Alright Nuggets fans, I give. I've defended Denver's slim chances of making the playoffs as long as I can. With the recent injury to Danilo Gallinari and the subsequent rise of Jakarr Sampson (aka that guy they signed two weeks ago) to a starting role I can no longer fathom a scenario with even a modicum of feasibility that would result in a postseason birth for the boys in sky blue and gold. That doesn't mean the optimism is going away though, no, rather like so many years past, I'll turn my optimism to the NBA draft lottery, and the Nuggets slim chances of landing the first overall pick.
If you don't know, the NBA has a ridiculously convoluted method for determining who gets the top three picks in the draft each year. It involves a large amount of unnecessary secrecy, a rather cumbersome process to create a weighted lottery, and, in the event of an emergency, a back up plan that involves pulling ping pong balls from a basketball that has been chopped in half...not a typo. If want a really good insider look at the lottery, I suggest this piece by Jeff Dengate.
With 22 games remaining in the season, which and more importantly where teams land in the lottery is still a very fluid situation that changes on a nightly basis. Add in multiple teams are lined up to receive multiple draft picks as a result from one trade or another. Then consider whether or not those picks convey is a result of a multitude of scenarios and this whole lottery business starts to get muddled. On top of that, there are the Nuggets and the 76ers who currently would only have one lottery pick, but have heightened lottery odds because they own the rights to swap picks with the another team. When they offered me this gig they said there would be no math...
Well fear not basketball fans, for I have your back. We'll roll out the updated lottery odds each week here at Denver Stiffs to save you from the burdensome expense of a brand new abacus. Ground rules: we've eliminated teams that are currently in the lottery but either do not own the rights to their own pick; it's assumed that teams with the right to swap would do so if the pick they can swap for won a top three pick and therefore we've combined the odds of both teams in those situations; the standings are not ordered by winning percentage but rather by total losses. Without further adieu, Here's where the lottery odds stand as of March 1st.
3. The Denver Nuggets own the rights to swap first round picks with the New York Knicks.
4. The Toronto Raptors (via the Knicks) and the Sacramento Kings both have a very very minute chance of scoring either the 2nd or 3rd pick in the draft. The Raptors would need both the Nuggets and the Knicks picks to land in the top three, the Kings would need both their pick and the 76ers pick to land in the top 3. Unfortunately, without knowing which pick lands higher in these scenarios, it's impossible to determine the odds of these events occurring (well not impossible, there's six possible outcomes to each scenario that would render this result). Suffice to say neither chance is very good.