Suddenly the team that would do anything for a win needs a loss.
The players don’t feel that way, but the fans and probably some people inside the Nets’ offices do.
One more loss or a Minnesota win and the Nets will have the best odds at winning the NBA Draft Lottery. Quite honestly, after a season such as this they need all the help they can get. And as I’ve said repeatedly, if they get the No. 1 pick (John Wall), the Nets’ pursuit of a coach and marquee free agent improves.
After the Nets won their 10th game to avoid a share of the worst record of all-time they talked of catching and passing Minnesota. They didn’t want to be the worst team in the league, and understandably so.
You don’t ever want to promote losing, but just imagine if the Nets caught or passed Minnesota and the Wolves wound up with a higher pick than New Jersey. You know you could see that happening.
Now having the NBA’s worst record doesn’t mean you will get the first overall pick. But you will have a 25 percent chance and then you’re assured of having the first pick in the second round.
Had they passed Minnesota, the Nets' odds of getting No. 1 would have dropped to 17.8 percent and they would have the second pick of the second round.
It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it is, especially if the Nets dropped to five and Minnesota wound up with the No. 1 or No. 2 pick. As of right now, all of that is still possible although not likely.
Showing impeccable timing, hours after the Big Three of Wall, Evan Turner and DeMarcus Cousins all declared themselves for the draft, the Nets lost to Milwaukee last night. They clinched at least a tie for the worst record.
“Superbness,” Devin Harris said matter-of-factly. “It doesn’t help us any right now. We’re trying to win as many games as we can. If it helps us in the future then great. I’m all for it, but we continue to try and win every game that we can.”
Technically, the Nets (11-67) have the worst record because Minnesota (15-63) beat them twice and own the tiebreaker. But that doesn’t matter for the Lottery, which is May 18.
So the Nets, with games against the Bulls, at Indiana, against Charlotte and at Miami, have to win all four. And the Timberwolves, which hosts the Lakers, plays at San Antonio and New Orleans, and hosts Detroit, has to lose all four for the Nets’ lottery chances to lessen.
It’s conceivable but improbable, likely. The Wolves could lose all four, but it’s hard to see the Nets winning all four, especially at this point with the Bulls, Bobcats and Heat all fighting for playoff position and seeding. It could change, though, by the time they meet.
Anyway, from our understanding, if the Nets and Wolves wind up tied they will split the 428 Lottery combinations that go to the two worst teams, so each of them would have a 21.4 percent chance of winning.
But each of them also could drop as low as five instead of four for the worst team. Also, whoever finishes with the better first pick gets the worse second pick.
It would be so much easier if the Nets lost a game or the Wolves won because then these math equations would have to be in every story and take up space explaining.
There’s no guarantee the Nets will win the Lottery if the end up dead last, but their chances will be better. And after a season like this, the Nets need every ounce of help they can get.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)