The Wizards lost to the Knicks last night to drop them to 34-44 on the season. The loss eliminated them from playoff contention, or more realistically play-in contention. On the bright side, this does mean the Wizards will keep their first-round draft pick. We will discuss it in more detail on this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast, but I thought it would be good to provide some context on what being eliminated means from a draft perspective.
If the season ended today, the Wizards would have the 7th best odds in the NBA Draft Lottery. They are essentially tied with Orlando for 7th right now and are two games worse than Utah, who is currently in 9th place, with only four games left to play. In all likelihood, they are probably locked into, at worst, the 8th-best odds.
Worst case scenario, if the Wizards were to drop to 8th in the odds, there’s a 31.1% chance they could end up dropping to the 9th pick and 6.6% chance of winding up with the 10th pick. There is also a .4% chance they could drop to 11th but that seems unlikely (if I just jinxed us, you have my permission to launch me into the sun on draft night).
Let’s say they stay where they are and end up with the 7th best odds. They would have a 6.8% chance at landing the first pick, 7.1% at second, 7.5% at third, and 7.9% at fourth. Math was never my strong suit, which is partly why I picked journalism as a major, but that should leave the Wizards with a 29.3% chance of winding up with a top-4 pick.
Additionally, they’d have a 19.7% chance at staying in 7th place, a 35.6% chance of falling to 8th, a 13.7% chance at 9th, and a .2% chance of dropping to the 10th pick. As you can see, there’s real statistical significance to finishing as low as possible here, which is why their record these last few games mattered so much. Just in case there are any anti-tanking broadcasters out there reading this.