28-54, 4.3 percent chance
Don’t count out the Knicks (26-46), Pacers (27-47) and Clippers (27-45, entering Sunday night) from slipping up in the Draft Lottery, but it’s unlikely the Pistons will finish ahead of any of these teams.