Tuesday is NBA Draft Lottery night. It’s a night where the league takes center stage as the draft order is cemented into place in a way that differs from the other three major sports.
For teams that missed the postseason, this is the first day on the schedule during the offseason to circle. The NBA Draft Lottery offers a fresh start for fans of those teams by officially turning the page into the next season, despite the current postseason still going on.
Here are the NBA Draft Lottery odds and everything else to know for Tuesday evening.
The Houston Rockets finished with the worst record in the NBA (17-55). Right behind them were the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic. All three of those teams have a 14% chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick at the NBA Draft Lottery. Right behind those three are the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers, who both have an 11.5% chance at the No. 1 pick.
Where things get really interesting is right after those top five teams.
The Minnesota Timberwolves traded for D’Angelo Russell back in February of 2020. They sent Andrew Wiggins back to the Golden State Warriors and a protected first-round pick. That pick is for the draft this year.
If the Timberwolves can get the ping pong balls to bounce their way and land in the top three of the draft, the pick remains with Minnesota. If it lands anywhere outside of the top three, it goes to the Warriors. Imagine a scenario where the Warriors going into next year have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, James Wiseman all on the books and then add the No. 4 or No. 5 overall pick to the resume as well. The Warriors also have their own pick in the mix but have the worst odds of landing the No. 1 selection (0.5%), while they have a 97.6% chance of staying at No. 14.
Chicago chose to buy at the NBA Trade Deadline, acquiring Nikola Vucevic from the Magic to pair him with Zach LaVine on the Bulls. As part of the deal going back to Orlando, Chicago sent a semi-protected first-round pick for this year. This one is quite simple as well for both sides. If the Bulls selection lands inside the top four, it stays with Chicago. Anything outside of those selections, and the Magic scoop up a second lottery pick. The Bulls have a 20.2% chance of landing inside the top four, while they have 34.5% chance of landing with the No. 6 pick and, a 36.2% chance of bringing in the No. 7 pick. In either of the latter two scenarios, the pick goes to the Magic.
One of the more intriguing angles with the NBA Draft Lottery is the representation for each franchise at the event. Each team with some of the ping pong balls will be represented by a player, member of the front office, coach or former player.
The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery, broadcast live tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft.
Below are the individuals who will represent their respective teams. pic.twitter.com/vXxYmdJxo7
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) June 21, 2021
The two that stick out right away are Ben Wallace and Hakeem Olajuwon. The Rockets and Pistons were both awful this year, thus landing them with the best odds (along with the Magic) to land the first overall pick. Bringing in Wallace and Olajuwon for the NBA Draft Lottery is the big boy move that both franchises needed to make. A little good juju doesn’t hurt and having Ben Wallace and Hakeem Olajuwon in the building sure adds some zest.
So who are teams salivating over while hoping to land one of the top picks?
The top four prospects for most are: Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State, Evan Mobley of USC, Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga and Jalen Green of the G-League. Like most years, the draft takes form with tiers of prospects and this year is no different. These four appear to be in a class that differs from the rest, separating them from the rest of the group. Cunningham is the likely No. 1 overall pick, but the other three aren’t too far behind.
Cunningham has had the label “generational player” thrown about while others believe Evan Mobley could develop into one of the best rim protectors in the entire league while continuing to evolve on the offensive end. Jalen Suggs is the most “sure bet” for a lot of scouts, as they deem him the prospect that may have the highest floor of the bunch.
While the NFL and MLB just go by records from the previous year to determine their draft order, the NBA goes outside the box, making a night of pure chaos as each team in the NBA Draft Lottery relies on ping pong balls to determine their fate. Tuesday night, it’s back.