For much of the season, it looked like the Minnesota Timberwolves would finish with the worst record in the NBA.
And that's exactly what the Warriors -- who own Minnesota's 2021 top-three protected selection -- have wanted all along, because if that happened the Warriors would have entered the NBA draft lottery with an 11.97 percent chance of getting the No. 4 overall pick and a 47.86 percent chance of landing the No. 5 overall pick.
But now it is all but certain that the Houston Rockets will finish at the very bottom.
The T-Wolves beat Houston on Tuesday night, have won three straight and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. And when you look at their remaining schedule, it is entirely possible they finish with the league's fifth-worst record.
For the sake of this exercise, let's assume this is what materializes. In that event, these would be the lottery odds:
No. 1 pick: 10.5 percent No. 2 pick: 10.54 percent No. 3 pick: 10.56 percent No. 4 pick: 10.53 percent No. 5 pick: 2.22 percent No. 6 pick: 19.61 percent No. 7 pick: 26.74 percent No. 8 pick: 8.68 percent No. 9 pick: 0.62 percent
When you add up the numbers, the Warriors would have a 68.4 percent chance of having the pick conveyed. And if the ping-pong balls determine that Minnesota keeps it this year, the Warriors then would possess the T-Wolves unprotected first-rounder in 2022.
So yes, the Warriors want to beat Minny on Thursday night for two reasons -- it will help with their playoff positioning AND give them the best chance of having the lottery go in their favor.
Also of note -- The T-Wolves (19-44) are jockeying with the Orlando Magic (18-43) and Detroit Pistons (19-43) at the bottom of the standings, and play at the Magic and Pistons on May 9 and May 11 respectively.
Warriors fans should be very interested in who wins those matchups.