Elite Sports NY will examine for you the top three contending teams for the fourth spot in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The race for the NBA Draft Lottery’s ping pong balls is in full gear.
The Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers currently hold the fourth spot in the draft lottery while the New York Knicks are only a game back.
This is the second of three articles looking at the last remaining games of these three bottom-dwelling teams. The Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks predictions have been posted. Without further ado, the second team:
Orlando Magic (26-45)
The Magic are 4-7 in the month of March and things do not seem to be getting easier. Seven of their final eleven games will be against playoff teams.
March 22: vs Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have won each game played by these two teams this season. An even more depressing statistic is the average margin of defeat for Orlando, which in this series, has been slightly over 26 points. The latest Hornets victory came less than a week ago, with a 40 point win in the Spectrum Center. This appears to be another loss for the Magic.
March 24: vs Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have dominated this matchup since the end of 2014. Going back to December of 2014, the Pistons have won seven of eight games against the Magic. Orlando did manage to come out victorious in the last matchup. These are two of the lowest scoring teams in the NBA, with Orlando at 29 and Detroit at 26. While both teams struggle to score, the Pistons are a top-tier defensive team. They are currently seventh in the NBA in defensive rating. They will be able to hold down an already poor offensive team in Orlando.
March 27: @ Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have struggled with consistency all season long. Since the All Star Break, the team is 8-5. After a 22-10 start to the season, the Raptors have gone 19-19 in 2017. The only saving grace for them is that they have a 23-12 record at home. These two teams have met three times already on the season and the Magic have won two of these meetings, with one coming in Toronto. There is some serious upset potential here, but this will be a well rested Raptors team, who will be playing a Mavericks team coming off games against the Warriors and Clippers. With a possible blowout looming, and a chance to rest their starters vs the Mavericks, Toronto should be able to take care of Orlando.
March 29: vs Oklahoma City Thunder
The Magic upset the Thunder in Oklahoma City in their last meeting. They did this by hitting eleven threes and hitting 46 percent from long-range. This was most certainly a fluke, as the Magic are statistically the worst three point shooting team in the NBA at 32 percent. They will not be able to repeat this performance.
March 31: @ Boston Celtics
A fully healthy Boston squad, playing at home, against a team they have already beaten twice.
April 01: @ Brooklyn Nets
We finally made it. Five straight wins for Orlando since 2015. This will move to six in April.
April 04: @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Call me crazy — the now 50-loss Magic enter the home arena of the number one team in the East, and possibly the NBA. This is a series that has been dominated by Cleveland since 2013, with the Cavs winning 16 straight. One of the highest scoring teams in the NBA against possibly the NBA’s worst defense. The Magic should have no shot in this game. So why am I picking Cleveland to lose this game? The Cavs should be resting their starters in this game. The next night they play in Boston, who trail the Cavs by only one game for the one-seed. With no LeBron, and possibly no Kyrie, the Magic will be able to steal a game in Cleveland.
April 06: vs Brooklyn Nets
A late three-game win steak in April for the Magic.
April 08: vs Indiana Pacers
A terrible matchup for Orlando. The Pacers have won all three meetings this season by an average of 14 points. With the Pacers likely playing for playoff seeding, expect the Magic’s winning streak to come to an end.
April 10: @ Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have looked more than fine since Wade’s season-ending injury, with a close loss to the Wizards and a win against the Jazz. The Bulls play quite possibly the easiest five-game stretch of the season to end the year, with games against the Knicks, Sixers and Nets twice. Playing against another team looking for a playoff spot, the Magic likely lose a second straight game.
April 12: vs Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are, as of today, the eighth seed in the East. The Pistons’ matchup against the Heat on March 28 might determine who takes the last playoff seed. If they lose that game, this will be a meaningless game for the Pistons.
2017 NBA Draft Lottery:
4. Sixers: Predicted Win/Loss: 28-54
5. Knicks: Predicted Win/Loss: 29-53
6. Magic: Predicted Win/Loss: 30-52