Inhale ... exhale. That's better.
Thanks largely to their current six-game losing streak and a simultaneous stunning five-game win streak by Charlotte, the Pistons have all but locked up the best odds at winning the "Trauma for Wembanyama"© sweepstakes.
That's right. The Pistons will have as good a chance as any other team during the NBA draft lottery May 16 at landing the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Frenchman Victor Wembanyama, a player billed as the best draft prospect since LeBron James in 2003, and frankly, maybe ever.
Let's break down the odds.
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NBA draft lottery odds breakdown
Sure, the Pistons will only a 14% chance to win the lottery, but those are the odds for the NBA's worst three teams.
And the bottom three have the same odds at the Nos. 2-4 picks, making up a 52.1% chance at a top-four selection. The final position of those bottom three teams does come into play at the back-end, as teams can fall four spots from their original lottery slot. The Pistons, currently No. 2, could drop to No. 6, while Houston — currently last in the NBA — would be guaranteed a top-five pick, and No. 3 San Antonio could fall as far as No. 7.
Just like week, the Hornets were part of that group, but they ripped off five straight wins, including a double-digit win Monday over the Pistons (though LaMelo Ball suffered a season-ending ankle injury).
The Hornets (20-44) have five more wins than the Pistons (15-48) and the teams play each other one final time Thursday in Detroit. Both have a very similar remaining strength of schedule (Pistons have the seventh-easiest; Hornets have eighth), and the Pistons are projected to finish with 20 wins, according to FiveThirtyEight's model, while the Hornets' 27 seems a bit high but just a few wins over the final 18 games should do the trick. The Pistons have won two games in a row once all season, back in November. So yeah, we're not too worried about them ripping off a Hornets-like run.
Here are the odds at each slot for the top three entering the lottery:
Getting into the bottom three essentially became the Pistons' job after Cade Cunningham underwent season-ending shin surgery in December. The season was lost anyway, but the sell became easy.
And it's something they actually accomplished. Hooray!
We've never seen a basketball player as tall and skilled Wembanyama, who turned 19 in January.
Rudy Gobert if he could dribble and shoot?
A half-foot taller Kevin Durant? These are a few player comparisons from trusted analysts.
We've written about the beckoning of Wembanyama to the Pistons before, most recently in January, and actually just podcasted about him and the other top draft prospects this week (listen below).
Wembanyama reportedly stands 7 feet 5 in shoes with a tetradactyl-like wingspan of 8 feet, and will immediately become the tallest player in the NBA next season.
After him, G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson is the heavy favorite to go No. 2 overall, and would be the No. 1 prospect in many past drafts. He'd be a nice consolation prize, though if the Pistons get the No. 2 pick, would make for fascinating decision for general manager Troy Weaver and ownership, considering the Pistons have two young guards who need the ball in Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
But that's a conversation for another day. And there are a handful of intriguing wings, the position the Pistons are most bereft of, if they drop in the lottery like the odds favor they will.
Now, it's out of the Pistons' hands, and up to the ping pong balls that will churn in a backroom in Chicago in two months time.
Ah, the most dramatic 15 minutes in all of television is just around the corner.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons should have best NBA draft lottery odds at No. 1 pick