Despite how much attention has been paid to the Philadelphia 76ers for their spectacular efforts in tanking -- including a 26-game losing streak that ended earlier this month -- there's no team in the NBA with a worse record than the Milwaukee Bucks. The boys from Wisconsin have won just 14 games all year, and have peppered in just three wins over the month of March.
That's not to rule out the job Philadelphia has done lately. After narrowly avoiding sole possession of the league's
best worst losing streak by beating the Pistons on Mar. 29, they've continued to struggle scoring points. They beat Boston on the road on Friday, but the Sixers are looking for that No. 1 spot. Boston's loss puts them at six in a row, good enough for the fourth-worst record in the NBA.
|W||L||% of No. 1|
|1. Milwaukee Bucks||14||62||25|
|2. Philadelphia 76ers||17||59||19.9|
|3. Orlando Magic||21||55||15.6|
|4. Boston Celtics||23||53||11.9|
|5. Utah Jazz||24||52||8.8|
|6. Los Angles Lakers||25||51||6.3|
|7. Sacramento Kings||27||49||4.3|
|8. Detroit Pistons||27||49||2.8|
|9. Cleveland Cavaliers||31||46||1.7|
|10. New Orleans Pelicans||32||44||1.1|
|11. New York Knicks||33||44||0.8|
|12. Denver Nuggets||33||43||0.7|
|13. Atlanta Hawks||33||42||0.6|
|14. Charlotte Bobcats||38||38||0.5|
The story in the race for the lottery is twofold. First, who actually gets the No. 1 pick is up in the air. The ping pong balls don't always bounce in the direction of the worst team. In fact, the team with the third-worst record in the NBA has received the top pick the last two years in a row, and the last time the team with the best chance to actually win the lottery was Orlando in 2004.
Draft rights are the other side of the coin, where teams have swapped their rights in dubious trades in years prior. For example, Charlotte is likely to hand over their top-10 protected pick to Chicago due to the Tyrus Thomas trade from 2010. Meanwhile, despite being slotted for the No. 11 seed in the lottery, New York's pick is with Denver. As part of the Dwight Howard trade, Denver will be able to give Orlando the less favorable of their own pick or the one they received from New York. Detroit even owes a first round pick to Charlotte should it fall outside of the No.8 spot.
Due to the movement of superstars around the league via trade in the past few seasons, this lottery has not only become about the big names coming out of college but about the stockpiling of assets as well. What eventually comes out of this mess is that a few of the teams in the lottery will be looking to either draft multiple young pieces or move their picks in a blockbuster come draft day.
How the end of the season shakes out is still up in the air. Toward the bottom of the league, it is unlikely that the Sixers are able to unseat the Bucks for the worst record. However, the middle of the lottery odds are far less settled. With the Knicks, Hawks, Bobcats and Cavaliers all trying to make the playoffs, their position is likely to shift as they try to win games rather than bail out for a better potential position in the 2014 NBA Draft.