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NBA Draft News and Profiles

NBA Draft: What's the difference between pick No. 4 and pick No. 14?

Sure he's not Thomas Robinson, but Jared Sullinger isn't exactly chopped liver, either. (Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE)
Sure he's not Thomas Robinson, but Jared Sullinger isn't exactly chopped liver, either. (Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE)

It is week 5 of Battle of the Basement and Detroit Bad Boys' look at the Detroit Pistons and the NBA's worst teams. Sadly(?), the Pistons have solidified themselves as clearly better than a bottom-four team, however the team is battling a host of others for positions from 5 to 10.

As a reminder, here are the parameters of Battle of the Basement: I don't include the Charlotte Bobcats, who are clearly the league's worst team and will have also replaced the Washington Wizards with the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wizards are three games up in the loss column on the next-worst team and nine ahead of the Pistons, while the Warriors are just two games behind the Pistons in the seeding. And the once-competitive Minnesota Timberwolves have sunk like a stone since the lost of point guard phenom Ricky Rubio Also examined are the New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.

As always, the future strength of schedule number is courtesy of, as well as the power ratings and the predictive end-of-season rankings. The Hollinger rating comes from John Hollinger's power rankings on ESPN. Both systems use numbers beyond strictly wins and losses, instead looking at things through a more complex methodology to examine the best and worst teams.


Detroit Pistons (21-35)

Wins: Magic, Wizards
Losses: @Hawks, @Heat
Last 10: 5-5
L10 scoring margin: -2.28
Season margin: -5.41
To date SOS: 24
Future SOS: 26
Power Rating: 23
Hollinger Rating: 25
Predictive Rank: 26
Upcoming Week: @Magic, @Bobcats, Bucks, Bulls

Comments: Beating the Magic's JV squad hurt the Pistons' lottery chances, but as I said up top the Pistons might actually be a better team than their record suggests. They are above .500 since their putrid 4-20 start. So in a sense, perhaps we're lucky the team got off to as bad a start as they did. It boosts their odds of getting lucky in the lottery and could be a sign of better things to come next season.

And besides, looking at the tiers of the lottery their is a clear No.1 in Anthony Davis and I believe that Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have established themselves as the clear next-best picks. After that I see a lot of potential and question marks from No. 4 all the way to the end of the lottery. As fun a distraction as examining the standings through the funhouse mirror that is the lottery odds, it seems like this season it doesn't much matter.

Check out the teams battling the Pistons for a lottery spot after the jump.

New Orleans Hornets (15-41)

Wins: Nuggets, Timberwolves
Losses: @Spurs
Last 10: 4-6
L10 scoring margin: -3.33
Season margin: -4.77
To date SOS: 4
Future SOS: 23
Power Rating: 27
Hollinger Rating: 24
Predictive Rank: 25
Upcoming Week: Lakers, Kings, Jazz, Grizzlies

Comments: The Hornets are playing competitive ball and have a slew of winnable games this week and the rest of the way. Unfortunately, they've just dug too big a hole for themselves. And at this point its probably a bad thing for Pistons fans that New Orleans kicked off its five-game home stand with a win against Minnesota, which is nipping at Detroit's heels in the standings. The only thing worse would be if they also beat the Kings.

Cleveland Cavaliers (18-36)

Wins: Raptors
Losses: Spurs, @Bucks, @Nets
Last 10: 1-9
L10 scoring margin: -9.89
Season margin: -6.33
To date SOS: 23
Future SOS: 25
Power Rating: 28
Hollinger Rating: 29
Predictive Rank: 28
Upcoming Week: Bobcats, Pacers, @Pacers, @Wizards, Magic

Comments: No team in the NBA is tanking harder than the Cavs, who finally broke a long losing streak (yay) by beating the Toronto Raptors (boo). But even the powers of tanking has its limits and Cleveland might have no choice but to come away with a handful of victories with games against the Bobcats, Wizards (twice) and a truly meaningless game to wrap up the season against Chicago.

Sacramento Kings (18-34)

Wins: Timberwolves
Losses: Suns, Clippers, @Clippers, Rockets
Last 10: 2-8
L10 scoring margin: -2.58
Season margin: -5.79
To date SOS: 12
Future SOS: 6
Power Rating: 24
Hollinger Rating: 28
Predictive Rank: 24
Upcoming Week: @Mavericks, @Hornets, @Thunder, Blazers

Comments: A couple weeks ago it looked like the Kings had "righted their ship" to the point that they would be easily better than the 10 worst teams in the NBA. Now, however, they have won just two of their past 11 games. They do have possible victories against the Hornets, Blazers and Bobcats but the rest of their schedule is against the West's elite.

Toronto Raptors (20-37)


Wins: Bobcats, @76ers
Losses: Cavs, @Thunder
Last 10: 5-5
L10 scoring margin: -1.79
Season margin: -3.37
To date SOS: 29
Future SOS: 10
Power Rating: 25
Hollinger Rating: 23
Predictive Rank: 23
Upcoming Week: @Pacers, 76ers, Celtics, @Hawks

Comments: Beating the struggling Sixers was great news. Losing to the the Cavaliers not so much. The Raptors play a tough schedule of Eastern playoff teams this week and have the 10th hardest schedule remaining in the league with the best shot on paper of a win being a season-ending game against the Nets.

New Jersey Nets (21-37)

Wins: Wizards, Cavs
Losses: @Lakers, @Blazers
Last 10: 6-4
L10 scoring margin: -1.21
Season margin: -5.14
To date SOS: 30
Future SOS: 7
Power Rating: 26
Hollinger Rating: 26
Predictive Rank: 27
Upcoming Week: 76ers, @76ers, Celtics

Comments: The Nets sport a winning record in their last 10 and it is rubber meets the road time as far as how improved they really are with the addition of Gerald Wallace (and Gerald Green). The Nets sport the seventh-toughest schedule but that includes three games against Philadelphia, who has lost 10 of its last 14 and an offense that has gone AWOL. Also on the docket is the Heat visiting New Jersey, and while Miami is murder at home they are susceptible on the road and might be disinterested in the last throes of the regular season.

Golden State Warriors (22-33)

Wins: @Timberwolves, Nuggets
Losses: @Lakers, @Grizzlies, @Jazz
Last 10: 3-7
L10 scoring margin: -2.33
Season margin: -2.04
To date SOS: 13
Future SOS: 4
Power Rating: 22
Hollinger Rating: 22
Predictive Rank: 22
Upcoming Week: @Nuggets, @Blazers, Mavericks, @Clippers

Comments: The Warriors traded their present for the future when they acquired Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh for an injured Andrew Bogut. And, true to form, the team has been horrible since the trade. Team Rankings has them pegged as having the fourth-toughest schedule but the road is easier than it seems. The Warriors have winnable games against the suddenly struggling Nuggets and the tanking Blazers as well as Wolves and Hornets still on the schedule. I wouldn't be too worried about them leapfrogging the Pistons just yet.

Minnesota Timberwolves (25-32)

Wins: None
Losses: @Kings, Warriors, @Hornets
Last 10: 2-8
L10 scoring margin: -4.21
Season margin: -0.77
To date SOS: 10
Future SOS: 18
Power Rating: 21
Hollinger Rating: 21
Predictive Rank: 21
Upcoming Week: Suns, @Nuggets, Clippers, Thunder

Comments: A combination of terrible luck and the loss of their star point guard has sent the Timberwolves crashing down in the past month. But a team with a -0.77 point differential shouldn't be seven games below the .500 mark. Assuming coach Rick Adelman can marshal his troops to stay competitive they should be able to eke out a few more victories and stay ahead of the Pistons in the proper standings.