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Where do the Wizards stand in the East and NBA Draft Lottery?

Where do the Wizards stand in the East and NBA Draft Lottery?

Wednesday was an eventful night across the NBA, especially in the Eastern Conference. Four teams hovering around the playoff line played each other: The Wizards beat the Magic and the Heat beat the Pistons. 

As of Thursday morning, Washington is 3.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. 

What’s more, only 5.5 games separate the best and worst of those teams. 

Washington has been on a mini-run heading into Friday’s game against Charlotte, winning two in a row and five of their last 10 games. Where does all this leave them in the East, and conversely, in the NBA Draft Lottery order?

Eastern Conference Standings

The 29-39 Wizards are still 11th in the East, trailing the Pistons (34-33) in seventh, the Heat (32-35) in eighth, the Magic (31-38) in ninth and the Hornets (30-37) in 10th. 

There are 14 games left on the schedule going into Friday’s contest, so the window is not altogether closed on the Wizards’ postseason hopes. 

Let’s say they’ve left it cracked in case they decide to go on a run while other teams skid off track. 

NBA Draft Lottery

Washington’s sudden perkiness might, might pay off with a playoff berth, but it’s dropping them in the lottery order. 

The Wizards had been seventh for several weeks ahead of the Grizzlies out West, but Wednesday's win happened to coincide with a Grizz loss. The teams have now flip-flopped, with Memphis in seventh and Washington in eighth. 

The eighth spot translates to a 26.3 percent chance of a top 4 pick—hello, Duke freshmen!—and six percent odds of the top overall pick. 

Though slipping one spot might not seem like a big deal, think about it this way: Simulating the lottery with the Wizards in eighth place, they would land a top-four pick once in every four simulations. In seventh place, they would land a top-four pick once in every three simulations.

Look Ahead

The Wizards have a good opportunity to nudge open their playoff window on Friday when they host the Hornets, who are 1.5 games ahead of them in the East. 

The very next night, Memphis is coming to town. The Grizzlies are 1.5 games ahead of the Wiz kids in the draft lottery order. 

Games To Watch

Cavaliers at Magic, 7 PM Thursday
Bucks at Heat, 8 PM Friday

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LeBron James reportedly puts together star-studded cast of players for Space Jam 2

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LeBron James reportedly puts together star-studded cast of players for Space Jam 2

LeBron James has begun assembling his team to take on the Monstars in Space Jam 2, and as you'd expect, the roster is full of star power.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson are expected to have key roles, along with WNBA players Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike. Several other NBA and WNBA players, including Nneka's sister Chiney Ogwumike, are expected to appear in the movie.

Fittingly, Davis will be teaming up with James in real life too, after the Lakers acquired the All-Star big man from the Pelicans. 

Space Jam 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on July 16, 2021. The movie will be produced by Black Panther and Creed director Ryan Coogler, while Terence Nance will direct. 

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Memphis Grizzlies have traded veteran point guard Mike Conley, who has played the most games in franchise history, to the Utah Jazz.

The person says the Grizzlies swapped Conley for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver and Grayson Allen. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because neither Memphis nor Utah has announced the trade.

ESPN.com first reported the deal, which it says also includes Utah's No. 23 pick overall in Thursday night's draft. 

Conley was the final piece of the core that led the Grizzlies to seven consecutive playoff berths, including the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen left in 2017 as free agents, and Memphis traded Marc Gasol to Toronto in February, splitting up a duo that had been the NBA's longest-tenured teammates. Gasol went on to help the Raptors win their first NBA title.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has since confirmed that Memphis will also be receiving a 2020 protected first-round pick, which will either convey as a late-lottery pick in 2020 and 2021 or become a lightly-protected pick from 2022-2024. 

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