With the Heat now officially eliminated from playoff contention, Miami’s NBA draft lottery odds came slightly more into focus on Tuesday night.
The Heat’s win on Tuesday assures that it will have one of the three best records among non-playoff teams.
The Heat (39-42), Sacramento (39-42) and either Detroit (40-41) or Charlotte (39-42) – which ever of those two teams doesn’t make the playoffs – will have the three best records among lottery teams.
If any of those teams finish tied, a random drawing will determine their slots for the May 14 weighted lottery.
Under the new lottery system, the team with the best record of the non-playoff teams (or the loser of a drawing to break a tie) would have only a 0.5 chance of the No. 1 pick in the draft – who assuredly will be Duke’s Zion Williamson – or a 1.7 percent chance of a top three pick or a 2.4 percent chance of a top four pick.
The team with the second-best record of non-playoff teams would have a 1.0 percent chance of the top pick and a 3.3 percent chance of a top three pick and a 4.8 percent chance of a top four pick.
The team with the third-best record of non-playoff teams would have a 1.5 percent chance of the top pick and a 5.1 percent chance of a top three pick and a 7.1 percent chance of a top four pick.
The NBA now draws the top four picks through the lottery instead of the top three. All other picks are determined by inverse order of final record.
While the Heat closes at Brooklyn, Charlotte hosts Orlando; Detroit plays at the Knicks; and the Kings play at Portland.
One unique aspect of the Nets beating out the Heat for a playoff spot:
The Nets have tried to pattern some of what they do after the Heat, including their strength and conditioning program and some aspects of player development.
“They are a team that we imitate,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said last year. “That’s what we hold onto right now. From Erik [Spoelstra] to Pat Riley, they’ve been doing it for a long time.”
What specifically does he like to take from the Heat?
“I read all the conditioning articles [about the Heat’s players] and I send them to our strength guy [and say] we better [do this],” Atkinson said. “When you’re in great condition, you play well. That’s part of what we’re doing. The toughness, the style, the type of athlete that is produced here is amazing. Even guys that come from other programs turn into gritty, aggressive athletes.”
At NBA Summer League in Las Vegas last year, Nets general manager Sean Marks concurred with what Atkinson said and told me: “When I played there, I saw Pat’s approach to player care in general. It’s one thing to say you want to do this or you’re going to do this, but the Miami approach thing is they live up to their standards. Everybody there is competitive, certain amount of grit and toughness. I think it’s ingrained in that Miami program, so when people come there they know exactly what to expect. We’re a long way off from trying to be that.”
Dwyane Wade’s 30 points in his stirring, emotional home finale moved him to within nine points of Elgin Baylor for 29th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
He would need 37 points in his finale to catch Adrian Dantley for 28th.
Wade had one blocked shot Tuesday but is nine short of matching Michael Jordan’s regular season record for blocks by a guard (893). Wade owns that all-time record if playoffs are included.
He needs four assists against Brooklyn to tie Larry Bird for 41st on the NBA’s all-time assist list.
He needs two steals to tie Hersey Hawkins for 28th on the NBA’s all-time steal list.
▪ If Wade and Udonis Haslem both start Wednesday in Brooklyn, it would be the first time they start together since April 13, 2015.