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Rockets gain more clarity on 2023 NBA draft picks, but coin flips await

Though they own two of the NBA’s three worst records, the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs each pulled off two improbable victories over the final four days of the 2022-23 regular season. Thus, both of the longtime Texas rivals will finish at 22-60 for the season, and only the Detroit Pistons (17-65) are worse.

While Houston and San Antonio’s draft-lottery odds of a landing a top-four pick in the 2023 NBA draft — and a shot at a top prospect such as Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson — were already maximized at an identical amount, the final record did have odds implications in scenarios whether neither team wins a lottery pick.

For example, the team with the second-worst record can’t fall below No. 6 in the first-round order, whereas the third-worst team can drop to No. 7 overall. The team in the No. 2 position also has slightly better percentages of finishing at No. 5 or No. 6, as shown here.

So, what happens now that the Rockets and Spurs finished tied? The NBA will soon conduct a coin flip to determine the No. 2 and No. 3 overall slots heading into the lottery, just as they will with other ties. That includes a three-way tie between the Heat, Clippers, and Warriors (all 44-38) between No. 18 and No. 20 in the first round, which impacts the Rockets because the  first-round Los Angeles selection is headed to Houston as part of the Eric Gordon trade.

However, the league is not expected to break those ties until at least next Monday, April 17, because there are also ties between teams who will participate in this week’s play-in tournament.

Because the NBA automatically places teams who miss the playoffs ahead of teams who make the playoffs in its draft order, those tiebreaker scenarios require waiting until the play-in field sorts itself out. That won’t be finalized until Friday night, and the league’s next business day after that is the following Monday.

Once that is finalized, the next clarity won’t come until the much-anticipated 2023 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday, May 16.

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire