NBA reverse standings: Thunder continue to inch up lottery odds as losses mount

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Logan Newman
·8 min read
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The Oklahoma City Thunder have run their losing streak to eight games, placing them in a tie for the fifth-best lottery odds entering Friday’s slate of NBA action.

The Thunder’s odds have improved over recent weeks. At the start of April, Oklahoma City had the ninth-best odds and were within spitting distance of the play-in tournament. Last week, the odds had improved to seventh. Now, OKC is inching closer to the teams with the best odds in the league.

Let’s take the weekly look at the NBA reverse standings with a focus on the Thunder and Houston Rockets, whose pick would go to OKC if it lands outside the top four, and the draft spot of the Miami Heat, whose pick would convey to the Thunder if Houston’s remained in the top four.

Stats come from NBA.com and Basketball Reference while lottery odds are via Tankathon.

T8th-best odds: Toronto Raptors (22-34, 1.5 games ahead of Thunder)

After a one-win month of March, the Toronto Raptors have stagnated in April, going 2-2 in both weeks of play so far. Gary Trent's 44-point game headlined the week for Toronto. He has been inconsistent, scoring 44 and 23 but also posting nights of six and seven points, but the Raptors are so far excited about their new player. The only reason they don't have sole possession of the eighth-best draft odds is because the team Toronto is tied with is on the verge of their worst losing streak in a decade. Lottery odds for 9 (if not tied)

1

2

3

4

9

10

11

12

13

4.5%

4.8%

5.2%

5.7%

50.7%

25.9%

3.0%

0.1%

>0.0%

T8th-best odds: Sacramento Kings (22-34, 1.5 games ahead of Thunder)

On Sunday, the Kings will look to avoid their 10th loss in a row, which would be their worst since the 17-win 2008-09 season. This last week wasn't exactly an easy schedule, as the Kings were tasked with facing the Western Conference standings leaders Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns, but they also lost to average teams in the New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards -- on the back of dropping games to the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves the week before. Sacramento is in a free fall, but they do get two games against the Timberwolves next week. Lottery odds for 8 (if not tied):

1

2

3

4

8

9

10

11

12

6.0%

6.3%

6.7%

7.2%

34.5%

32.1%

6.7%

0.4%

>0.0%

7th-best odds: Washington Wizards (21-33, 1.5 games ahead of Thunder)

Don't look now, but the Wizards have won four of their last five games, with the only loss being a game without Bradley Beal against the Suns. Beal averaged 27.8 points and 4.8 assists during his four games, while Russell Westbrook posted 21.8 points, 13.8 rebounds and 13.8 assists while shooting 51.2% in his five. Washington is just one game behind the 10th-place Chicago Bulls with a relatively easy schedule coming up, including two games against the Thunder, one against the Pistons and one against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They could actually still make a push for a play-in spot. We'll see if this segment remains this optimistic next week. Lottery odds for 7:

1

2

3

4

7

8

9

10

11

9.0%

9.2%

9.4%

9.6%

8.6%

29.8%

20.5%

3.7%

0.1%

T5th-best odds: Cleveland Cavaliers (20-35, tied with Thunder)

Cleveland had one win in four tries last week, furthering its lottery chances by allowing the Raptors to put up 135 points in a game. The good news for the Cavaliers is that Kevin Love played all four games. The bad news is that Collin Sexton only played two. The good news is that Sexton averaged 29.5 points in those two appearances. The other bad news is that Cleveland was tied for fourth in the reverse standings two weeks ago, but have slipped a touch during April. Lottery odds for 6 (if no tie):

1

2

3

4

6

7

8

9

10

6.0%

6.3%

6.7%

7.2%

34.5%

32.1%

6.7%

0.4%

>0.0%

T5th-best odds: Oklahoma City Thunder (20-35)

The Thunder are now 1-11 over their last dozen games and will be looking to help their future cause against the Pistons on Friday night. OKC has faced a tricky schedule over the past week, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors, but the week hasn't been all bad -- Lu Dort went off for 42 points in his return to the court from concussion protocol. It's also helped the Thunder sneak up the lottery. If they break out of this fifth-place tie, they would have more than a 40% chance of moving into the top four. Lottery odds for 5 (if no tie):

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10.5%

10.5%

10.6%

10.5%

2.2%

19.6%

26.7%

8.7%

0.6%

4th-best odds: Orlando Magic (18-37, 2.0 games behind Thunder)

Orlando has kept a nice lead over the Thunder by losing six straight games before taking down the Bulls on Wednesday. It was a rough week offensively for the Magic. Nobody averaged more than 12.5 points per game. Only two played averaged more than 3.0 assists per game -- both were rookies, including forward Chuma Okeke, who was one of the brighter spots overall for Orlando. Lottery odds for 4:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

12.5%

12.2%

11.9%

11.5%

7.2%

25.7%

16.7%

2.2%

3rd-best odds: Detroit Pistons (16-39, 4.0 games behind Thunder)

The Pistons went 0-3 in the last week, a stretch that included two games against the Los Angeles Clippers. This ended a 4-3 run for Detroit, who is now 4-6 in the last 10 games. Josh Jackson is still playing the best basketball of his career. The No. 4 pick of the 2017 draft, who has been cast aside by the Suns and the Memphis Grizzlies, shot 50% from the field and 61.5% from 3 this week to average 18.7 points per game. He is a 30% career 3-point shooter, but this has been a promising month for the 24-year-old. Lottery odds for 3:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

14%

13.4%

12.7%

12.0%

14.8%

26%

7.0%

2nd-best odds: Houston Rockets (14-41, 6.0 games behind Thunder)

The Rockets join the Thunder and Kings as the only teams that are 1-9 over the past 10 games. They lost to the Clippers, Warriors, Suns and Indiana Pacers this past week while allowing at least 125 points in all four games. Kevin Porter Jr. has been playing well with averages of 16 points, 5.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. He is starting to take on more ball handling opportunities, and recorded 13 assists against the Clippers and 14 against the Suns. Houston remains with the second-best odds, giving them a 52.2% chance of holding onto their pick. The Thunder have a 47.8% chance of taking it. Lottery odds for 2:

1

2

3

4

5

6

14%

13.4%

12.7%

12.0%

27.8%

20.0%

Best odds: Minnesota Timberwolves (14-42, 6.5 games behind Thunder)

With three wins in the last 10 games, Minnesota's lead over the Rockets has slimmed to just half a game. Both of those teams have even more riding on the lottery than a normal bad team -- if the Timberwolves' pick is not in the top three, it goes to the Warriors. If the Rockets' is not in the top four, it goes to the Thunder. With that said, because of the flattened odds, the teams have the same chance of remaining in the top four (the rounding of decimals on Tankathon odds change the fifth and sixth percentage in pick 2, but it's the same). Minnesota has games against the Miami Heat and Clippers coming up. Lottery odds for 1:

1

2

3

4

5

14%

13.4%

12.7%

12.0%

47.9%

Miami Heat: 16th pick (28-27)

The Heat, who lost to the Suns and Denver Nuggets, slipped a bit in the tight, tight standings of the Eastern Conference and would now hold the No. 16 pick. Miami's schedule next week is a bit of a mixed bag. The Heat get the Timberwolves and Rockets, but sandwiched between those games is a matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. The Heat then play the Spurs before an all-important meeting with the Atlanta Hawks, who are tied for fourth place but just 1.5 games ahead of Miami in seventh. Thunder fans should definitely continue to keep an eye on this team over the final month of the season.

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