The Final Four (Weeks)

While the results of the NBA Lottery will likely change the draft order, I decided to look over the remaining schedules for the Suns and the other three teams we might possibly change places with (the Lakers, the Nets and the Timberwolves) in the final draft order before the lottery occurs. I decided to not include Philadelphia because passing them in the draft order is virtually impossible at this point. To do that the Suns would have to lose ALL of their last 15 games and Philly would have to win at least 10 of their last 16 games. That's just not going to happen.

First I'll give a brief overview of the rest of the Suns' season and then go over the other teams.

The Suns (18-49): The Suns have 15 games left to play and the remaining schedule doesn't really look that difficult. Seven of those games are home games and only five of the remaining games are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. To me that says that they have a fairly good chance of winning several of those games. That's not good for the tank, especially since the Suns have shown signs of improvement over the last couple of weeks.

The Lakers (14-53): I've read at least once in the comments on BSOTS that the Suns might have a chance to catch and pass the Lakers in the draft order if the Suns lose both of their remaining games with the Lakers. It's possible but not likely unless the Suns actively try to lose more games the rest of this season. As bad as the Suns have been this season, the Lakers are just worse. They have 15 games left in the season but they don't have a very hard schedule left. Nine of their remaining games are at home and only seven of them are against teams that currently would make the playoffs if the season ended today. So there is a slight possibility that the Suns could move up but I doubt it unless they actually do lose their remaining two games with the Lakers.

The Nets (18-48): The Nets are already dangerously close to passing the Suns and getting the 3rd spot (for the Celtics) in the pre-lottery draft order. Unfortunately for the Suns, the Nets also have the most difficult remaining schedule. They have 16 games left with only seven of those games at home and nine of the games are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Considering the differences in the Nets and Suns final schedules, I would bet that the Nets actually finish with a worse record than the Suns and bump them down to at least the #4 spot.

The Timberwolves (21-46): The T-wolves also have 15 games left and their schedule is not really much more difficult than the Suns'. They have eight remaining home games (one more than the Suns) but seven of the games they have left are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended now. The Suns and T-wolves also still have one game left to play against each other (in Minnesota) but I don't see that as really being much of a factor and I don't believe that Minnesota will move any higher than 5th in the pre-lottery draft order even if the Suns string together a few more wins than they do.

So to me all this means that the Suns will very likely fall to the 4th spot in the pre-lottery draft order at the end of the season unless they either start to actually try to lose more games or the injury bug hits them again. But whatever actually happens between now and then, we still have to wait on the final bounce of the lottery ping pong balls to find out the actual draft order.

Hopefully this is the year that the Suns get lucky.