While several NBA teams are tussling and hustling to determine the top seed in each conference, there is quite an exhilarating race to see which teams will slough enough to finish with the worst records in the league—specifically, the Golden State Warriors.
It's been well documented that the Warriors are in a bit of a quandary with regards to their ineptitude this season. If they continue to lose at the rate they currently are, finishing as one of the seven worst teams record-wise, they have the luxury of retaining their lottery pick for this summer's NBA draft. If, however, they muster enough victories to stay ahead of the bottom seven in the NBA, they unfortunately will have to forgo their draft pick, sending it to the Utah Jazz as a result of an awkward transaction a few seasons ago.
That's right: If the Warriors keep winning, they'll actually lose...their draft pick.
Only Golden State can be mixed up in such a lose-lose situation.
With that said, Warriors fans have been on opposing sides of the fence when it comes to rooting for the team to continue losing. Much debate has been made about whether it's wise for Golden State to lose as many games as possible in order to keep their draft pick—on purpose. Intentionally tank in order to remain in this year's draft lottery.
Not exactly in the point-shaving type of way; more, rather, in the try-their-best-to-not-win-by-not-playing good-basketball way. There's a difference, I suppose.
Whichever way imaginable, at the end of the day, the Warriors are simply bad enough to lose on their own—without intention.
And Wednesday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers was the latest example. The Dubs entered the fourth quarter down 85-75. They opened the final period with a 10-0 run, tying the score. From then on, the Warriors did what they do best: lose. Up 109-106, Portland finished the game on a 9-4 run, finalizing the 118-110 beatdown of the downtrodden Warriors squad.
With the loss, Golden State owns a 22-35 record—the ninth-worst record in the NBA. Right behind them in the tanking race (or ahead of them), are the Detroit Pistons (21-36) and the New Jersey Nets (21-38).
The advantage that the Warriors have over the Pistons and Nets, in terms of potentially acquiring one of the seven worst records in the league, is that the Dubs play in the Western Conference. Clearly, Golden State will have a tougher schedule the rest of the way. Of their remaining nine games, only the Minnesota Timberwolves have a losing record. And the Warriors' contest against Minnesota is on the road, so there is a high likelihood that Golden State can go 0-9 the rest of the way.
Clearly, the Dubs do not want to continue to lose. Nobody enjoys losing. But it won't really matter whether they try to avoid doing so or not. The odds are, with their remaining schedule, as well as the makeshift talent of their current roster, that Golden State will indeed lose the rest of their games.
The only thing that can keep them from tanking into the bottom seven is the continued losing of the Nets and the Pistons. Warriors fans will be scoreboard watching for a different reason: to see if New Jersey and Detroit can actually win some games to push Golden State further down the standings.
Let the scoreboard watching begin.
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