With the way the NBA Lottery odds work, having the third worst NBA record is as good as having the worst record when looking at the odds of hitting one of the top four picks.
The NBA changed lottery odds in 2019 to discourage tanking so that teams no longer have the incentive to have the league’s worst record. Now the last three records have the same percentage chance of being in the top four with the following odds:
1st overall: 14%
2nd overall: 13.4%
3rd overall: 12.7%
4th overall: 11.9%
Thanks to these odds, the Thunder only has to finish in the last three instead of the last, the first being a much more attainable goal as the team is at 13-22 and tied for the fourth worst record. of the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Portland Trail Blazers. Meanwhile, the 10-26 Houston rockets are 3.5 games ahead of the Thunder in the reverse standings for third-worst place.
Luckily for the Thunder, there are still four months left in the season to make up that 3.5-game difference. Some fans worried that the organization might be too good to hit rock bottom, but given their peripheral stats (-7.2 net rating and most of their wins from close games), it looks like the Thunder have it in. somehow surpassed his record and some regression in the middle should come. Especially with the current health and safety protocol experienced by the team that recently landed Gilgeous-Alexandre to the list. The same happened last season when it took a historically bad time in basketball after the all-star break for the team to catch up and be tied for fourth-worst odds. The question has started to linger in the minds of some fans as to whether the franchise is just too skilled to embark on a rebuild, especially with history repeating itself again so far this season.
Ultimately I think things balance out and the Thunder end up with a last four record at least with a real shot at a last three record. And given the randomness of the NBA lottery, the Thunder are going to need every percentage point they can get in order to avoid a repeat of bad luck in last season’s lottery. The only way the Thunder can get back to the championship is to land and hit on the top draft picks.