If the season were to end today, Portland would have the 6th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Will they stay there? Move up? Move down? Realistically, the top three are set ... nobody between the "big three" losers of New Orleans, Atlanta, and Charlotte is going to get hot enough to get out of the top three. Meaning that #4 is probably the highest that Blazer fans could expect to get come draft time. The two teams sitting at #4 and #5 respectively are Golden State and Utah. What would need to happen for the Blazers to move into that #4 slot? A number of things, although it's certainly feasible.
Does Portland have a legitimate shot at getting the fourth pick? Let's take a look at the numbers.
The Blazers have 22 wins, and have 8 winnable games left on their schedule:
Let's say that between those eight games, they win half. Might be a little generous consideing the way they're currently playing, but they'll likely get an unexpected win somewhere in there as well. Fair assumption. That would leave them with 26 wins at the end of the year.
Utah has 20 wins, with 12 winnable games on their schedule.
Say they win half, including an undexpected win or two. That would leave them with 26 wins as well.
3. Golden State
The Warriors might just be the toughest team to expect to move up. They've only got 19 wins, with 9 winnable games on their schedule:
The Warriors have been hot lately, winning three of four prior to losing a tough one to Detroit last night. Given that they've played very well lately and just made a huge acquisition (Baron Davis), I think it's fair to say that they win 2/3 of their winnable games. That would be 25 wins.
What does this all mean for Blazer fans? It looks like Portland, Golden State, and Utah are all projected to end up with around 25-26 victories. Which means that clearly the four games that Potland has left vs Utah and Golden State will probably end up deciding the 4th pick. If they go something like 1-3, they've got a good chance to land the pick, and an 0-2 vs the Warriors sure would help.
So root for the Jazz and Warriors to win their other games, and mark the following dates on your calendar:
1. April 5th, Portland @ Utah
2. April 6th, Portland vs Golden State
3. April 15th, Portland @ Golden State
4. April 17th, Portland vs Utah
A lot could be deicided in those 12 days.