Charles Jenkins played 48 minutes, totaling 24 points, 9 assists and six rebounds. Brandon Rush had 19 points and 9 rebounds off the bench. Dominic McGuire had 12 points, 7 rebounds and four assists.
Together, they helped the Warriors come from 21 points down to steal a 93-88 win at Minnesota, snapping an eight-game losing streak. They also landed a body blow to the Warriors’ chances at keeping their draft pick.
It is their fault Golden State fans are left in a quandry. Should they be happy their young players showed some moxie, made some key plays and got some valuable experience? Or should they be frustrated the Warriors perhaps just gave up a lottery pick in exchange for a meaningless win in a lost season?
Here are some specifics and scenarios we need to set up first:
*If the Warriors land a top 7 pick, they keep it. If it’s 8th or lower, they lose it
*Draft order is determined at the draft lottery on May 30. But percentages of winning the lottery are based on regular season finish. Worst record has the best chance, and so on.
*If the Warriors had lost, and went on to lose their remaining two games, the worst they could have finished was tied for No. 6, which could have given them either a 95.9 percent chance (if they win the coin toss) or a 75 percent chance (if they lose the coin toss).
* The win left the Warriors with the eighth-worst record. If the Warriors finish with the eighth worst record, they’d have a 10 percent chance of moving up into the top 3 – which they would have to do to keep their pick.
*If the Warriors lose their final two games, they’d total 23 wins and the worst they can do is finish tied for seventh-worst. New Jersey and Toronto face each other in the finale. Meaning one of those two will finish with at least 23 wins. In the event of a tie, who goes No. 7 or No. 8 will be determined by a coin flip (provided neither team moves up).
*Despite the coin flip, both teams tied for No. 7 will split the total combinations between No. 7 and No. 8. The two spots combined get 71 combinations. So they’ll each get 35 combinations (the coin flip determines who gets that extra combination). That gives the Warriors at least a 3.5 percent chance of moving up.
*If either Toronto or New Jersey win their final two games, and Golden State loses out, the Warriors could get No. 7 alone, giving them a 75 percent chance of keeping their pick. New Jersey closes the season by hosting Philadelphia and visiting Toronto. The Raptors close the season by visiting Milwaukee and hosting New Jersey.
*If Cleveland wins two of its final 3 games – at Memphis, vs. Washington, at Chicago – and the Warriors lose out, Golden State would then be in a tie for sixth-worst record.
So, in essence, the Warriors performance took the chances of keeping their pick from a near certainty to a proverbial coin flip. Thanks to Klay Thompson’s timely late drive-and-dish to Brandon Rush, who nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer, Golden State now needs other teams to win AND the coin flip(s) to work out in their favor.
Some call hoping the Warriors lose and other teams win an unseemly way to support the team. Some view tanking as sacrilegious per the articles of fanhood. Some consider it disrespectful to the effort and resolve of the Warriors out there fighting hard.
Most, however, are not happy – for the reasons above – that the Warriors stole that win in Minnesota. Golden State could still keep its pick. But it’s going to require they do something they refused to do Sunday night: lose.