The Warriors got what they tanked for, though practically, they can't quite explain it that way.
It's OK, I will: They cannily ignored PR concerns and played by real-world rules, doing some less than glorious things.
They essentially played to lose for the last month of the season, and still needed about 10 different things to all break the right way.
Yes, they took -- and are still taking -- heavy criticism and violated the more genteel sporting codes.
And what does it matter now? The Warriors kept the seventh slot in the NBA draft lottery Wednesday night, which means they don't have to send it to Utah to satisfy a long-ago trade.
For once, what could go wrong for the Warriors did not. It was not pretty, it was not graceful, but it all went right.
Which means the franchise's offseason starts off with a giant exhale and the high value of a good draft spot.
"It's almost like you had to run a gantlet to end up where we are," general manager Bob Myers said on a call with local reporters after the lottery.
"But we can't rest -- it's what we do with it."
This is just how practical teams have to operate to accumulate the most value they can. You don't usually get from bad to good by adhering to Robert's Rules of Order.
You might not like it, but it didn't hurt San Antonio's karma when it lost a bazillion games just in time to get in position to draft Tim Duncan in 1997.
The Jazz absolutely
But the Warriors owed Utah nothing.
The Warriors' only responsibility: Do what's best for the franchise long term, and having this pick in this deep draft is clearly what's best.
"We kept our pick, I think we kept our integrity, and I think we have some good options going forward," Myers said.
"I think Mark (Jackson) had the players competing at a high level. I think we actually let the chips fall where they may ...
"I think it was a testament to our coach to have our players playing as hard as they did."
It ended up with the Warriors at 23-43, tied with Toronto for the seventh and eighth slots. So the Warriors needed every last one of those losses.
Then the Warriors needed to win the coin flip with the Raptors to stay in the seventh slot, pre-lottery. Then they needed to hold their position during the lottery.
All of that happened. The team with some of the worst lottery luck in NBA history ... finally didn't get burned.
That produced a franchise-wide sigh of relief, immediate excitement, and now comes the execution.
"I don't want to be in position and this organization to be in position where we're relying on chance and coin flips and lottery balls," Myers said.
"I want to be in position where we're in the playoffs."
What will they do? By most evaluations, there should be a number of interesting small forwards available around the No. 7 slot, and, coincidentally, small forward is a large team need this summer.
It's early, but I'd list Kentucky's Terrence Jones at the top of the Warriors' probable list.
Add Jones to the incumbent group of Andrew Bogut, David Lee, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson ... and that's something better than the Warriors have had in a long time.
Or the Warriors could bundle up two or three of their four draft choices this season -- maybe featuring the No. 7 pick -- for an even higher pick or make an offer for a young veteran such as Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala.
"Now we have the ability to put on the white board endless possibilities as to what we can do, and that's a good feeling," Myers said.
This is when it started: March 13, the day they traded Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh and acquired an injured Bogut.
The Warriors were 17-21 at the time, and not realistically in the playoff hunt, but close enough to pretend.
That's where so many other Warriors teams have lied to themselves about their short-term prospects and cost themselves long-term value.
They didn't lie to themselves this time. They did what they had to do to aim for true and lasting improvement.
That's not a loss of integrity, that's a gain of material purpose.