Blazers still not assured to keep their pick

The Portland Trailblazers are in good position to keep their pick but it's not assured. With two games to go it's still possible for the Blazers to finish with anywhere from the 10th to the 14th pick. How can this happen? When the season ends, only draft lottery position is secured. While incredibly unlikely, 13th or 14th position (or both, the lightning strikes twice scenario) could move up, displacing all the positions in front of them one or two positions higher. So the team in 12th position can't celebrate until after the lottery is conducted.

Currently, Portland and Philadelphia are tied and if the season ended today would only know their pick after the lottery and after the coin flip to break the tie. For the lottery, there's virtually no difference between 11th and 12th position, just one chance out of 1000 (one extra ping pong ball, 11th gets 8 and 12th gets 7). In a tie, the number of chances are added together and split in two (I don't know who gets awarded the extra chance, i.e. 8 plus 7 is 15 so one team gets 8 and the other 7).

For draft position, the tie breaker is a coin flip. So, from the draft position point of view it is much more desirable from Portland's point of view to be assured the 11 position outright. 11th pick is better than 12 pick, right?

Here are the games that are left with each teams current streak, looks like it could still go either way.

Portland: @ L.A. Clippers, vs Golden State - lost 11

Philadelphia: @ Detroit, @ Indiana - won 2

There's a new wrinkle however, a new team has entered the race, Toronto has gotten hot a just the right time and is only one game back of Philadelphia and Portland. So, with two games to go it's a three team race for draft lottery position 10 through 12.

Toronto: @Atlanta, Boston - won 3

Portland could finish in 10th position outright with 2 loses, two Toronto wins and at least one Philadelphia win. Anything less and the Blazers have to wait until after the lottery to find out if they keep their pick (no matter how unlikely it is to lose it). Then they would have to endure the coin flips to break any ties to find out their final draft position.

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