Tuesday, September 27 2022

With the worst record in the Western Conference, the 2022 NBA playoffs are already off the table for the Houston Rockets. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to watch for over the season’s final weeks.

From now until the regular season’s conclusion on April 10, we’re regularly updating where the Rockets stand in relation to their closest “competitors” in the race for 2022 NBA draft odds and positioning.

Houston owns two picks in this year’s first round: Their own, and one from Brooklyn. For purposes of these updates, we’re going to focus on teams who are currently (at the time of publication) within three games in either direction of both the Rockets and Nets in the standings.

After a second straight season at the bottom of the West, will the Rockets land another elite prospect such as Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, or Paolo Banchero for their troubles? Scroll on for the latest updates as of March 1, along with information on odds and tiebreaker scenarios.

Tuesday’s most relevant results (March 1)

It is beneficial to the eventual landing spot of both picks for teams in the closest standings proximity to Houston and Brooklyn to win. The reverse is true when it comes to each team’s own results, since the best-case outcomes for draft odds and slots arise from having a worse record.

With that in mind, here’s the teams to focus on, as of March 2.

Teams within three games of Houston: Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons

Teams within three games of Brooklyn: Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors

Tuesday’s games involving any of those teams:

  • Wizards 116, Pistons 113

  • Celtics 107, Hawks 98

  • Raptors 109, Nets 108

  • Clippers 113, Rockets 100

  • Timberwolves 129, Warriors 114

(NBA scores)

Wednesday’s most relevant games (March 2)

Teams within three games of Houston: Magic, Pistons

Teams within three games of Brooklyn: Wizards, Hornets, Hawks, Clippers, Timberwolves, Raptors

Wednesday’s games involving any of those teams:

  • Hornets at Cavaliers (6:00 p.m. CST tipoff)

  • Pacers at Magic (6:00 p.m. CST)

  • Jazz at Rockets (7:00 p.m. CST)

(NBA scores)

Updated March 2 standings for Houston’s pick

Houston’s current draft placement + teams within three games:

  • 1. Orlando, 15-47

  • 2. Detroit, 15-47

  • 3. Houston, 15-46

The Rockets are currently trailing the No. 1 odds slot by 0.5 games.

But there’s important context. Given that these are the NBA’s worst teams, it makes sense to put more emphasis on the win column. After all, every team finishes with 82 games played, and losses are inherently much more likely than wins when it comes to any “gap” in games played.

Thus, at the moment, the Rockets are tied for the No. 1 spot in the crucial column. What happens if it finishes in a tie? More on that later.

Updated March 2 standings for Brooklyn’s pick

Brooklyn’s current draft placement + teams within three games:

  • 12. Washington (lottery), 28-33

  • 13. Charlotte (lottery), 30-33

  • 14. Atlanta (lottery), 29-32

  • 15. Brooklyn, 32-31

  • 16. Los Angeles Clippers, 33-31

  • 17. Minnesota, 34-29

  • 18. Toronto, 34-27

Washington (margin of 3.0 games), Charlotte (2.0), and Atlanta (2.0) are slightly in front of the Nets in current draft positioning. The Clippers (0.5), Timberwolves (2.0) and Raptors (3.0) are just behind.

Draft lottery odds, without ties

This chart applies to Houston’s pick, as well as Brooklyn’s if they miss the Eastern Conference playoffs. The NBA’s current lottery system involving the 14 non-playoff teams draws for the first four picks by weighted odds (with the worst teams having better odds), and the 10 teams who are not drawn are then slotted by record from No. 5 to No. 14.

Note that while the top-four odds are identical for the bottom-three teams, there is a significant difference when it comes to “floor” scenarios. The No. 1 seed (i.e. worst record) cannot fall below No. 5 overall, whereas the No. 3 seed (third-worst record) can drop to the No. 7 pick.

(via Tankathon)

Frequently asked questions

What happens if there is a tie? Tied lottery teams split their draft lottery odds evenly. For example, if Houston and Oklahoma City tie for the No. 3 seed, or the third-worst record, the combined odds between No. 3 and No. 4 would then be split down the middle. Consider it 3.5.

However, a random coin flip would also be held to determine which team drafts higher in scenarios where neither team is a lottery winner. Head-to-head results between any tied teams are not considered.

What happens if Brooklyn goes on a deep playoff run out of a low seed?
This is a fair question, since part of Brooklyn’s underwhelming season is due to injuries involving key players like Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons, along with the part-time availability of Kyrie Irving due to New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. It’s possible that some or all of those problems might be resolved by the playoffs, which could make the Nets more dangerous than their record might suggest.

However, unlike the NFL, results in the playoffs cannot change a team’s draft spot in the NBA. Even if the Nets were to somehow win the NBA championship out of the No. 8 seed, their draft pick (headed to Houston) would be solely based on their regular-season record.

Remaining strength of schedule, as of March 2

A higher strength-of-schedule number means that team has a harder remaining schedule, which on paper suggests that they are more likely to lose games. If that occurs, it could lead to superior draft positioning in a “race” with competitors who have easier schedules.

Rockets and teams within three games:

Nets and teams within three games:

  • Washington: No. 26

  • Charlotte: No. 16

  • Atlanta: No. 28

  • Clippers: No. 5

  • Brooklyn: No. 19

  • Minnesota: No. 24

  • Toronto: No. 23

(via Tankathon)

Next three Rockets, Nets games, as of March 2

  • Houston: Utah (home, 3/2), Denver (road, 3/4), Memphis (home, 3/6)

  • Brooklyn: Miami (home, 3/3), Boston (road, 3/6), Charlotte (road, 3/8)

This post originally appeared on Rockets Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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