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2016 NBA Draft: Pelicans perilously close to dropping in the draft

Please no. Please no.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

May the odds be ever in your favor.

The odds were in Prim's favor that fateful day, but her name was still called. However, she and Katniss had done everything reasonably possible to decrease the probability of her selection.

For the New Orleans Pelicans, their goal is quite the opposite. To do everything reasonable to increase the probability of their selection in the NBA Draft Lottery is what they have control over. Right now, that probability stands at 21.5% as they sit in the sixth lottery spot with 29 victories. Two fewer wins than the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks.

Alas, the Kings have committed to the tank fully and sat both DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo last night at home. Here's an image of Boogie rolling through the Sleep Train Arena after Sacramento lost by 12 last night to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

As for the Knicks, they continue to employ Kurt Rambis as their head coach and rumors are flying that Phil Jackson would like Rambis to earn a permanent spot on the bench. Poor Knicks fans. They don't even own their first round pick; which will go to the Denver Nuggets (if it lands above Denver's pick) or the Toronto Raptors (if it is lower than Denver's selection).

Those two teams are making life perilous for the Pelicans #TankFlight initiative.

Pelicans Kings Knicks Nuggets Bucks
ESPN BPI 32 32 32 33 34
Basketball Reference 31.5 32.2 32.3 33 33.6
Five Thirty Eight 32 32 32 33 34
numberFire 31.4 32.3 32.3 33.1 33.8

If ESPN and Five Thirty Eight's predictions play out the Pelicans, Kings, and Knicks will split a pot of 134 lottery combinations. As you can see from last year's procedure, it is not a coin flip but a number of balls with team logos selected from a hopper. Six total ping pong balls, three with each team's logo, were put in to select the victor of the tie. There might be two of each in the way of the three way tie or nine total ping pong balls in the hopper. Also note that the tiebreaking procedure was conducted on Friday, April 17th. Two days after the conclusion of the season.

New Orleans could have 45 lottery combinations (and the 6th slot in the lottery) if they win such a tie or 44 lottery combinations (and the 7th or 8th slot in the lottery) if luck is unkind.

Of course, if the Pelicans win just one of their final four games they are assured of the sixth best lottery odds without any ties and 63 total combinations. Here's a look at each team's schedule in the final days of the season.

Pelicans Kings Knicks
Friday Lakers at 76ers
Saturday Suns Thunder
Sunday Raptors
Monday Bulls at Suns
Tuesday at Pacers
Wednesday at Timberwolves at Rockets

Looking at that schedule it is possible the Kings lose out and finish the year with 31 victories. The Bulls are probably going to be eliminated from the playoff picture by Monday and may not have much to play for when they come to the Smoothie King Center. A four game winning streak to end the season for New Orleans is not out of the question and could, at worst, put them into a tie with Milwaukee and the Orlando Magic with 33 wins.

11th in the draft isn't beyond probability, even if it is unlikely.

Anyone want to volunteer as tribute?