Portland has one game remaining on their schedule, versus the Utah Jazz on Sunday, but they already have 54 losses to their credit. The Sacramento Kings, just above the Blazers in the standings, have 51 losses with two games to play. They cannot catch Portland. The Indiana Pacers, in the 5th position, lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 133-120 this afternoon, earning their 56th loss. Portland cannot catch them. Whether the Blazers win or lose versus Utah, their place in the overall standings will remain the same.
Portland worked hard to get to this position, losing 20 of their last 22 games, plummeting down the standings list.
The Blazers will now participate in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery drawing on May 17th.
How It Works
Combinations are awarded to the 14 teams who do not make the playoffs in inverse order of record: the team with the worst record has the most combinations, the second-worst the second-most, and so on. Ping pong balls are drawn, much like state and national lotteries, and the combinations are cross-checked with team ledgers. If a team’s combination is drawn, they get the pick being drawn for. The first four picks of the draft are assigned via the lottery process, with picks 5-14 going to the non-winning teams in the inverse order of their records.
Portland has a 9.0% chance of being selected for the first overall pick, with chances increasing by 0.2% for each pick after from 2-4. Cumulatively, that’s a little over a 37% chance of moving up into the Top 4.
By comparison, the three teams with the worst records—the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, and Detroit Pistons or Oklahoma City Thunder—will each have a 14.0% chance at the top pick and a 52.1% chance of securing a Top 4 pick.
Because the lottery determines the first four picks, teams who don’t win it have a chance of being bumped down in the order, if teams behind them move ahead via the drawing. Oddly enough, the Blazers have only an 8.6% chance of staying in 6th place, lower than their odds of moving up to any of the Top 4 slots. They have a 29.8% chance of ending up in 7th and a 20.6% chance of ending up in 8th. They cannot receive anything lower than the 10th pick.
What to Root for Now
With Portland’s place secured, attention now turns to the New Orleans Pelicans, who would convey their 2022 first-round pick to the Blazers if it falls between the 5th-14th selections. That pick comes as a result of the mid-season CJ McCollum trade.
The Pelicans have clinched a berth in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament. The Blazers will receive the pick if New Orleans is eliminated from that tournament without making the playoffs, and if their pick does not end up in the Top 4 in the lottery drawing.
Blazers fans will want to cheer for whomever New Orleans draws in the play-in. If the Pelicans make the playoffs, Portland doesn’t get the pick, having to settle for a 2025 first-rounder belonging to the Milwaukee Bucks instead.
Thanks to Tankathon for making the odds easy to see.