Today, April 9, is the final day of the NBA’s regular season. All 30 teams will take the court with some crucial games deciding playoff seeding, play-in tournament positions, and final draft lottery odds. The Portland Trail Blazers only care about the last of those three, because who needs the playoffs when you just got an All-NBA season from your franchise star?
The quartet of teams teams with the best lottery odds are set with the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Charlotte Hornets.
The rest of the order has yet to be determined, though.
Entering the day, the Blazers own the rights to the fifth-best odds at the No. 1 overall pick, but they’re not guaranteed to end the day in that position.
Which scenarios need to play out for Portland to earn those fifth-best odds, and where can the Blazers land if they don’t?
2023 NBA Draft Lottery odd scenarios for Blazers
There are three teams “fighting” for the fifth-best odds. Portland enters the day 33-48, while the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers sit at 34-47.
- Scenario A: Portland loses to the Golden State Warriors
- This one’s simple. If the Blazers lose to Golden State, they finish with the fifth-worst record in the league (33-49). Andrew Wiggins remains out, Stephen Curry is probable, and no other key Warriors are listed on the injury report, so the outlook is sunny.
- Scenario B: Portland wins, Pacers beats the New York Knicks, Magic lose to the Miami Heat
- If Orlando loses and Portland wins, the Blazers and Magic will end the season with identical 34-48 records. If the Pacers win, they finish the year at 35-47 and are out of this conversation.
- In the case of a tiebreaker, Tankathon tells us, “Tied lottery teams split their ping pong balls evenly, and any odd remainder and the better draft order position are given to the random drawing winner.” So in this case, Orlando and Portland would split their ping pong balls, and the remainder and final position would be decided through a random drawing.
- Scenario C: Portland wins, Pacers lose to Knicks, Magic beat Heat
- The same as scenario B, but flip Orlando and Indiana
- Scenario D: Portland wins, Pacers lose to Knicks, Magic lose to Heat
- This is the worst case scenario for the Blazers. All three teams would end the season with 34-48 records, so the tiebreaker above would come into play, except the ping pong balls would be split three ways instead of two, and the random drawing would include an extra team.
If the Blazers lose, nothing else matters. If they win, things could get complicated. But they’ve been tanking games for weeks; just hold on for one more game.