The Wolves have had abysmal draft lottery luck in their franchise history. They have never improved their position. On a handful of infamous occasions, they have fallen a slot or two below where they were projected to pick based on record, winding up with lesser players than they should have had.
There is no guarantee that this curse will be lifted on May 19, 2015, when another very important draft lottery will be held to determine the order teams choose in June. But this much is guaranteed:
By virtue of unexpected results from the Knicks and by excelling at the one thing this franchise has really excelled at over the years — losing — the Wolves have positioned themselves quite nicely.
Minnesota has lost 11 consecutive games and 22 of its last 25, including last night’s 100-88 loss to the Pelicans. The Knicks, meanwhile, looked to easily be on track to claim the league’s worst record … but they have won three of their last five, including last night’s stunning win over the first-place Hawks. That has infuriated a New York fan base that had warmed to the idea of tanking because now, with one game left in the season, the Knicks are one game better (17-64 to 16-65) than the Wolves).
As long as Minnesota loses to OKC on Wednesday — the Wolves are playing with a decimated roster and the Thunder is battling for a playoff spot still — the Wolves will be assured of having the worst record (and the best lottery odds).
In addition to giving the Wolves a 25 percent chance of the top pick and about a 2 in 3 chance of having at least a top-3 pick, it would ensure they would fall no further than fourth in the order.
On a team that doesn’t figure to attract top free agents, one more high pick is a big deal. We’re not saying the ends of losing justify the means of picking high because you never know how these things are going to turn out and tanking is a concept we still can’t stand.
But for those who have lamented the luck of Minnesota teams over the years — including the Vikings a few years back, who lost out on draft position with a late-season win — this seems to be a reversal of that.