NBA strength of schedule standings: Spurs primed for run at top pick

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs are at the bottom of several statistical categories on both ends of the court, and it is no surprise they are competing in the race for last place in the league standings. Despite their struggles during a full-blown rebuilding season, they have achieved their goal of fostering player development while increasing their lottery odds.

Although the Silver and Black are virtually neck and neck with the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets, they maintain one massive advantage over their fellow cellar-dwellers in the Wembanyama sweepstakes. What could push San Antonio to the back of the pack? The answer is none other than the toughest remaining strength of schedule in the NBA.

With that in mind, here is a glance at the Eastern and Western Conference standings based on how Tankathon calculates that metric.

Western Conference

  1. San Antonio Spurs (.541)
  2. Phoenix Suns (.528)
  3. Utah Jazz (.528)
  4. Sacramento Kings (.523)
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves (.521)
  6. Golden State Warriors (.518)
  7. Portland Trail Blazers (.516)
  8. Houston Rockets (.515)
  9. Los Angeles Clippers (.503)
  10. Denver Nuggets (.493)
  11. New Orleans Pelicans (.474)
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder (.473)
  13. Los Angeles Lakers (.471)
  14. Dallas Mavericks (.470)
  15. Memphis Grizzlies (.463)

Eastern Conference

  1. Toronto Raptors (.536)
  2. Philadelphia 76ers (.522)
  3. Orlando Magic (.514)
  4. Atlanta Hawks (.509)
  5. Chicago Bulls (.509)
  6. Brooklyn Nets (.506)
  7. Milwaukee Bucks (.502)
  8. Indiana Pacers (.496)
  9. Miami Heat (.495)
  10. Washington Wizards (.491)
  11. Charlotte Hornets (.491)
  12. Boston Celtics (.491)
  13. New York Knicks (.482)
  14. Detroit Pistons (.479)
  15. Cleveland Cavaliers (.468)

Gregg Popovich rolled out a shorthanded rotation in back-to-back losses against the last-place Rockets this weekend. San Antonio will presumably continue exercising that level of caution and patience with any player who feels less than 100%, which makes sense for a team in their situation.

The Spurs are on the verge of securing an oh-so-valuable golden ticket to the top of the draft lottery, and any win from here on out will only function as a morale booster. With the Bucks, Celtics, Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Suns on their upcoming slate, San Antonio has no shot at eluding mathematical elimination from the play-in tournament.

Even the Thunder, Warriors, Hawks, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, and Magic have something worth fighting for when they face San Antonio during the homestretch of the regular season. The lottery system may not guarantee anything, but PATFO should still stack the odds in their favor as much as possible between now and the end of April.

Next. Spurs sign Sandro Mamukelashvili off waivers to fill their roster. dark