The Minnesota Timberwolves have been the NBA’s worst team for much of the season’s second half but not recently. After a victory last night vs the Sacramento Kings, the Wolves jumped the Houston Rockets in the league standings and moved just 2.5 games away from losing their stranglehold on a top-3 spot in the NBA Draft Lottery (bottom-3 in NBA standings).
The Wolves have 13 games remaining and have won 4 of their last 6. That’s way too healthy a pace to keep up with the 4 of every 5 games (on average) that teams are losing around them. That’s why the likes of Oklahoma City (losers of 11-straight) and Orlando (1-9 in last 10) have climbed into this conversation.
In other news, the Timberwolves are trying hurt their chances in the NBA Draft Lottery. 2.5 games from falling out of the bottom three. pic.twitter.com/vHGY5P3pwj— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) April 21, 2021
Winning or Lottery
Because of how the NBA Draft Lottery is structured, the top-3 (or bottom-3) teams all have a 14% chance of landing the #1 overall pick. But, it also means that even the worst teams can fall down the board when the balls start bouncing. Losing the most games far from guarantees you a top-3 pick like it used to. In fact, the Wolves’ odds to land a top-3 pick in 2021 is 30-40% no matter where they land in the bottom-5 of the standings.
In case you’ve forgotten, the Minnesota Timberwolves will lose their pick to the Golden State Warriors if it falls out of the top-3. Obviously, you want to have the best possible odds of keeping that pick but there’s a 60%+ chance that they lose it no matter what.
Because of that, I can’t blame Gersson Rosas or Chris Finch for prioritizing W’s over what might be a 5-10% difference in the Wolves’ keeping their 2021 NBA Draft pick. Landing a top-3 pick would be worth losing more games. But upping your chances by that small of a percent isn’t.
Lottery Standings Watch for April 21st:
OKC (2 games up on Orlando) take on the Pacers
The Pistons (tied with Orlando) are in Dallas to play the Mavs
T-wolves (2.5 games back of Orlando) are playing the Kings
Rockets (3 games behind Orlando & worst in the NBA) host the Jazz— The Sixth Man Show (@SixthManShow) April 21, 2021
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan