New Orleans Pelicans Lottery Projections (updated through games on 4/3/13)

By:
Published: March 5, 2013
pingpongballs

With three quarters of the 2012-13 NBA season in the books, it’s impossible to avoid looking towards the 2013 NBA draft this summer. Given each team’s remaining schedule, where are the Hornets most likely to end up?

It’s a question on everyone’s minds, but likely one that not many want to talk about. Though many hoped for an outside shot at the playoffs back in October, the Hornets are back in the lottery again this season, destined for an anti-climatic final month of the season. The one thing that remains uncertain is how many ping pong balls the Pelicans will possess on Tuesday, May 21st. Looking at the current NBA standings, it appears that the Hornets could end up anywhere from the 3rd worst to 11th worst team, an incredibly wide range. However, by analyzing each team’s remaining schedule, we should be able to narrow that range down. First, let’s take a look at what we do know.

Charlotte and Orlando are horrible

The Bobcats currently sport the league’s worst record at 13-47, 3 1/2 games worse than Orlando’s 17-44 record. Orlando has a three game edge on the NBA’s third worst team, one that will be incredibly difficult to relinquish. Barring unforeseen circumstances, expect the Bobcats and Magic to own the best lottery odds in May.

Dallas, Portland, and the LA Lakers are uncatchable

Dallas, currently the league’s 12th worst team, leads the Hornets by 6 games in the standings and every other team between them and New Orleans by at least 2 1/2 games. While a couple of those other teams may have a chance to pass the Mavs, the Hornets definitely do not. There is virtually no chance that the Hornets will pick any worse than 11th.

The rest is a mess

A gap of just four games separates Washington at 19-39, Philadelphia at 23-35, and the seven other teams in between. In particular, five teams are separated by just one game – Washington, Cleveland, Sacramento, Phoenix, and New Orleans. One unexpected outcome between now and the season’s end could have drastic consequences on the draft order. As a result, it becomes difficult to project what that order may fall into, but each team’s remaining schedule should be of great use in order to make an educated projection. Let’s take a closer look at these nine teams in question.

  • Washington Wizards (19-39)
    • 10 home, 14 road
    • 7 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 11
    • Expected W/L: 27-55
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (20-40)
    • 12 home, 10 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 8
    • Expected W/L: 26-56
  • Sacramento Kings (21-40)
    • 13 home, 8 road
    • 4 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 5
    • Expected W/L: 25-57
  • New Orleans Hornets (21-40)
    • 11 home, 10 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 5
    • Expected W/L: 26-56
  • Phoenix Suns (21-39)
    • 12 home, 10 road
    • 4 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 8
    • Expected W/L: 27-55
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (20-36)
    • 14 home, 12 road
    • 9 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 8
    • Expected W/L: 28-54
  • Detroit Pistons (23-39)
    • 8 home, 12 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 8
    • Expected W/L: 29-53
  • Toronto Raptors (23-38)
    • 10 home, 11 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 9
    • Expected W/L: 31-51
  • Philadelphia 76ers (23-35)
    • 9 home, 15 road
    • 8 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 8
    • Expected W/L: 33-49

 

Given the above data, here are my projections for the NBA draft lottery order as of Tuesday, March 5th, 2013, with each team’s chance at landing the #1 pick:

 

1. Charlotte Bobcats (17-65)  25.0%

2. Orlando Magic (21-61)  19.9%

3. Sacramento Kings (25-57)  15.6%

4a. Cleveland Cavaliers (26-56)  10.35%

4b. New Orleans Pelicans (26-56)  10.35%

6a. Washington Wizards (27-55)  5.3%

6b. Phoenix Suns (27-55)  5.3%

8. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-54)  2.8%

9. Detroit Pistons (29-53)  1.7%

10. Toronto Raptors (31-51)  1.1%

11. Philadelphia 76ers (33-49)  0.8%

12. Portland Trail Blazers (36-46)  0.7%

13. Dallas Mavericks (37-45)  0.6%

14. Los Angeles Lakers (42-40) 0.5%

 

As you can see, a one-game difference in the standings could have immense residual impacts on the draft lottery. In fact, before last night’s “unexpected” loss to the Magic, I projected the Hornets to finish 27-55, which would have created a 3-way tie for the 5th-worst record, giving each of those three teams roughly a 6.45% chance at the #1 pick. By adding one more loss to the Hornets’ projection, they move into a 2-way tie for the 4th-worst record, earning them a 10.35% chance at that top pick, a difference of nearly 4%. Even if they don’t luck into the top pick for a second straight season, that one loss could mean the difference between the 7th pick and the 4th pick (going by these projections). I don’t need to explain to you how significant that could end up being, because Ryan Schwan does it for us every summer.

An extra four percent or three draft slots higher for just one additional loss on a Monday night against a bottom-5 NBA team? Even the most win-hungry of Hornets fans have to be able to see the benefit in that. While I am not urging any Hornets fans to root for their team to lose, it is important to see the positive long-term effects that losses could have on the Pelicans’ NBA draft position this summer.

 

Between now and the end of the season, I will periodically provide updated projections for the lottery teams’ final records and resulting lottery order given additional game data. Teams that see their record projection change will be in bold, and a brief explanation will be given.

 

UPDATE (3/8/13)

1. Charlotte Bobcats (17-65)  25.0%

2. Orlando Magic (21-61)  19.9%

3. Sacramento Kings (25-57)  15.6%

4. New Orleans Pelicans (26-56)  11.9%

5. Cleveland Cavaliers (27-55)  8.8%  – 3/6/13 victory over Jazz

6a. Washington Wizards (27-55)  5.3%

6b. Phoenix Suns (27-55)  5.3%

8. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-54)  2.8%

9. Detroit Pistons (29-53)  1.7%

10. Toronto Raptors (31-51)  1.1%

11. Philadelphia 76ers (33-49)  0.8%

12. Portland Trail Blazers (36-46)  0.7%

13. Dallas Mavericks (37-45)  0.6%

14. Los Angeles Lakers (42-40) 0.5%

 

UPDATE (3/14/13)

1. Charlotte Bobcats (18-64)  25.0% - 3/12/13 win over Celtics

2. Orlando Magic (22-60)  19.9%3/10/13 win over 76ers

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (25-57)  15.6%  - Kyrie Irving injury

4a. New Orleans Pelicans (26-56)  10.35%

4b. Phoenix Suns (26-56)  10.35% - Marcin Gortat injury

6a. Sacramento Kings (27-55)  5.3% - 3/13/13 win over Bulls

6b. Washington Wizards (27-55)  5.3%

8. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-54)  2.8%

9. Detroit Pistons (29-53)  1.7%

10. Toronto Raptors (31-51)  1.1%

11. Philadelphia 76ers (32-50)  0.8% - 3/10/13 loss to Magic

12. Portland Trail Blazers (36-46)  0.7%

13. Dallas Mavericks (38-44)  0.6% – 3/12/13 win over Milwaukee

14. Utah Jazz (41-41) 0.5%  - Projected to miss the playoffs instead of Lakers

 

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (22-42)
    • 9 home, 9 road
    • 4 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 6
    • Expected W/L: 25-57
  • New Orleans Hornets (22-43)
    • 9 home, 8 road
    • 2 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 5
    • Expected W/L: 26-56
  • Phoenix Suns (22-43)
    • 9 home, 8 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 6
    • Expected W/L: 26-56
  • Sacramento Kings (23-43)
    • 9 home, 7 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 3
    • Expected W/L: 27-55
  • Washington Wizards (21-42)
    • 8 home, 11 road
    • 5 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 8
    • Expected W/L: 27-55
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (22-40)
    • 9 home, 11 road
    • 7 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 7
    • Expected W/L: 28-54
  • Detroit Pistons (23-44)
    • 6 home, 9 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 8
    • Expected W/L: 29-53
  • Toronto Raptors (25-40)
    • 9 home, 8 road
    • 4 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 7
    • Expected W/L: 31-51
  • Philadelphia 76ers (24-40)
    • 6 home, 12 road
    • 6 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 7
    • Expected W/L: 32-50

 

UPDATE (3/19/13)

1. Charlotte Bobcats (18-64)  25.0%

2. Orlando Magic (22-60)  19.9%

3a. Cleveland Cavaliers (25-57)  – 13.75%

3b. New Orleans Pelicans (25-57)  – 13.75%

5a. Phoenix Suns (27-55)  6.47 %

5b. Sacramento Kings (27-55)  6.47% 

5c. Washington Wizards (27-55)  6.47%

8. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-54)  2.8%

9. Detroit Pistons (29-53)  1.7%

10. Toronto Raptors (31-51)  1.1%

11. Philadelphia 76ers (33-49)  0.8%

12. Portland Trail Blazers (37-45)  0.7%

13. Dallas Mavericks (39-43)  0.6%

14. Utah Jazz (42-40) 0.5%

 

UPDATE 4/4/13

1.  Charlotte Bobcats (19-63)  25%

2. Orlando Magic (20-62)  19.9%

3a. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-58)  13.75%

3b. Phoenix Suns (24-58)  13.75%

5a. Detroit Pistons (27-55) 7.55%

5b. New Orleans Hornets (27-55)  7.55%

7a. Sacramento Kings (29-53)  2.93%

7b. Washington Wizards (29-53)  2.93%

7c. Toronto Raptors (29-53)  2.93%

10a. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51)  0.95%

10b. Philadelphia 76ers (31-51)  0.95%

12. Portland Trail Blazers (35-47)  0.7%

13. Dallas Mavericks (39-43)  0.6%

14. Utah Jazz (42-40)  0.5%

 

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (22-52)
    • 4 home, 4 road
    • 2 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 4
  • Phoenix Suns (23-52)
    • 3 home, 4 road
    • 1 back-to-back
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 1
  • Detroit Pistons (25-51)
    • 3 home, 3 road
    • 1 back-to-back
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 4
  • New Orleans Hornets (26-49)
    • 2 home, 5 road
    • 1 back-to-back
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 2
  • Sacramento Kings (27-48)
    • 4 home, 3 road
    • 1 back-to-back
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 1
  • Washington Wizards (28-47)
    • 3 home, 4 road
    • 2 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 1
  • Toronto Raptors (28-47)
    • 3 home, 4 road
    • 2 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 1
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (28-46)
    • 4 home, 4 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 3
  • Philadelphia 76ers (30-44)
    • 2 home, 6 road
    • 3 back-to-backs
    • Games vs. bottom-11 teams remaining: 3
21 comments
Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Glad to see the Kings are finally pulling away from the Hornets. I am so shocked by how solid they are at home considering how horrible they are on the road. The one team I am a little concerned about is Detroit. Without Drummond they have lost their rebounding advantage and have nobody to protect the rim. They have a relatively easy schedule but they just cant beat anybody right now. Hope they turn it around. I will take a tie for 3rd in ping pong balls. If I remember correctly, that all but guarantees us a top 5 pick, which makes me happy

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Even if Kings lose every single road game here on out, there is no way they go 3-6 at home. I am telling you, that is a very good home team. They will win at least 28 games this year. Book it! Clevelan has had some quality games w/o Kyrie, but I am afraid they finish with more losses than us. Big game on March 31st. Bad news that Kevin Love couldn't come back this week, though Chase Budinger might be back soon. Their schedule is tough. We MUST lose to them on Sunday! Hopefully Bradley Beal returns on Friday, beats us and finishes the year strong. My ping pong ball prediction: 1. Charlotte 2. Orlando 3. Cleveland 4. Phoenix 5. New Orleans 6. Minnesota 7. Sacto 8. Washington 9. Detroit 10. Philly 11. OKC via Toronto

504ever
504ever

Time for an update? We are currently in a two way tie for 4th to worst or a three way for the 3rd to worst, depending on how precise your math is. What I am not sure of is how the teams are projected to end up.

WhoDatPelican96
WhoDatPelican96

#SuckForShabazz #LoseSomeMoreForMclemore #PlayPoorlyForPorter #PlayStupidGetSmart

RT
RT

If we end up with the 10th pick this year, the 2012-2013 season should be considered a MASSIVE failure.

504ever
504ever

I not sure how we can talk about who we will pick until we know where we will pick then, if it is anything like last year's 10th pick, there will be lots of opinions.

Snow
Snow

Hoping for Porter, Smart, Shabazz. I wouldn't want Noel even though he is good just because having two slender big body men (Noel & AD23) wouldn't be the best for defending other big centers. From where you have your lottery projections, who do you think each team would pick? At least the top 5-7

RT
RT

Marcus Smart, in my opinion, makes the most sense of anyone in this draft, for a few reasons. 1. Resigning or extending Vasquez after next year makes little to no sense. He is going to cost entirely too much, and he has peaked athletically. His 3 ball has dramatically improved, helping him become a productive asset for us this year, but I cant envision us bringing him back on a new deal for 2014-2015 (if he isnt shopped at next seasons deadline). 2. By pretty much every advanced metric, the Hornets have been an attrocious defensive ball club this year. I think a large part of that is due to GV's defensive limitations. Smart is a big, athletic, and gritty defender, with an emerging offensive skill set. He gets into the paint at will, and would be a HUGE upgrade on the defensive side. Monty's first few years in New Orleans were marked by being exceptional defensively, that has simply not been the case this year. If we couldn't get Smart, Shabazz or Otto Porter would have to be the Plan B. Solidifying the 3 needs to be a point of emphasis. Porter has looked like a star in Big East play, and fits the bill in terms of size and skill set. Shabazz has a great motor, and he can score, but I have some question marks on how well he can defend 3's in the NBA. Regardles, the Pelicans will have done quite nice, and will have immediately filled a void in the current lineup if we can land one of those 3.

