With just one game left in the 2012-13 regular season, the Washington Wizards' lottery position is far from resolved. They can still finish anywhere between sixth-worst and ninth-worst this season depending on what happens in tomorrow's season finale against the Chicago Bulls and elsewhere in the Association.
The Bulls now have something to play for, one way or the other, after the Atlanta Hawks laid down in a blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. The Bulls and Hawks have identical records, but Chicago owns the tiebreaker. A win gets the Bulls the No. 5 seed and a date with the Brooklyn Nets. A loss, combined with a Hawks win over the resting New York Knicks, pushes the Bulls down to No. 6 against the Indiana Pacers. Of course, the Bulls could tank to get the No. 6 seed and avoid the Miami Heat until the conference finals. It almost seemed like Atlanta was doing that last night.
But the Wizards' ultimate draft position will also depend on the Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Kings are one game worse than the Wizards, the Pistons are tied and the Timberwolves are one game better. The Kings plays the Clippers in possibly their final home game in Sacramento, the Pistons face resting Brooklyn and Minnesota faces likely-resting San Antonio, who is locked into the No. 2 seed.
Here's a rundown of scenarios:
If the Wizards lose:
- They will finish in a tie for sixth/seventh with the Kings if Sacramento wins. The tie will become a three-way tie if the Pistons lose.
- They will finish all by themselves in seventh if the Pistons win and the Kings lose.
- They will finish in a tie for seventh/eight with the Pistons if Sacramento and Detroit both lose.
- They cannot finish in ninth.
If the Wizards win:
- They cannot finish in sixth.
- They will remain in a tie for seventh/eighth with the Pistons if Detroit wins.
- They will drop to eighth if the Pistons lose.
- They will drop to a tie for eighth/ninth with Minnesota if the Timberwolves lose. The Pistons join this tie if they also win.
If you're rooting for ping-pong balls, root for a loss and a Sacramento win. Or, just root for 30 wins and take the peace of mind.