Reverse Standings – Updated Update

Tankapalooza goes down Thursday across the league…is the Raptors’ game worth watching? Is it worth playing?

The apple of our eye.

Just wanted to provide an update to yesterday’s article now that every team is down to a single game remaining to play.

I was (fairly) called out yesterday for using rough numbers in place of actual calculations with respect to the lottery odds – I’m sorry for this, and should have taken the time to calculate the tiebreakers rather than rushing to post between meetings. Luckily for today’s piece I have a bit more time, and will provide exact (as best I can) odds for each potential scenario.

To clear this up – I indicated that ties were broken by a tiebreaking coin-flip…this is not really true. It IS true if team’s don’t win the lottery (e.g. if teams 1-2-3-4 finish the lottery selecting in that order, two teams tied for 5th would have a coin-flip to determine who gets the 5th pick and who gets the 6th), a coin-flip determines the better standing, but since my article used “odds at the #1 pick” as the evaluatory tool, I should have noted that the coin-flip in these cases only determines a single extra ping-pong ball, after the average of the spots is given to both teams (e.g. if two teams tie for 5th/6th, both receive the AVERAGE odds of the 5th and 6th spots, and if this number is not an integer, the coin-flip determines who gets the one extra ball, so to speak). This obviously wasn’t clear, and it was irresponsible of me to use such a rough generalization.

Below is the chart I posted yesterday showing the reverse standings for lottery teams, updated to reflect Wednesday’s games.

Team Wins Losses Opponent Best Place Worst Place Best Odds Worst Odds Swing
Charlotte 7 58 NY 1 1 25 25 0
Washington 19 46 Mia 2 2 19.9 19.9 0
New Orleans 21 44 @Hou 3 5-Tie 15.6 7.55 8.05
Sacramento 21 44 LAL 3 5-Tie 15.6 7.55 8.05
Cleveland 21 44 @Chi 3 5-Tie 15.6 7.55 8.05
Toronto 22 43 NJ 3-Tie(4tm) 7-Tie 10.65 3.55 7.1
New Jersey 22 43 @Tor 3-Tie(4tm) 7-Tie 10.65 3.55 7.1
Golden State 23 42 SA 7-Tie 8-Tie 3.55 2.25 1.3
Detroit 24 41 Phi 8-Tie 9 2.25 1.7 0.55
Minnesota 26 39 Den 10 10 1.1 1.1 0
Portland 28 37 @Uta 11 11 0.8 0.8 0
Milwaukee 31 34 @Bos 12 12 0.7 0.7 0
Phoenix 33 33 13 13-Tie 0.6 0.55 0.05
Houston 33 32 NO 13-Tie 14 0.55 0.5 0.05

Now, places 1-2 and 10-14 are relatively firm, but spots 3-9 are in serious flux based on tonights outcomes. There are, therefore, a tonne of different scenarios that could occur to swing teams, though the most likely is that most of the teams lose and NJ/Tor is the big “swing” game. That said, let’s have a look at some different scenarios strictly as they apply to the Raptors, just so people can look back after the game tonight (after they’re done flushing their eyes, of course) and see what our odds look like. Once again, I’ll disclaim that I refer to “odds at Davis” but in general, the scenarios also improve the odds at pick #2 or pick #3, just adjust the scope/importance (and numbers, a bit) accordingly.

Best Case – Raps in 4-way Tie for 3rd
How: Raptors lose; New Orleans, Sacramento, and Cleveland all win.
Thoughts: Earlier in the year this would seem damn new impossible. That said, Houston, the Lakers, and the Bulls have nothing to play for at this point, and the Hornets, Kings, and Cavaliers have players with individual motivation. It still seems like an extreme long-shot, but that’s the “best” case scenario, getting the Raptors slightly better than 1-in-10 odds at Anthony Davis.

Worst Case – Raps in 2-way Tie for 7th
How: Raptors win, Warriors lose.
Thoughts: The Warriors have become the kings of tanking, so I don’t doubt their ability to lose to the Spurs’ third unit. The Raptors are one of the few lottery teams that have actually tried down the stretch, so you’d certainly pick them to beat the Nets, all else equal. This one looks uncomfortably likely, and would drop the chances at Anthony Davis to less than 4%.

Other Scenarios – If Raptors Lose
If the Raptors lose tonight, they could finish in that massive tie for 3rd, a smaller tie for 4th, an even smaller tie for 5th, or with sole possession of 6th.
Raptors lose, NO/Sac/Cle all win – Outlined above.
Raptors lose, two of NO/Sac/Cle win – Rather than all three winning, one team can lose, giving the Raptors a 3-way tie for 4th and a 9% shot at Unibrow.
Raptors lose, one of NO/Sac/Cle win – Now just one team has to squeak it out, giving the Raptors a 2-way tie with that team for 5th and a 7.55% chance at Davis.
Raptors lose, nobody else wins – Here the Raptors simply split their current tie with the Nets, giving them sole possesion of 6th and 6.3% odds at winning the lottery.

Other Scenarios – If Raptors Win
Other than the “worst case” mentioned above, a win would also give the Raps the distinction of winning more games this year than last, despite playing 16 less. I feel like this might be a point Casey uses to motivate the guys, and again, the Nets are quite the tankers, so this might be what we’re looking at.
Raptors win, Warriors winThe Raptors avoid the tie for 7th and instead lose the “split” with the Nets, giving them sole possession of 7th and 4.3% odds.
Raptors win, Warriors lose
The Warriors tank into a tie with the Raptors for 7th, dropping our odds down to 3.55%.

And finally, a quick and ugly chart summarizing the different scenarios! Please feel free to comment, hypothesize, and let me know of any scenarios or outcomes I may have missed. Enjoy the worst basketball game of all time tonight…I’ll be there, in my seats in Section 111, for the very last time (*tear).

Raptors Seed Raptors Odds “How” Odds at #2 Odds at #3 Odds at Top-5
3-Tie (4-way) 10.65% TOR lose, NO/Sac/Cle all win 11.3% 11.9% 63.9%
4-Tie (3-way) 9% TOR lose, 2 of NO/Sac/Cle win 9.8% 10.7% 53.2%
5-Tie (2-way) 7.55% TOR lose, 1 of NO/Sac/Cle win 8.4% 9.4% 38.4%
6 (alone) 6.30% TOR lose, NO/Sac/Cle all lose 7.1% 8.1% 21.5%
7 (alone) 4.30% TOR win, GS win 4.9% 5.8% 15.0%
7-Tie (2-way) 3.55% TOR win, GS lose 4.1% 4.9% 12.5%

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