Nate
Nate

So the Hornets have the most difficult Strength of Schedule remaining of all the lottery teams. Time to break out the scouting vids for this year's draft class. If we pick later in the draft, I'm thinking Anthony Bennett. With a rim attacking big fella, Davis should be protected from a lot of banging. I envision a fast break with Bennett/Davis on either side to finish and Anderson trailing. Very dangerous.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

I know Sacramento plays good teams, but they are very good at home. Like .500+ ball good. They have 13 home games remaining and 8 on the road. They are so awful on the road that I see 1-7 as a real possibility. But I think the home record stays around .500, meaning 6-7 more home wins. I think they finish with more than the Hornets, as does Washington because of their schedule.

Mason Ginsberg
Mason Ginsberg

Remaining home games - Clippers, T-Wolves, 76ers, Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Hornets, Clippers. I think they will almost certainly beat the 76ers and Hornets, and toss-ups in the T-Wolves and Mavericks games. I have them losing every other game. Their lone road game where they will get close to even odds is at Phoenix, which is on the second night of a back-to-back. In my opinion, their ceiling is 5 wins, with 3 or 4 being most likely. In all honesty, I should probably have put them at 27 (just made an adjustment). I think out of these three - vs. Minn, vs. Dallas, @ Phx - they will win two of them, to go along with home wins over the 76ers and Hornets.

mateor
mateor

I am scared of all of these teams. The tank model is in full effect and teams know that fans (like me) will accept losing for draft picks. The current NBA has basically cut mediocre teams from the league. We have playoff teams, and then HORRIBLE teams. No in-between.

Mason Ginsberg
Mason Ginsberg

Update made. Kyrie Irving's injury for Cleveland really hurts.

Nate
Nate

You are officially my hero.

jsl05
jsl05

#tankdellfornoel

lsutigers33
lsutigers33

According to Chad Ford, if Orlando doesn't get the top pick and picks before us, they will take Smart. Smart is the best b/c of all the things Monty loves for kids to do. Play D, play smart, contribute in many ways. Marcus will make GV better when playing together b/c he will defend the top O player. The kids game is built for the NBA since he was 15. Go research all his summer camps and look at his stat lines. It's very possible Shabazz slips to 6 and we grab him to backup at 2.

Nate
Nate

Could he play the 3? If the pick is early in the draft, I'd say Smart/Shabazz/Oladipo, depending on who's available. Picking the best player gives us the best shot, as most of the roster will be different and built around our lotteries/Anderson.

lsutigers33
lsutigers33

That 5 spot is a key in my eyes based off percentages that give us better odds to move up.

Mason Ginsberg
Mason Ginsberg

Kings’ remaining schedule (* indicates game 2 of B2B): v Den, @ GS*, v Phx, v Mil, v Chi, @ LAL, v LAC, v Min, @ Den, v Phi*, @ GS, @ Phx*, v LAL, v Hou, v Dal, v Mem, v NO, @ SAS, @ Hou, @ OKC*, v LAC First, the road games. Phoenix, Golden State twice, Lakers, Rockets, Nuggets, Spurs, Thunder. I see 1-7 as their best case scenario, especially given the fact that their weakest opponent (Suns) comes on the second night of a back to back, as does one of their two Warriors games. At home, there are seven games that they have more than a slim chance at winning – Phoenix, Milwaukee, Chicago, Minnesota, Philly, Dallas, and New Orleans. Chicago has a better road record than home record, so I called that one a loss. The Philly game comes the second night of a back-to-back, so I gave them a loss there too. Now the question becomes whether or not you think they will win all five of those remaining games. I say they go 2-0 against the Suns and Hornets (although the Hornets have dominated the Kings in both games in New Orleans this year) and either 1-2 or 2-1 against the Bucks, T-Wolves, & Mavs. I estimated .5 road wins and 3.5 home wins from here on out, getting me to my 25-57 total, but I could easily see 26. I’d have a hard time giving them any more than that, but anything can happen of course. My projections agree with your take on the Wizards.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

I think the Kings can beat good teams at home- they are that different in their own arena. So far this season they have beaten Golden State (twice), Boston, New York, Utah (twice), the Lakers, and Houston at home. They can beat playoff team at home. To me, the way they play at home, all 13 of those games are "winnable"

Trackbacks

  1. […] with the theme of the first podcast, Mason looks at lottery projections (look for this to be updates as the season goes on). Mike’s Missing Piece article of the week […]