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Pelicans playoff odds continue to decrease while meaningless wins hurt NBA Lottery chances

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Will the Pelicans regret these wins in May?

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Roughly two weeks ago the New Orleans Pelicans were on their way to the All-Star Break with microscopic playoff hopes and plenty of motivation to sell at the trade deadline. In three games since Anthony Davis has set a new franchise record in points, sat down with our own Oleh Kosel for an interview, and despite winning two of three games the Pelicans playoff chances have decreased.

The deficit between New Orleans and the 8th seed has actually decreased from 6.5 to six games while the Pelicans have passed the Denver Nuggets in the standings. If you're a fan still rooting for a miracle appearance in the playoffs this is good news. If you're hoping for some help in the draft the news is not so positive.

Standings - 2/24/16

Standings from ESPN

Passing Denver sounds like a good thing, but is it really?

Proj W Proj L Playoff % Draft Position
ESPN BPI 34 48 2.1% T-7th
Basketball Reference 33.4 48.6 0.7% T-6th
Five Thirty Eight 35 47 3% 8th
numberFire 34.0 48.1 1.1% 7th

Lottery odds diminish significantly if the Pelicans are in the 8th spot compared to the 6th spot at the end of the season. Tankathon provides an easily read table; finishing with the sixth worst record provides a 21.5% chance of jumping into the top three while eighth is 9.9%. All four projections predict a logjam between 33 and 36 wins with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Sacramento Kings joining the Pelicans in a similar win range. An extra win (or loss) here and there could mean the difference between a 21.5% chance of moving up in the sixth spot and a 4.0% chance in the tenth spot.

New Orleans has a history of meaningless wins. In 2014 the Pelicans, led by Tyreke Evans, won their last two games over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets. Those two wins pushed the Pelicans to 10th in the lottery with 34 total victories while the Cleveland Cavaliers had 33. Just one month later it was the Cavs who won the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes. Dell Demps is still looking for a competent small foward.

I don't need anymore convincing. All aboard the Pelican tank. Who's with me?

Tank Fury

Image thanks to the amazing @jdbillio who you should follow on Twitter already.