Warriors

Why Dubs landing top-five pick looks increasingly unlikely

Warriors
NBA draft lottery

The Warriors remain in the driver's seat to clinch one of the Western Conference's four spots in the play-in tournament.

The same can't necessarily be said about landing one of the 2021 NBA Draft's five best players.

In case you need a refresher, Golden State keeps the Minnesota Timberwolves' first-round pick if it doesn't finish in the top three of the draft lottery. Currently, the Timberwolves' selection has a 34.1 percent chance of staying in Minnesota's hands, according to Tankathon.

That's good news for the Warriors, who have nearly a two-thirds chance of landing a lottery pick. The bad news? Sunday's results -- including the Timberwolves' blowout win over the Orlando Magic and losses by the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder -- would give the Warriors little chance of landing a top-five player.

The Timberwolves ended Sunday with the NBA's sixth-worst record. If it ended the season in that spot, Minnesota's pick would have an 11.2 percent chance of being No. 4 overall and a 0 percent chance of finishing No. 5. That, essentially, would give the Warriors slightly better than a 1-in-10 chance of picking in the top five.

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Hypothetically, Golden State's chances of picking fourth or fifth are best if Minnesota ends the season with one of the league's three worst records. If the Timberwolves have the worst record, the pick has a 59.9 percent chance of being fourth or fifth. That drops to 39.7 percent with the second-worst record, and 27.4 percent with the third-worst.

 

The Timberwolves can no longer finish with the league's worst record, as they're five games clear of the last-place Houston Rockets, who only have four games remaining. If they beat the Pistons on Tuesday, they'll be 2.5 games clear and Detroit would only have two games left.

Meanwhile, the Cavs and Magic play the remainder of their schedules against teams currently in play-in position, while the Thunder have two of their last three against the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.

The more teams that finish worse than the Timberwolves in the final standings, the further the Warriors could be from selecting someone like Jalen Suggs. As the regular season winds down, that's a draft outlook Golden State will have to get used to.

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