NBA Draft Lottery: Explaining Each Teams Odds

NBA Draft Lottery: Explaining Each Teams Odds

Cole Paganelli
3 years ago
2 min read
NBA Draft Lottery: Explaining Each Teams Odds

To all the fans of teams who did not make the playoffs, perk up! Your time is coming again. The NBA Draft Lottery is set to take place later this month, and so you’ll find out where that favorite team is going to be selecting in the 2021 Draft itself.

There are going to be ping pong balls galore for the biggest losers and fewer balls for the winners. The only sport with a random system, the NBA faces backlash as much as it is praised.

Let’s examine the odds of the best, AKA worst teams out there.

The Three Worst Teams

When the lottery system was shuffled around a bit a few years ago, it was done to try and curb tanking. Given the fact that the Pelicans won the No. 1 pick, AKA the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, it proved to be an instant success. The point is to have teams try and win and only end up with a high pick if they incidentally bust.

The three teams with the worst record all slot in with a league-high 14 percent chance at the top pick. The worst team ends up with a 12-14 percent shot at picks 2-4 and a 48 percent chance at pick 5. The second-worst record can go no lower than six, while the third-worst can slot no lower than seven.

The Rockets, Pistons and Magic all have equal chances in the 1-3 spots, though there is always the off-chance that the teams with better records still get a higher pick.

The Next Tier

And so, after the third-worst records, 4-7 is the creation of the next column. The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers are tied at 4-5 with the same odds for picks 1-4. If either of them falls beyond that, then the pick will vaunt itself into the lottery.

Minnesota and Toronto compromise the next two, with opportunities to do something big. All of the winning done by the Wolves in the late months put themselves behind the 8-ball a bit but might entice free agents to join the club.

There is a high chance the Raptors end up with the No. 8 pick, which would not be bad for them given the type of season they just had, going in and out of contention throughout.

Rounding It Out

The teams that qualified for the play-in tournament and lost are actually in a solid position pick-wise. Sure, they did not get it done as they wanted to. But both Indiana and Golden State are now the owners of lottery picks. The same is true of the Spurs and Hornets.

None of them have better than a 1.8 percent shot at the top pick, but should they land it, the fact that they lost a little early will turn into a blessing. The Dubs have a 98 percent shot at the 14th pick, Indiana a 93 percent shot at the 13th pick.

There is an 85 percent chance that the Spurs land the 12th pick, with the Hornets being 77.6 percent in the #11 slot. For Charlotte and San Antonio, it’s a nice reward after coming off an impressive campaign.

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