There are 15 games on the NBA schedule tonight, and only one of them, the contest between the Hawks and Bucks, won’t have any bearing on the 2014 draft order. With the help of our Reverse Standings, I’ve sketched out what’s at stake in each matchup.
Bulls at Bobcats
Charlotte owes its first-rounder to Chicago, so the outcome of tonight’s game could be doubly meaningful for the Bulls. A Chicago win would ensure the Bulls of the No. 16 pick via Charlotte, but it would drop Chicago’s own pick as low as No. 21. If Charlotte wins, the pick it sends to the Bulls might fall to 17th, while the Bulls’ own pick might go as high as No. 19.
Pacers at Magic
The Magic would seal the third-best lottery position with a loss, but a win might drop them to fourth. The Pacers’ pick belongs to the Suns, who’d be assured of No. 27 with an Indiana loss. Phoenix might wind up with No. 26 if the Pacers win.
Mavericks at Grizzlies
Dallas will have a chance to keep its first-round pick if it loses, but only if the Raptors and Bulls both win and the Mavs win a series of coin flips to determine who picks 19th. Otherwise, the selection goes to the Thunder, who might wind up picking as high as 20th if the Mavs lose and as low as 23rd if the Mavs win. The Grizzlies’ pick might go as high as No. 19 with a loss and as low as No. 23 with a win.
Jazz at Timberwolves
The Jazz can have, at best, the third-best chance of winning the lottery with a loss, or, at worst, the fifth best with a win. The Timberwolves are locked into the 13th position for the lottery.
Rockets at Pelicans
Houston might pick as high as 24th with a loss and as low as 27th with a win. New Orleans, which owes its first-rounder to the Sixers unless it wins one of the top three picks in the lottery, will be locked into the 10th lottery position with a win, but the Pelicans might climb into the ninth lottery position with a loss.
Pistons at Thunder
Detroit, which owes Charlotte its pick if it doesn’t wind up eighth or better, will be locked into the eighth lottery position with a win, but the Pistons might climb to seventh if they lose. The Thunder will pick 29th if they win, but they might pick 27th if they lose.
Lakers at Spurs
The Lakers will have the sixth lottery position if they win, but they might move into fifth with a loss. San Antonio is locked into the final pick of the first round.
Wizards at Celtics
Washington owes its selection to the Suns, who’ll pick as high as 16th with a Wizards loss and as low as 18th with a Wizards win. The Celtics might have a lottery position as high as fourth with a loss and as low as sixth with a win.
Nets at Cavaliers
Brooklyn’s pick goes to the Celtics, who’ll pick 18th if the Nets win, though the pick might go to No. 17 if the Nets lose. The Cavs can lock up the ninth lottery position with a loss, but a win could drop them to 10th.
Sixers at Heat
Miami might pick as high as 24th with a loss and as low as 27th with a win. Philadelphia is locked in to the second-best lottery position.
Raptors at Knicks
The Raptors might pick as high as 19th if they lose and as low as 22nd if they win. The Knicks owe their pick to the Nuggets, who in turn owe the Magic the least favorable of the Knicks’ pick and their own pick. Denver and New York are tied, but one of them will finish in the 11th lottery position and the other will finish in the 12th lottery position regardless of tonight’s outcomes.
Clippers at Trail Blazers
The Clippers will pick 28th if they win, but they might drop to 29th if they lose. The Blazers owe their pick to the Bobcats, who’ll pick 24th if Portland wins, but might pick as low as 26th if Portland loses.
Suns at Kings
The Suns are locked into the 14th lottery position. The Kings will have the seventh lottery position if they lose, but they might drop to eighth if they win.
Warriors at Nuggets
The Warriors owe their pick to the Jazz, who’ll pick 23rd if Golden State wins and might pick as high as 21st if Golden State loses. The Nuggets owe the least favorable of their own pick and the Knicks’ pick to the Magic. Denver and New York are tied, but one of them will finish in the 11th lottery position and the other will finish in the 12th lottery position regardless of tonight’s outcomes.