While no sports fan wants to see their team finish rock bottom of the standings, in the NBA it does provide a bonus: a better draft pick. Therefore, some teams who know they are already out of the play-in and play-off picture are looking to tank and finish at the bottom of the standings.
At the moment, though, who is most likely to finish at the bottom of the NBA standings and walk away with a pretty hefty chance at owning a worthwhile draft pick come the start of the 2021 NBA draft?
Having watched the entire team blow up in the post-season, the Houston Rockets are a shadow of their previously dominant self. Indeed, the Daryl Morey era came to a swift end, with the analytical expert moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers. The exit of James Harden in such acrimonious terms, too, left the Rockets with precious little room for progress.
With a shocking 15-44 record at the time of writing, the Rockets look a fair bet to finish at the bottom of the NBA standings.
Despite having a decent combination in Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Edwards, the Wolves have been pretty awful this year. Some had minor hope they could at least contend for a play-in spot, but they sit with a pretty dire 16-44 record. As such, they will need to find some form to try and avoid finishing at the bottom of the pile.
A 4-6 recent run, though, does make it less likely they’ll win fewer games than the Rockets now.
The Pistons are a major name within the NBA, but the days of title contention and even play-off contention look long gone for now. The loss of any semblance of competitive zeal this year has been a big surprise, and an 18-42 record shows a team that has precious little optimism for the rest of the season.
A 3-7 recent run shows them to be more likely to slide down the rankings, though perhaps not to the absolute floor.
The Magic decided to blow up the whole operation, moving on their three best players in Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier. An 18-41 record shows a team that has precious hope for this season and will look to begin a rebuild in the summer of 2021. A shocking 1-9 record matches up with an 18-41 record in total and could see them more likely to drop down towards the bottom of the NBA standings entirely come seasons end.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC are the worst form team in the NBA, currently ‘enjoying’ a 0-10 run to match up with a 20-39 record. However, despite trying to tank as hard as they can, the residual level of talent in some of the players has seen OKC win some games they likely didn’t expect to.
If they can continue their present awful form, though, finishing bottom of the NBA standings entirely might not be the ‘pipedream’ (if you can call it that) that some had expected. Keep losing at such a rate, and they could hit those precious bottom spots soon enough.