The Utah Jazz secured their spot in the playoffs with Tuesday’s victory over the Phoenix Suns, making the regular season finale versus the Portland Trail Blazers virtually meaningless. There is still a slim possibility that they could jump to the #7 seed but that requires the Denver Nuggets to lose tonight’s game in Oklahoma City (possible) and tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota (unlikely). With the playoffs waiting on the horizon, now is a good time to examine the status of the Golden State Warriors’ draft pick. Remember, if the Warriors pick is 1-7 they keep it. If it’s 8th or higher, it belongs to the Jazz.
The Warriors currently sit as the 8th worst team, which is perfect for the Jazz. However, the two teams currently tied for 7th, the Raptors and the Nets, play each other tomorrow. With one of those teams guaranteed a win, they will move into a tie for 7th with the Warriors, provided Golden State loses tomorrow. That would present a rather interesting scenario for the Warriors and Jazz both. In the event of a tie, the league will flip a coin to determine draft order. That’s right. The possession of Golden State’s draft pick could come down to a coin flip. If the lottery goes as it should and the Warriors are tied for 7th, the coin flip could decide it all. Heads, the Warriors pick 7th and keep the pick. Tails, the Warriors pick 8th and give the pick to the Jazz.
A more simple solution for the Jazz, and a far less stressful one, would be for the Warriors to defeat the Spurs on Thursday. On its surface, that sounds like a difficult task but considering the Spurs have already clinched the #1 seed in the West, things might get easier. The Spurs will likely be resting Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Tim Duncan at the minumum and possibly more of their players to get ready for the playoffs. The Warriors have proved that despite half of their team being inactive, they continue to play hard. Jazz fans need to root hard for the Warriors to give their home fans a win to close out the season. This will put them into at worst, a tie for 8th with Detroit, which will virtually ensure the Jazz receiving the draft pick, provided the lottery doesn’t land GSW in the top 3.
That’s one game to keep an eye on. The other game that affects the Warriors’ draft pick is Thursday night: PHI @ DET. Jazz fans want the Pistons to win this one, giving the Warriors sole possession of the 8 spot provided they defeat the Spurs.
In regards to playoff seeding, Jazz fans are rooting for the Thunder to defeat the Nuggets tonight and the Timberwolves to do the same on Thursday.
Hopefully that’s not too confusing. I’ll post another update on the draft pick when the regular season concludes. Go Warriors!