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2021 NBA Draft Lottery: Predicting the 3 teams who will have a 14% chance of getting the No.1 pick

Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves, both teams aim for a top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft
Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves, both teams aim for a top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft
Kunal Sethi
ANALYST
Modified 06 May 2021
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The 2020-21 NBA season is about to conclude and the 2021 NBA Draft is right around the corner. The structure of the bottom-table seeds has started to take shape. These teams will look ahead to the 2021 NBA Draft and hope for a high-enough pick to bolster their squads.

The teams that are fully committed to rebuilding are the Houston Rockets, OKC Thunder, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Detroit Pistons.

The Magic and Timberwolves started this season with hopes of grabbing a postseason berth, but injuries derailed their mission and they now find themselves in the 2021 NBA Draft lottery.

The 2021 NBA Draft employs a modern lottery system where the bottom 3 teams all get a 14% chance of grabbing the coveted 1st overall pick.

The bottom 3 teams on the table each have a 14% chance of the 1st pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the team with the 4th-worst record gets a 12.5% chance, the 5th-worst team gets a 10.5% chance and the odds keeps going down as we climb up the ladder. Many teams tanked the season on purpose to get the maximum odds of grabbing the best prospects from the 2021 NBA Draft.

Cade Cunningham of the Oklahoma State Cowboys is projected to be the 1st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He is a 6-foot-8, 220-pound point guard with a 7-foot wingspan.

Cunningham is an elite playmaker who wowed everyone in collegiate hoops with his skills, with many scouts describing him as 'NBA ready'. He is capable of running an NBA offense and his height and build make him a force on the defensive side of the floor as well. He can bully smaller guards in the paint and his shot-making is incredible.

So let's take a look at the 3 teams who have the best chance of grabbing Cunningham in the 2021 NBA Draft.

#1 Houston Rockets

With their season a foregone conclusion, the Houston Rockets focus on the 2021 NBA Draft
With their season a foregone conclusion, the Houston Rockets focus on the 2021 NBA Draft

The Houston Rockets have consistently put up the worst performances in the NBA ever since James Harden left the organisation in mid-January. They attempted another run at the season with John Wall, Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo, and DeMarcus Cousins, but injuries plagued the team from early on and they could never recover. The team has used over 37 different starting lineups this year and currently have around 9 players either injured or ruled out for the season.

The Houston Rockets currently have the worst record in the league at 16-49 and hold the 9th-longest losing streak in NBA history with 20 straight defeats. They are almost certain to end up at the bottom of the table because they also face the 2nd-toughest schedule in the league. The Rockets are one of the 3 teams with a52.1% chance to grab a top-4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

#2 Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons have aimed for a top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft all season
Detroit Pistons have aimed for a top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft all season

The Detroit Pistons didn't enter this season with any hopes of making the playoffs anyway. They were certain of a rebuild and worked their way towards that mission from the get-go. The coach's strategy has been to work on player development and they have given young players more playing time.

The Pistons parted ways with their veterans this season as well. They traded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in exchange for the 23-year-old guard Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick. The Pistons then waived Blake Griffin, who subsequently signed with the Brooklyn Nets.

They hold the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 19-45 and have been the punching bag for the rest of the league all season long. Their rookie Killian Hayes has shown promise and their forward Jerami Grant is a 'Most Improved Player' candidate.

The Pistons face the 19th-toughest schedule in the league but the remaining 8 games don't matter much as they are tanking on purpose. They also hold a 52.1% chance at a top 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a 14% chance of the 1st overall pick.

#3 Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic decided mid-season that focusing on the 2021 NBA Draft is the best idea
The Orlando Magic decided mid-season that focusing on the 2021 NBA Draft is the best idea

Although the Minnesota Timberwolves hold a worse record than the Orlando Magic, the latter has a better chance of ending up in the bottom three spots. The Timberwolves hired a new coach this season and have now won 6 of their last 10 games.

They are building momentum for next season and beginning to recognize the talent in their team. However, the Orlando Magic are committed to a rebuild and have lost 13 of their last 17 games. The Magic also face a tougher schedule compared to the Timberwolves and have little to no chance of grabbing wins.

The Orlando Magic traded their main players - Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier - during the NBA trade deadline and gave up on their mission of grabbing a postseason berth. The coach is developing the young talents in the team and they are now aiming for a high pick in the 2021 NBA Draft just like the rest of the bottom teams.

Also Read: NBA Draft 2021: Top 5 prospects to watch out for

Published 04 May 2021
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