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NBA Draft Lottery 2015: Should the Pistons lose tonight?

The Detroit Pistons are in the NBA Draft Lottery for the sixth straight year. Does that mean they should win or lose the last game of the season?

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Today is tax day. Today is Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball. Today is hump day. Today is #womancrushwednesday. But for those of you reading this article, it might more importantly be the last day of the Pistons 2014-15 season.

The Pistons have had a tumultuous season. New coach. New front office. Twenty different players have worn the Pistons red, blue and white this season. Tonight might even be the last game with the Pistons for Greg Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, Caron Butler, Anthony Tolliver, John Lucas III, Shawne Williams and Joel Anthony. Honestly, it could be the last Pistons game for anyone as Stan Van Gundy may go trade crazy this summer.

So what should the Pistons do tonight in New York? I mean, it's the New York Knicks. The second worst team, by only one game, in the entire National Basketball Association. They should blow them out of the water, right?

Well, not so quickly.

Now, I am not an advocate for tanking. I do not want the Pistons to go out and purposely lose a game. But I won't be that upset if they were to lose tonight.

As was the case in 2013, the Pistons have a chance to win the seventh pick in this coming NBA Draft Lottery. As it stands right now, the Pistons have the eighth worst record in the NBA. But they only have one more win than the Denver Nuggets. While the Pistons face the Knicks, the Nuggets face the Golden State Warriors.

Golden State could do one of two things. Seeing as how they will finish the regular season as the best team in the league, they do not gain much from a win. They are not playing a potential playoff opponent. They will not gain or lose any draft picks with a win or a loss. However, they could be looking for momentum going into the playoffs. If that is the case, they could very well play their starters regular minutes.

But even if the Warriors did not play their starters, it is possible that the Nuggets may not play to win either. They actually win tonight if they lose tonight. Here's how.

The NBA Lottery gives the 14 teams not in the playoffs a chance to win one of the top three picks in the draft. The better team you are, the worse your odds are of winning (unless you're Cleveland). Right now, Denver has a 4.3% chance of winning a top three pick. The Pistons only have a 2.8% chance. That means Denver will have 43 out of 1,000 ping pong ball combinations and Detroit will have 28. If Denver wins tonight and Detroit loses, they will have the same record.

So, what happens in the event of two teams having the same records?

First -- you add up the total of ping pong balls: 43 + 28 = 71

Second -- you divide the total by two: 71 / 2 = 35.5

Third -- in the event that the result is not an integer, a coin flip is used to determine who gets the higher integer.

So since 35.5 is not an integer, the actual split will be 36 to one team and 35 to another. Whoever wins the coin flip (I don't believe they call heads or tails) gets 36, the loser gets 35. So it is possible that the Pistons could add seven or eight more possible combinations to their collection if they lose tonight and Denver wins.

There is no guarantee that this will happen. Stan Van Gundy has already said that he will not play a game with the intention of losing. Also, as of this moment, I have heard no news that any Pistons player is going to rest. So it is very likely that the Pistons will win tonight (though they have lost to New York earlier this year).

But, here is the difference in the seventh and eighth seed mock drafts as they are right now:


  1. Mario Hezonja, SF, Croatia
  2. Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Sevilla


  1. Mario Hezonja, SF, Croatia
  2. Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

Bleacher Report (today)

  1. Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
  2. Mario Hezonja, SF, Croatia

Bleacher Report (two days ago)

  1. Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
  2. Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

  1. Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
  2. Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona


  1. Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
  2. Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

Four of those have the Pistons selecting Stanley Johnson which would be a good selection fit wise for the Pistons. However, Johnson has not actually declared for the draft yet. He wants to feel secure that he will be drafted in the top 10.

So with a win tonight the Pistons 1) lose seven to eight extra lottery combinations, 2) possibly lose the chance at the seventh seed, and 3) end the season with the inverse of The Boourns prediction. And for those sweating cap space, there is only a $180,000 difference between the seventh and eighth seed salaries.

Last year the coin flip was on April 19th. So if we tie, we'll know not long after where we stand. May the odds be ever in our favor (whichever that is).

But with a loss to the Knicks at the end of the season with rumors swirling about Greg going to New York, what does that do?