18 games left and the Jazz sit tied for the 4th worst record in the NBA with the Kings, Celtics and Lakers. Jazz have next to 0% chance of catching the Bucks and Sixers and probably a 5% chance of catching Orlando. This leaves a race for the 4th worst record with a number of teams. So how does it finish?
Utah Jazz: 18 games remaining, 4 real wins (ORL, DET, LAL, NOP), 3 possible (NYK, @DEN @NOP)
Los Angeles Lakers: 18 games reamining, 1 real win (ORL), 4 possible (NYK, @MIL, @UTA, @SAC)
Sacramento Kings: 18 games remaining, 3 real wins (@PHI, MIL, LAL), 4 possible (NYK, WAS, @NOP, PHO-last game)
Boston Celtics: 18 games remaining, 2 real wins (PHI, @PHI), 8 possible (NYK, @NOP, TOR, @DET, @ATL, CHA, @CLE, WAS)
Cleveland Cavaliers: 18 games remaining, 4 real wins (@ORL, DET, @MIL, BOS), 3 possible (@DET, @NYK, CHA)
Detroit Pistons: 18 games remaining, 2 real wins (MIL, BOS), 4 possible (CLE, @CLE, @DEN, @UTA)
I feel like these are the real threats to the Jazz’s lottery chances as the Knicks, Pelicans and Nuggets are too far ahead with what they have left. To gain the 4th pick (minus the lottery chances) the Jazz will almost certainly have to win no more than 4 games and they might have to actually tank the game against the Lakers in the second to last game.
The Cavs and Pistons have a win lead on the Jazz and really have to win no more than 2 games the rest of the year to have a chance at the 4th worst record. The Celtics and Kings really should end with more wins than the Jazz, but with this whole tanking thing anything can happen. I do think the Jazz end up as the 5th worst record behind the Lakers which would give Utah a 8.8% chance to get the 1st pick and a 10.7% chance to get the 3rd pick. At 5, as long as no one jumps them, would end up with: Randle, Exum, Embiid or possibly Parker.
The Race Projected:
1. Sixers 2. Bucks 3. Magic 4. Lakers 5. Jazz 6. Kings 7. Pistons 8 Celtics 9. Cavs 10. Pelicans 11. Nuggets 12. Knicks 13. T-Wolves 14 Suns