Heading into the finals two days of the NBA regular season, a lot can still happen for the Nets in determining their lottery positioning. It is even possible for the Nets to finish tied for the third worst record in the NBA. In order for that to happen, a lot of other things that the Nets cannot control also need to happen. I will let Nets Daily explain the scenarios to you:
It will take an unlikely sequence of events to get there, but it’s possible that theNets could finish in a tie for third worst record in the league on the last day of the season. If on Thursday, the Nets lose to the Raptors, the Cavaliers beat theBulls (or beat the Wizards Wednesday), the Hornets beat the Rockets, and theKings beat the Lakers, New Jersey, Cleveland, New Orleans and Sacramento would all finish with records of 22-44. Only the Bobcats and Wizards would have worse records.
Under lottery rules,if four teams finish with the same record, each tied team receives the average of the total number of ping-pong balls shared by the four. However, if that number is uneven, and in this scenario that would be the case, there would be a coin flip to determine who gets the extra ping-pong ball. Best case scenario, the Nets would have 107 ping-pong balls or combinations, giving them a roughly one-in-nine chance to get the overall #1 and a one-in-three chance at a top three pick. If the Nets don’t get a top three pick, their pick goes to the Trail Blazers.
It is very unlikely that all these games will turn out how we want them to, but it is still possible. It is also possible that the Nets can finish tied for the 8th worst record in the league, but that will only be possible if the Nets beat the Raptors tomorrow night. The Nets and Raptors are currently tied in the standings, so both teams really want to lose the finale. It might be even more important for the Nets to lose the game, because unlike the Raptors, the Nets are not guaranteed their lottery pick.
For a moment, I would like to talk about what has been happening in the western conference playoff race. A few weeks ago, the Rockets looked like a lock to make the playoffs and were sitting at 6th in the west. Recently, they have completely collapsed and have been eliminated from the playoffs, meaning the Nets will not have a mid-first round pick this year. The Nets will get the Rockets’ pick the next time the Rockets make the playoffs, but this would have been a great year for the Nets to get the pick. Too bad.
The team that took that playoff spot from Houston was the Utah Jazz, a team with many former and could-have-been Nets. The Jazz are led by former Nets point guard Devin Harris. After a very slow start to the year, Devin has picked it up, especially in the month of April when the Jazz were making their playoff push. He has made clutch shots in the fourth quarter for them and has been shooting over 42% from 3 in April. He was an under 30% 3-point shooter while with the Nets. I enjoyed watching him during his time in New Jersey and I am happy for him. Derrick Favors is another player for Utah who has gotten better over the course of the season. He has been a rebounding machine since mid-March and is starting to look like the player who the Nets selected with the #3 pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Enes Kanter never played for the Nets, but is what became of a draft pick the Nets traded to Utah in the Deron Williams trade. He has struggled for the most part this year, but so did Favors in his rookie season.
The question we must ask from this is, would the Nets have been better off keeping those 3 players and not getting Deron Williams? In my opinion, the Nets were still better off making the D-Will trade. The reason for this is that the Jazz have two excellent big guys in Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap who are at least as responsible for the playoff appearance as Harris and Favors. Both are capable of 20-10′s any given night, which is something no Net player can do (Humphries rarely scores 20 points). They create space for Derrick Favors to do damage, and also help Devin Harris with his assist numbers. I think that if Deron Williams was still with the Jazz, they still would have made the playoffs this year, and if the Nets had kept Harris, Favors, and Kanter, they would not have made the playoffs.
Every Net fan was happy when we got Deron Williams last season, but are you still happy they made the trade? Did the Nets give up too much? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.