Is it time for the Wolves tank for a better pick in a loaded draft?

Is it time for the Wolves to tank and improve their chances in the lottery?

Five games out of the final playoff spot with four teams ahead of them, the Wolves' playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.

Yes, the Wolves still play Portland three times and Denver has the most difficult remaining schedule of any team in the West, but the Wolves pretty much need every bounce to go their way to get in.

Playoffs are within reach with help, but reality says it's time to start thinking about draft positions in what's expected to be a loaded draft.

According to Sporting News draft expert Sam Vecenie, the 2017 draft could be as loaded as the 2008 draft, which yielded the likes of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Brook Lopez, Nicolas Batum, DeAndre Jordan and Goran Dragic.

The Nets, Lakers and Suns are pretty much locked in as the three worst records, but two games or less separate the Wolves from the Magic, 76ers, Knicks and Kings. It's still very possible Minnesota finishes with a bottom five record.

Finishing eighth would give the Wolves a less than 4% chance at a top three pick and a 72.5% shot at picking eighth. But as you can see in the table below, their lottery odds improve dramatically the worse they finish – and there's a decent chance that happens.

The Knicks have the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA, according to advanced stats writer, John Schuhmann, so they're probably going to finish with a worse record than Minnesota. The Magic and 76ers have easier schedules, so maybe they win a couple more games than the Wolves down the stretch. The Kings are kind of in the same boat.

The 2017 draft is loaded to the point where it might not mean as much as it does most years to pick fourth or eighth, but it certainly doesn't hurt to pick higher and have more options on the table.

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