Jazz Control Draft Odds, Could Land Second Lottery Pick

Apr 3, 2023, 2:54 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz can nearly guarantee themselves a top-10 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, and, they can significantly improve their odds of landing a second lottery pick depending on how they close the season.

With just four games left to play, the Jazz sit in the 12th seed in the West and stand alone with the ninth-fewest wins in the NBA overall at 36-42.

That means should they choose to, the Jazz can guarantee themselves no worse than the ninth-best odds of winning the draft lottery which will take place next month during the NBA playoffs.

There are even scenarios where those odds could improve if any of the Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, or Indiana Pacers were to overtake the Jazz in the standings depending on their win totals over the final week of the season.

Each of the Magic, Wizards, and Pacers sit two games back of the Jazz in the win column.

Though the odds of jumping into the top four picks don’t change significantly by moving from the ninth-worst record in the NBA to the eighth, or even seventh, it would improve their draft position by however many teams leap them by the end of the regular season.

And while one of Orlando, Washington, or Indiana could potentially overtake them in the standings, the Jazz must also be wary not to pass the floundering Dallas Mavericks who themselves could be looking to improve their draft stock over the next seven days.

The Jazz currently have one fewer win than Dallas but could drop a spot in the draft if they finish tied in the standings with the Mavericks, depending on the outcome of a random drawing.

The Mavericks owe their 2023 first-round pick to the New York Knicks if it lands anywhere between 11-30 but hold onto it if it lands in the top 10.

That gives the Mavericks, who currently own the 10th-worst record in the NBA significant incentive to lose their remaining games to avoid forfeiting a much-needed lottery pick.

Dallas sits just one game back of both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls in the win column with three games left to play.

If the Jazz were to maintain their spot as the ninth-worst team in the NBA, they’d have a 20 percent chance of moving into the top four picks, a 50.7 percent chance of drafting ninth overall, and a 29 percent chance of drafting 10-12.

Jazz Could Land Second Lottery Pick

While the Jazz will certainly be eyeing their own spot in the standings over the final week of the season, they’ll also closely be monitoring the situation in Minnesota.

The Timberwolves have lost three straight games and have slipped to the ninth seed in the West.

If Minnesota finishes the season in either the ninth or 10th seed they’ll have to win two games in the play-in tournament to qualify for the postseason.

If they fail to qualify for the playoffs, their draft pick, which is owed to the Jazz via last summer’s Rudy Gobert trade, would land in the late lottery.

That would give the Jazz two separate lottery picks in the upcoming draft, a significant boon to the team’s rebuilding effort.

And, the Jazz have some say in the matter.

The Timberwolves currently sit 1.5 games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the seventh seed in the West. They also sit just one game ahead of the Thunder.

The Jazz will face the Lakers twice before the end of the season, and the Thunder once, with wins from either team hurting Minnesota’s chance of climbing in the Western Conference standings and lowering their playoff odds.

Currently, the Timberwolves are tied for the 13th worst record in the NBA and would have a 4,7 chance of moving into the top four picks in the draft if they miss the postseason.

Schedules To Close The Season

Utah Jazz: 36-42
4/4:  vs. Los Angeles Lakers
4/6: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
4/8: vs. Denver Nuggets
4/9: @ Los Angeles Lakers

Minnesota Timberwolves: 39-40
4/4: @ Brooklyn Nets
4/8: @ San Antonio Spurs
4/9: vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Dallas Mavericks: 37-42
4/5: vs. Sacramento Kings
4/7: vs. Chicago Bulls
4/9: vs. San Antonio Spurs

Oklahoma City Thunder: 38-41
4/4: @ Golden State Warriors
4/6: @ Utah Jazz
4/9: vs. Memphis Grizzlies

New Orleans Pelicans: 40-38
4/4: vs. Sacramento Kings
4/5: vs. Memphis Grizzlies
4/7: vs. New York Knicks
4/8: vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Golden State Warriors: 41-38
4/4: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
4/7: @ Sacramento Kings
4/8: @ Portland Trail Blazers

Los Angeles Clippers: 41-38
4/5: vs. Los Angeles Lakers
4/6: vs. Portland Trail Blazers
4/7: @ Phoenix Suns

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Control Draft Odds, Could Land Second Lottery Pick