Ping Pong Derby: Kings Pull Away
So there's still a real prize for the unfortunate of the NBA. His name is Blake Griffin, stud big man (and would-have-been 2007 lottery pick) of Oklahoma. Ricky Rubio, that mysterious Spaniard teenager, has also given fans of the bleak a reason to live. So where do we stand in terms of teams captured the lion's share of ping pong balls come the May draft lottery? Find out after the jump.
1. Sacramento (12-47)
Those Kings sit as your clubhouse leader on February 26. To date, the Kings have two wins in February with two chances left (including Friday's epic hosting of No. 4 on our list). You can bet (at least some sick, sad) fans in Sacramento hang on every Brendan Haywood/Gilbert Arenas report, hoping those bucks come back and perform well enough to take the Wizards out of sight. The Kings are a stunning 0-23 against the Eastern Conference. Seven chances (including a mid-March visit to D.C.) left.
2. TIE--Washington and Oklahoma City (13-44/2 Games Back)
The Thunder might have surprised itself with some rollicking performance through January and February, but that hasn't allowed OKC to climb out of the Dungeon of Suck. After back-to-back wins over the Kings and Blazers early this month, Oklahoma City has reeled off six straight losses against an admittedly tough schedule. It actually does get a bit easier soon.
The Wizards ... yeah. This team could either reel off six straight or lose every game remaining. Neither would surprise me. Neither, I dare say, would surprise them.
4. L.A. Clippers (15-43/3.5 Games Back)
Clippers fans are too experienced with the lottery to be actively hoping for ping pong balls. The talent base is finally mostly healthy, and the two-game winning streak is less fluke than you'd think. The win over Boston? Yes, that's a fluke. But Eric Gordon has been balling out of control, and Marcus Camby doesn't know how to play badly. Mix in some effective Zach Randolph, perhaps a small dose of efficient Baron Davis (ha) and this team can escape the conversation soon.
5. Memphis (15-42/4 Games Back)
Six straight losses for the Grizzlies. Let this be a lesson to all bottom dwellers: you think you have escaped the Ping Pong Derby? You can never escape the Ping Pong Derby. Never.