Before you rush off to your favorite online NBA sportsbook and start making some rather rash decisions because of the Timberwolves’ winning streak, you need to know that, in the long run, it doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think, at least not in the way you think.
So, yes, it is okay to be happy about the winning streak, particularly if you are a Timberwolves fan. Minnesota is heading into its match-up with Houston on Monday evening having won three games in a row.
This Timberwolves winning streak, regardless of all the hullaballoo it is attracting, has done little to impact the team’s draft positioning, at least not in any way that matters. The Monday Night game at Target Center will make for very interesting viewing.
After all, Minnesota is heading onto the court while still staunchly defending its record, the fifth-worst, in the NBA. For that reason, of the 1,001 combinations available on the night of the draft lottery, Minnesota should have 88. In other words, Minnesota is looking to be rewarded with an 8.8% chance of landing the top pick.
And that isn’t even taking into account its 29.1% chance of having a top-3 pick.
The odds wouldn’t stand as they do today if Minnesota had lost the last three games it played. The wolves (25-55) would still be bad enough for the fifth-worst record in the NBA. This is three games better than Phoenix (they presently hold the fourth-worst record in the NBA with two games to play).
To put it simply, despite what some pundits have attempted to claim, there is really no way Minnesota could have improved its draft odds. You have to consider a few factors, such as the fact that the Timberwolves are still two full games worse than New Orleans.
New Orleans will be playing Minnesota on Wednesday in the regular season finale. The game will be at home for Minnesota. There is an interesting possibility of the Pelicans and the Timberwolves finishing in a dead heat for the fifth-worst record at 30-52. However, for that to happen, a few other factors have to come into play, this including Houston losing to Minnesota on Monday, New Orleans taking a beating from Chicago and the Wolves coming out ahead after their match with New Orleans on Wednesday.
If everything aligned appropriately and such a scenario actually played out, then the Pelicans and the Wolves would split 151 combinations, with the team that wins the coin toss netting 76 combinations. That is a 7.6% chance of winning the lottery.
If neither of the teams manages to move into the top three on draft lottery night, the winner would also draft one spot ahead of the loser. The loser would expect to net 75 combinations. That is a 7.5% chance of winning the lottery.
Simply put: the worst thing that the Wolves have to fear from the draft lottery is toying with the Pelicans and losing the coin toss, this opening the doorway for a potential 5-game winning streak to cap a season that has seen a lot of growth and notable progression from its young core.
For a team with many young players still trying to perform adequately at both close games and games on the road, the Wolves are not in a terribly bad position.