The NBA draft lottery is coming up quickly on Tuesday, May 17, and sports analysts have begun making their predictions. Who will be the winners of the NBA draft lottery this year? And who will get the unlucky picks?
Ever since the 1984-85 season, the NBA has instituted a fairer form of drafting in which the teams with the worst records in each conference get to flip a coin for the No. 1 pick of the year. The rest of the teams then choose according to the order chosen at random thereafter. This form of picking is meant to give the 14 teams who have performed poorly in the past season a chance to begin bettering their teams one player at a time.
Since our culture has such a strong disposition for gambling, this game of chance seemed only fair, and has been the institution for choosing draft order ever since. It’s proven effective in leveling the playing field for teams thus far.
This year’s lottery teams include:
- Philadelphia 76ers (10-72) 25 percent chance to win
- Los Angeles Lakers (17-65) 19.9 percent chance to win
- Boston Celtics (21-61) 15.6 percent chance to win
- Phoenix Suns (23-59) 11.9 percent chance to win
- Minnesota Timberwolves (29-53) 8.8 percent chance to win
- New Orleans Pelicans (30-52) 6.3 percent chance to win
- Toronto Raptors (32-50) 4.3 percent chance to win
- Sacramento Kings (33-49) 1.9 percent chance to win
- Denver Nuggets (33-49) 1.9 percent chance to win
- Milwaukee Bucks (33-49) 1.8 percent chance to win
- Orlando Magic (35-47) 0.8 percent chance to win
- Utah Jazz (40-42) 0.7 percent chance to win
- Washington Wizards (41-41) 0.6 percent chance to win
- Chicago Bulls (40-42) 0.5 percent chance to win
These are the 14 teams that will be considered in the Powerball-style lottery for a chance at getting the top pick of the college draft this year. So, the question is, who will get the first pick, and who will be unlucky?
Obviously, the Philadelphia 76ers have the best chance at winning this year with the possibility of walking away with two top-four picks. Not only does this team have the highest probability of having a ping pong ball drawn first, but they’ll also be able to swap picks with Sacramento, which gives them an even higher percentage.
“It’s a big day on Tuesday,” said 76ers manager and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo. “We’re going to know where we are and no matter how it comes out, we’re at least going to know where we stand and what we have to play with with respect to building this team.”
The 76ers once had a winning streak the Golden State Warriors would envy, but after a few transitions within the team, they’ve only been able to pull losses. It’s possible that the most recent of losses were planned to allow the team the best chances of winning the NBA draft lottery this year.
Following the 76ers, both the Lakers and the Celtics are sitting in a pretty sweet spot. Both of these teams, which were once at the top of the pack, desperately need a No. 1 pick to help them reach a loftier place in the NBA ranks.
If the Lakers manage to win the draft lottery this year, it may be the promise of a fantastic season. Their team is made up of primarily young players as of now, and adding another promising player may boost their rankings to where they were when Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were in their prime.
It’s not clear who will win the NBA draft lottery as of now, but it’s important to note that the person with the No. 1 pick doesn’t always get the best player. Sometimes fresh-faced players farther down the line manage to shine much brighter than the person with the best college history, so a No. 1 pick doesn’t always promise an excellent season.
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