The New Orleans Pelicans beat the Houston Rockets last night. Because of this, the Pelicans finished the season with the 10th worst record in the league, one game better than the Cleveland Cavaliers. This secured the positioning headed into the draft lottery for the most important asset completely out of the team's control. As you'll see below, the Sixers will almost assuredly keep that pick (fingers crossed).
Some additional items of note:
- The odds for the Pelicans' pick don't add up to exactly 100% - it's a little higher due to rounding. The most important note is that the odds of moving up are really small - much smaller than their odds of moving back.
- There's a common misconception that the draft round order is identical for the first and second round. The first round has the lottery along with the separation of playoff and non-playoff teams. Both of those go away in the second round. The second round is pure reverse order of record selection, worst teams first and best teams last, with caveats for tie-breakers. Other than tie-breakers, the second round is already set.
- Tie-breakers are confusing. Tie-breakers are applied in the first round and reversed in the second round (unless there are more than two teams involved, in which case I could write a thesis explaining the scenarios). The Nets have a tie-breaker with Washington for their first round pick (which they don't own). So, you want the Nets to lose their tie-breaker. Ties are broken by something resembling a coin flip. If you want a history of the Sixers and coin flips, check out this cool FanPost from BHolly last year. UPDATE: The Nets won the coin toss, so the pick ends up 47th.
- I'm writing this at 1:15 AM, but based on my mental calculations the odds of the worst-case scenario (Pellies top 3, Sixers 5) happening appears to be less than 1% of the time based on real mathematics. Of course, this is the NBA, so real math doesn't matter. But I'm feeling not-queasy about the possibility.
- To clear up based off some follow-up inquiries, the Pelicans pick is Top 5 protected. However, as the lottery only stretches from 1-3, there's no chance for the pick to land at 4 or 5. Here are the odds of landing in a given position for each lottery pick in the 2013 draft which this was based off, per NBA.com (which I meant to link to initially - apologies for neglecting the citation).