It may be simply how the schedule shook out, and maybe the timing is only coincidental, but the ill-timed four-game winning streak, only the team's second of the long 82-game season, is reasonably frustrating for the fans who want nothing but the best for their favorite team and believe that better lottery odds is important to that end.
There's a legitimate argument that it doesn't matter, and maybe that's right. In 2009-2010, the Pistons finished the season's final six games 4-2 and wound up with the No. 7 pick instead of what could have conceivably been No. 3.
They got Greg Monroe. Oh.
Further, in 2010-2011, despite winning four out of their last five, their odds or options weren't hurt by a strong close, and they arguably blew their pick anyway. Last year, they fell to No. 9, and we all know how well that worked out (only possible because 7-8 teams missed and perhaps because the Pistons "blew" their pick in 2011).
And thus, you can see, no matter what you believe, a fair amount of luck is involved in addition to the lottery odds. Anytime that's the case, it's understandable to want the odds improved in your team's favor. A chance to pick before someone else, rather than rely on them picking the wrong player, and ultimately your team gets better, why wouldn't you want the odds in your team's favor? That's why such a strong finish to a putrid season is so damn agitating and feels like pile on.
The Pistons' four-game winning streak has already dropped them from having No. 4 pick lottery combinations, possibly even a tie for some of No. 3's lottery combos, to being tied for No. 7 and No. 8. At 29-52, they're tied with the Wizards for the 7th worst record in the NBA, which means, if the season ended after 81 games, they would receive the average of the No. 7 (43) and No. 8 (28) combinations and a coin flip would determine who would get the other's half.
Below is a look at the draft standings and how Wednesday's games might affect the lottery odds:
No. 9 - Minnesota (30-51)
No. 8 - Detroit (29-52)
No. 7 - Washington (29-52)
No. 6 - Sacramento (28-53)
* Minnesota plays at San Antonio, where the Spurs have lost all of five times this season. With no playoff implications on the line, they'll likely rest their starters, though, giving Minnesota a decent chance at a win.
* Detroit plays at Brooklyn. Detroit will probably win.
* Washington plays at Chicago. The Bulls are still in it for the No. 5 spot in the East for the right to play Brooklyn, who they would rather play, I think (3-1 vs. Brooklyn this year; 1-3 vs. Indiana), so it's hard to see them losing this one.
* Sacramento hosts the Clippers, who will be playing for home court advantage in the 1st round. Okay, the Clippers will probably win.
Obviously, wins from the T-Wolves, Wiz and Kings with a Pistons loss would be most beneficial to their lottery odds. If that were the case, Detroit would jump into a tie with the Kings for the No. 6 (63) and No. 7 (43) combos, so 53 each, which would all but eliminate their chances of picking outside the Top 8 and improve the slim odds of picking higher.
The likeliest outcome is probably a tie with the Wizards, but the worst possible outcome is a tie with the Timberwolves for the No. 8 (28) and No. 9 (17) combos. That would give the Pistons 22 and a coin flip for one more, and not to mention the slightest chance of falling as low as No. 12 in the draft order, with 8-10 being most likely. Headed for a Top 5 pick just two weeks ago, picking outside the Top 10 would sting pretty, pretty bad.
I guess we'll see how it lines up after Wednesday night, where nine of the 15 games have playoff implications, but we'll be following four for the lottery.