Right now, the Nets and Pacers are tied for the tenth worst record in the NBA. If the season ends that way, what does it mean? What are the Nets chances in the lottery? Where is the Dallas pick likely to fall? Who might they get?
First, should the Nets and Pacers (or any teams) finish with the same record, a coin toss is held the day after the regular season ends. That's how the Nets got back-to-back picks in the 2006 draft. Nets and Grizz were tied at #23 and the Nets won the toss.
Now to the more difficult questions, starting with where the Nets stand in the draft right now and how the lottery could help--or even hurt--their chances.
Current draft positions:
1. Miami (12-57)
2. Seattle (16-54)
3. Memphis (18-51)
4. Minnesota (18-51)
5. New York (19-50)
6. LA Clippers (21-48)
7. Milwaukee (24-44)
8. Charlotte (25-44)
9. Chicago (27-42)
10. New Jersey (29-41)
10. Indiana (29-41)
Looking at the standings, the highest the Nets could reasonably expect to go is 9th since Chicago is only a game and a half in back of New Jersey and Indiana in the standings. If they don't make the playoffs, they will likely pick no worse than #12. Two Western Conference teams with significantly better records--likely to be Denver and Portland--will get the #13 and #14 picks. Sacramento's record is currently two games better than the Nets.
If the Nets make the playoffs, they will pick 15th. They have no chance of doing any better (or worse depending on your perspective) than that.
The Dallas pick is now #21. There's a possibility it could be as high as #19 or as low as #22.
Chances of a team with the 10th worst record getting a top three pick in the lottery is 6.4%. Chances of a team with the 10th worst record getting the overall #1 pick is 1.8%...better than 50-to-1. And it's never happened...not even close.
Chances of a team with the ninth worst record getting a top three pick is 6.8%, a statistically insignificant difference. Same difference with the overall #1.
There is also a tiny possibility, less than 1% that a team with the ninth or tenth worst record could actually move down a place. That would happen in the highly unlikely event that a team with a better record in the lottery moves up into the top three.
So the most reasonable/best case scenario is the Nets will pick at #9 and #19 in the first round and #39 in the second. Second round picks are not affected by the lottery.
Okay, so who do the draftniks think are the best bets for those positions:
Draft Express has DeAndre Jordan, the hyper-athletic seven-footer from Texas A&M at #9 and Chris Douglass-Roberts, the 6'-7" swingman from Memphis at #19. In the second round, the #39 pick could retrieve Lester Hudson, a 6'-3" point guard from Tennessee-Martin.
NBADraft.net has O.J. Mayo, the latest Vince Carter clone from USC, at #9 and Roy Hibbert, the bulky 7'-2" Georgetown center, at #19. In the second round, the #39 pick could retrieve 6'-9" Memphis power forward Joey Dorsey.
Hard to imagine any Net fan coming away from the draft unhappy with those picks. In any event, the season ends on April 16, the lottery is May 20 and the Draft June 26. Stay tuned.