The Timberwolves and the Pistons squared off in one of the NBA's most impactful

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The Timberwolves and the Pistons squared off in one of the NBA's most impactful games on Tuesday. That may seem strange <a href="">Gregory Polanco Jersey</a> to say about a game that had no implications on the playoff race, but it did have a big impact on the 2021 NBA Draft.Entering play on Tuesday, the Pistons and the Timberwolves were bunched among five teams with chances at earning the second-best odds in the 2021 NBA Draft lottery. After the Wolves handily beat the Pistons 119-100, Detroit moved into the driver's seat for that distinction, while Minnesota is closer to the sixth-best odds at a top-three pick.This highlights a trend for the Timberwolves that is both encouraging <a href="">Jordy Mercer Jersey</a> and worrying. On one hand, they're winning games, and that will certainly help their young core as they look to become a playoff team next season.On the other hand, they may cost themselves a shot at having a first-round draft pick this year.MORE: If the Timberwolves can't secure a top-three pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, their pick will head to the Warriors as a part of the D'Angelo Ru sell-Andrew Wiggins trade the two sides agreed to ahead of the 2020 trade deadline. Not having that a set could impede their potential rebuild.Once, it seemed a foregone conclusion the Wolves would be among the NBA's worst teams and finish with a great chance at a top-three pick. But in recent weeks, they completely turned their play <a href="">Jung-ho Kang Jersey</a> around while other teams in the NBA lottery hunt increased their efforts to tank.In fact, reports the Timberwolve have had the second-highest increase in net rating since the NBA All-Star <a href="">Kevin Newman Jersey</a> Break. Only the Mavericks are ahead of them. Meanwhile, some of the tankers most notably, the Thunder, Rockets and Magic have all bottomed out.Who Got Better Since The All-Star Break? Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) In particular, the Timberwolves fared well in their last 10 games, posting a 6-4 record. Meanwhile, no other team with a bottom-six record in the NBA posted a mark better than 3-7 in that span. And some have been marred in long losing streaks such as the 11-game skid the Cavaliers are on now with no signs of any upward trend.As such, it seems the Wolves may be en route to playing themselves out of a first-round draft pick. If they finish with the sixth-best lottery odds, they'll have a 27.6 percent chance of keeping their selection. Had they kept losing and finished with the second-best lottery odds, their chances would have improved to 40.1 percent.A top-three pick wouldn't be <a href="">Steven Brault Jersey</a> guaranteed under any scenario, but one could certainly argue that losing late in the year may have done more to help Minnesota's rebuild. But in the eyes of Wolves coach Chris Finch, earning victories will all be worth it as he looks to establish a winning culture with the team's talented, young core."Winning is a lot more <a href="">Corey Dickerson Jersey</a> fun," Finch said before the Timberwolves-Pistons game, per . "So when winning is fun everything is a lot easier to reinforce what you've been trying to sell because the guys can see it working a little bit."

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