The 2018 NBA Draft Lottery won’t take place until mid-May and, as such, there is a long evaluation period for the worst teams in the league. With that said, the NBA released its complete 2017-2018 schedule on Monday and, while the top teams were charting a course with an eye on playoff positioning, the dregs of the league should have been laying out the best path to the top of the lottery odds.
Most teams won’t outwardly admit to tracking ping-pong balls, especially in August. However, there are a few teams that clearly project to occupy the territory near the league’s basement and they will match up over the course of an 82-game run to the finish. In this space, we will break down ten games that could decide the odds for grabbing the top spots in the draft lottery and, even if they don’t make or break teams on their own, these games matter for the future of the league.