The Oklahoma City Thunder are on a brutal 5-game losing streak.
According to ESPN, they’ve been outscored by 29.4 points per game over this stretch: the worst points per game differential in a 5-game span by any team since the 1993-94 season.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that Oklahoma City has struggled of late. Of their opening day starting five, zero are currently available to play due to a variety of reasons.
One of the most injured teams in the NBA, the Thunder are simply at a disadvantage with the players they have available.
Not projected to be a playoff team, Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault is more focused on the process and development than he is the outcome of games. With long-term success on mind, it’s about building towards contention over the next few years.
Outside of making trades, Thunder general manager Sam Presti has made plenty of noise recently.
The seventh worst record in the league gives Oklahoma City the seventh best lottery odds when it comes to draft positioning. Additionally, although it’s top-four protected, the Thunder also own the rights to the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick in the upcoming draft which is projected to be one of the higher picks.
Here are the current lottery odds:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-39)
2. Houston Rockets (14-37)
3. Detroit Pistons (16-36)
4. Orlando Magic (17-34)
5. Washington Wizards (18-32)
6. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-32)
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-32)
8. Toronto Raptors (20-32)
9. Sacramento Kings (22-30)
10. New Orleans Pelicans (22-29)
Unlike other sports, where draft positing is based solely on final season standings, the NBA has a lottery system. This means that just because a team finishes with the worst record in the league doesn’t mean they first dibs.
While the worst team does have the best odds for the top pick, this allows other team around the league that miss the playoffs to have a shot as well.
To further understand how this works, Tankathon can be used to simulate the lottery system in the NBA.
Oklahoma City has a tough schedule upcoming, with the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors on the slate over the next week.