The Portland Trail Blazers are now safely out of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. They will hold at least one lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Where they finish in the lottery order has yet to be decided, though. The picture changes day to day. Here’s your update explaining the remaining possibilities on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022.
Portland’s 27-52 record leaves them with the 6th worst record in the NBA. They have three games remaining on the schedule: the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, and the Utah Jazz on Sunday. Portland’s best possible record is 30-52, the worst 27-55.
With a loss minimum of 52 and maximum of 55, the Blazers can finish no higher than the 7th-worst record in the league, no lower than a tie for the 4th-worst. We know Portland will end their season with the 4th-7th best lottery odds.
Those possibilities are not equally probable, though.
Getting Better Lottery Odds
The next two teams below the Blazers in the standings are the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Both of them have 55 losses right now, joined in a tie for the 4th/5th-worst records. In order to join that tie, the Blazers would need to lose all three of their games while the Thunder and Pacers each win all of their remaining games. If the Thunder lose just one more game, the Blazers cannot catch them. The same holds true for the Pacers. Here are their schedules:
Oklahoma City: @Jazz, @Lakers, @Clippers
Indiana: @Sixers, @Nets
It’s not likely that those two teams will win all five games between them. Practically speaking, the Blazers will not move to 4th, and probably won’t fall any lower in the standings.
Getting Worse Lottery Odds
The Sacramento Kings are right above the Blazers with a 29-51 record. The two teams are separated by only one loss.
The Kings have two games remaining on their schedule: @Clippers and @Suns.
If they lose both those games, Sacramento will finish with a 29-53 record. This is as low as they can go. Portland has 52 losses already. The Blazers are in control of their own destiny. If they lose one more game, the best the Kings can do is tie them. If Portland loses two games, they will finish below the Kings in the standings.
What to Watch For
If/when the Pacers OR Thunder lose one more game, Portland cannot get the 4th spot.
If/when the Pacers AND Thunder each lose one more game, Portland will no longer be able to get to the 5th spot.
If the Blazers win one more game, Portland will no longer be able to get to the 4th or 5th spots no matter what Indiana and OKC do.
Any combination of two Kings wins and/or Blazers losses will leave Portland no worse than the 6th spot.
What Happens in a Tie?
If teams finish in a tie for draft position, with identical records, the tie is broken by a coin flip.
Portland’s next game is Thursday. The Kings and Pacers do not play until Saturday. But the Thunder play the Jazz tonight. Again, if Oklahoma City loses that game, Portland will be out of the running for the 4th spot.