Pistons leave the door open for Wizards to secure best lottery odds

2023 NBA Draft
2023 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

On Friday, the Washington Wizards played their final home game of the 2023-24 season, welcoming in the Chicago Bulls for Fan Appreciation Night at the Capital One Arena. While Friday night's 129-127 final score ended in favor of Chicago, the events of the night in the NBA may spell a positive ending for the Wizards after all.

The Detroit Pistons traveled to Dallas to take on the Mavericks, their second-to-last game of the year. Under normal circumstances, the Mavericks would have almost certainly made easy work of the Pistons, who sit at 14-67 this season. However, with Dallas' spot in the playoffs secured, the team gave its key contributors the night off.

Led by Marcus Sasser's 24-point performance, the Pistons capitalized on the opportunity against a shorthanded Mavericks squad, taking a 107-89 victory at the American Airlines Center. Detroit's win coupled with Washington's loss moves the team to within one game of each other with the regular season coming to a close on Sunday.

What are the Wizards' chances of securing the best odds in the draft lottery?

With the Wizards set to travel north to Boston to face the Celtics and the Pistons traveling across Texas to face the San Antonio Spurs, the stage is set for a potential tie at the bottom of the league's standings.

Last season, the Wizards found themselves in a tie with the Indiana Pacers in the draft lottery. Washington lost the tiebreaker, picking eighth in last summer's draft as opposed to seventh. The drawing resulted in Indiana selecting Bilal Coulibaly at seventh overall, who the Wizards would swap Jarace Walker and a pair of future second-round picks to acquire on draft night.

Coulibaly trade

If the Wizards drop their game against the Celtics, their season-long record will come to 15-67 on the year. Down south, a win over the Spurs would bring the Pistons to the same conclusion. Although both positions in the lottery share the same 14 percent odds at obtaining the first overall pick, holding top priority guarantees a team will not come away from the draft lottery with a pick any lower than fifth overall.

Tip-off for the Wizards' final game of the regular season is scheduled for 1:00 PM ET in Boston, allowing Washington fans to catch the Pistons' 3:30 PM ET matchup with the Spurs. The Wizards will likely head into Sunday's matchup without several key players, which may serve the team well in completing their half of this potential tiebreaker opportunity.

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