The Lakers are now 37-44, a half-game better than the Wolves at 36-44 — meaning Minnesota moved ahead of Los Angeles into the No. 10 spot in the draft lottery drawing order.
Finishing 10th in the lottery drawing in years past would have meant very long odds for the Wolves. They would have had a 4 percent chance of moving into the top 3 and a 1.1 percent chance of getting the top pick. Their odds of remaining at No. 10? 87 percent.
But the NBA changed its format this year to discourage tanking — or at least the race to the very bottom. The odds for the worst teams have been flattened so that the three worst all have a 14 percent chance of the No. 1 pick, and the lottery drawing is now for the top four picks instead of three.
The Wolves as the No. 10 team in the May 14 drawing would now have a 3 percent chance of the No. 1 pick and a 13.9 percent chance of getting into the top four.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. email@example.com.