As almost everyone knows, we traded John Salmons to Milwaukee to rid ourselves of his potential 2010 salary. We gave up two second round picks (2011 & 2012), to do so and we agreed to give Milwaukee the option of swapping 1st round picks with us, as long as our pick is #11 or above. I hate giving away 2nd round picks because they are useful for filling out a roster and, more importantly, in the recent past the Bulls have drafted well in the 2nd round (Duhon and Gray); however, this post is about that 1st round pick.
The Bulls have played 65 games and currently sit at 31-34, this gives us a win percentage of .477. Draft position is determined by record and our record among the whole league is 11th worst. The 11th pick is the worst place to be in the draft for us, because we would give it to Milwaukee, but if we could fall one more spot, we would keep the 10th pick.
Is there any hope that we fall to 10th worst team?
The answer is yes, but there's not a lot of hope. Of those 10 teams worse than us, two of them, New Jersey and Minnesota, are guaranteed to have worse records than us. That is,even if we lost every game and they won every game they couldn't have a better record than us. The 8 teams that give us hope (and the maximum number of wins the could receive in parentheses) are Golden State (35), Indiana (38), Sacramento (38), New York (39), Detroit (40), Philadelpha (40), Washington (40), and our biggest hope comes from the L.A. Clippers (41). You pretty much know you're team is screwed when you're counting on the L.A. Clippers to win games.
How does the Lottery affects things?
The lottery means any team in it has a chance at getting picks 1-3, so even the 11th worst team could draft a top 3 prospect or get shifted back as far as the 14th pick , if the lottery is won by teams 12-14. The only way to actually guarantee that we keep the pick is to fall to the 7th worst seed, but really even the 10th worst team only has a 9.1 % chance to draft later than 10th. As the 11th pick, we have a 2.9% chance to draft 1-3.
The sad truth
If we make the playoffs, most of us won't care if we fall 1-2 slots and give our pick to the Bucks, I know I wouldn't. It's just looking less and less likely that that's going to happen. Swishh "being as pessimistic as possible" thought the Bulls would end up with a 37-45 record going 6 and 11 the rest of the way. I actually think the Bulls could be even worse, but I'll work with his numbers for fun. We only need one of those 6 teams to get a record better than us, but it's not likely. If we finished the next 17 games, 6 and 17 (.350 during that period), it would take the L.A. Clippers winning 75% of their last 16 games for them to drop us to the 10th seed in the draft. I find that depressing. There are five other teams that could make a run with a run at the 11th seed, but predicting a huge winning streak for any of them is hard to believe when so far they've all played worse than .400 so far. The sad truth is Gar Paxson should have seen that top-10 protection was mostly useless and should have got more protection on it, at least 11th.