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Looking Ahead to the Raptors Upcoming Race For Draft Seeding

The Toronto Raptors continue to fight the Memphis Grizzlies for the sixth worst record in the NBA and better odds on NBA Draft Lottery night
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The race to the bottom continues to heat up.

It’s almost comical how bad the NBA’s worst teams have been lately. Washington, Detroit, Portland, and Memphis haven’t won in a week and somehow the Toronto Raptors are on their way to three weeks since their last victory.

All that tanking is why Toronto hasn’t made up much ground when it comes to the league’s reverse standings. The Raptors sit a half-game back of the Grizzlies for the sixth-worst record in the NBA and what would be a nearly 46% chance for Toronto to keep its first-round pick.

Looking ahead, it’s going to be tight.

Toronto plays four games against non-playoff teams. That’s two games against the Washington Wizards and two games against the Brooklyn Nets. While Washington has been the league’s worst team this season, there’s a reasonable chance the Raptors are considered underdogs in their road game against the Wizards, especially if Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett remain sidelined on Saturday.

Other than that, though, everyone Toronto plays is in the playoff picture and it’s unlikely the Raptors will be considered anything close to favorites in any of those games.

As for the Grizzlies, Memphis plays four total games against the Pistons and San Antonio Spurs. Other than that, all their games are against playoff picture teams as well.

Considering Demond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. are back healthy, it’s reasonable to think the Grizzlies should at least contend against some tough teams. They did, for example, go to overtime against the Sacramento Kings on Monday and lost by just four to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday.

Portland sits ahead of Memphis with a four-game lead on Toronto for the fifth-worst record in the NBA, but they have just two games remaining against the league’s bottom dwellers and it’s unlikely Toronto can close the gap without the Trail Blazers pulling off some shocking upsets.

The most likely situation is Toronto ends up in the sixth or seventh spot come draft night needing the ping pong balls to bounce right to keep its pick away from the Spurs. If things go according to plan, the Raptors will have a 46% chance to keep its pick, otherwise Toronto will be banking on a 32% chance to move up from No. 7.