Where is the NBA's race for last place headed?
In October, after presumptive 2023 No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama dazzled in a pair of matchups in the Las Vegas area against G League Ignite and fellow top prospect Scoot Henderson, one GM told ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Adrian Wojnarowski that Wembanyama's play would "start a race to the bottom like we've never seen."
Instead, many of this year's worst teams are playing their best basketball down the stretch. The Houston Rockets put together a three-game winning streak last week, highlighted by beating the Boston Celtics at home, while the San Antonio Spurs knocked off the top-seeded Denver Nuggets earlier this month.
Those results seem to indicate the NBA's 2019 lottery reform, which has given the bottom three teams in the standings equal odds at the top pick, is working as intended. However, shifting the chances for teams in the middle of the lottery has created more incentive for teams just outside the play-in race to pivot toward the future.
Let's look at how those changes are playing out as we reset the battle for NBA draft lottery positioning.