Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Final Night Scoreboard Watching

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 9:19 AM

The Grizzlies end their season tonight with a home game against the Atlanta Hawks, but this isn't the only game Griz fans should be following.

Right now, only two games separate three teams — the Oklahoma City Thunder has 22 wins, the Grizzlies have 23 wins, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have 24 wins. And both of those teams have dangerously winnable games tonight: the Thunder are on the road against the 19-win Los Angeles Clippers while the Wolves host the league-worst 16-win Sacramento Kings.

This means that, while the Griz are currently slotted 5th in the draft lottery, they could end up anywhere from 4th to 6th depending on the outcomes of tonight's games and any potential coin-flip tiebreakers. (A Thunder win and Griz loss would give the Griz a shot at 4th. A Griz win and Wolves loss would put the Griz in danger of sliding to 6th.)

Getting the top pick is a longshot regardless, but this does change the odds in a meaningful way: Teams slotted fourth have a 11.9% chance of winning the lottery. Those odds fall to 8.8% in fifth and 6.3% in sixth.

The more likely impact is lowering or raising the basement on the pick: Fourth-seeded lottery teams can pick no lower than 7th, fifth-seeded teams 8th, and sixth-seeded teams 9th.

I won't be able to make it to tonight's finale due to family commitments, but will catch up with it on DVR later tonight and will have some season-ending thoughts in this space tomorrow.

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