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Cleveland's win last night pushes their record a game ahead of the Wolves, improving our lottery odds.

Tonight's Memphis game at Portland could raise the value of that pick from 21 to 19.

Read more under the fold

CLE's victory brings them to 18 wins.
17-64 MIN ( vs HOU)
18-63 CLE ( vs WAS)
Just a reminder - Head-to-head record does not break ties for lottery odds. If two teams finish with the same record, they divide the "lottery balls."

Worst Record
25.0% 1st pick
21.5% 2nd pick
17.8% 3rd pick
35.7% 4th pick
Expected value: 2.642

Second Worst Record
19.9% 1st pick
18.8% 2nd pick
17.1% 3rd pick
31.9% 4th pick
12.3% 5th pick
Expected Value: 2.979

Tie for Worst Record
22.45% 1st pick
20.15% 2nd pick
17.45% 3rd pick
33.80% 4th pick
6.15% 5th pick
Expected Value: 2.8105

Because the lottery does not want to promote outright tanking, you'll note that the expected value of the worst record still brings only a pick somewhat better than third. Assuming one more loss, the worst pick we could get is fourth - but there is still greater than a 1-in-3 chance that's where our pick ends up.

Also, for those confused by the Stepien Rule, let me note that we could trade this pick right after the season ends (after Wednesday night, with other teams done with the season). The rule states that a team can't make a trade that would leave them without a first round pick in the next two drafts. Since we will be guaranteed to get the MEM 1st this year, the MIN pick is free to be traded, even though we lose the MIN 2012 pick.
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Turning to the Memphis pick, tonight's game at POR is crucial, and may raise the MEM pick two slots:
19. 46-35 NOH (@DAL)
20. 46-34 MEM (@POR, @LAC)
21. 47-33 POR (MEM, @GSW)
Tie-Breaker:
(2) Head-to-head won-lost percentage
(3) Division won-lost percentage

NOH holds tie-breaker over MEM: 2-2 HTH, but NOH is 9-6 in Division, and MEM is only 8-8

POR is 1-1 HTH vs MEM ... winner of tonight's game at POR will have tie-breaker.


If the Blazers win tonight's game, they are guaranteed to finish with a better record than Memphis. Also, by pushing a loss onto the Grizzlies, they would move them back into a tie with the Hornets, who they lose the tie-breaker to.

Wednesday's game is no picnic for either team. The Mavericks are still battling for play-off position. However, the Grizzlies will be playing back-to-back roadies (and hopefully coming off a loss), while the Clippers will be playing at home with five days of rest.