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.
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
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- 2019 NBA Draft: Pre-March Madness Mock Draft
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- Perspective: Wiz players offer different viewpoints on Westbrook fan incident