At the beginning of the week, the Washington Wizards had 12 games left on the schedule and needed to win a minimum of eight or nine of those games if they hoped to make the playoffs.
It’s Thursday night and Washington’s loss to the Jazz makes three in a row.
With nine games left on the schedule, where do they stand in the East postseason race and the draft lottery order?
Eastern Conference Standings
Losing three-straight games hasn’t actually dropped the Wizards from the 11th spot in the East, where they’ve hovered the last couple weeks. For that they can thank the tanking Atlanta Hawks.
Don’t think those L’s aren’t costing Washington, though. In the same span of time, the 8-seed Heat have won three in a row.
Now Bradley Beal and Co. are a full six games out of the final playoff spot with nine games to go. They also trail Orlando (34-38) in ninth and Charlotte (32-39) in 10th.
They’re not absolutely, certainly, 100-percent eliminated from playoff contention, but they must win every game left.
Even that might not be enough.
NBA Draft Lottery
Back-to-back-to-back losses took a major toll on whatever playoff hopes Washington had left. For a silver lining, look no further than the team’s draft lottery position.
The Wizards started the week ninth in the draft lottery order, which gave them 20.3 percent odds of scoring a top-four pick (preferably in the form of a Duke freshman or Ja Morant). That ninth spot also carries a 4.5 percent chance at the top-overall pick.
While the Wiz kids were busy dropping 3 games, the two teams immediately ahead of them in the lottery order had better luck.
The Grizzlies won their only game so far this week, while the Pelicans won one of two.
Those results dropped New Orleans to number nine, boosted Washington to number eight and left them tied with Memphis at 15.5 games out of number one in the lottery order (though Memphis’s win percentage is fractionally lower and keeps them in seventh).
If the Wizards can pass the Grizzlies and climb into seventh, that’s a big deal in terms of lottery odds. Simulating the drawing, the ninth-place team gets a top-four pick once in every five simulations. The seventh-place team gets a top-four pick once in every three simulations.
Washington can’t lose another game if they want to make the playoffs. This is literally must-win territory.
Even winning out is no guarantee they’ll advance to the postseason.
Up next, Washington hosts Miami at home on Saturday, followed by a West Coast road trip the following week.
Games to Watch
Heat at Wizards, Saturday 7 PM
Timberwolves at Grizzlies, Saturday 8 PM
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- Agent Zero is Back: Gilbert Arenas to captain BIG3's Enemies
- Early Returns: How does Otto Porter trade look six weeks later
- Roster Turnover: Franchise-record 25 players have suited up for Wiz in 2018-19