The 2020-21 season is finally over for several teams who didn’t make the playoffs, but the NBA Draft Lottery looms as their saving grace. The 2021 NBA Draft will follow not long after as the league replenishes its talent pool with a deluge of young prospects.
Sunday marked the conclusion of the 2020-21 regular season, and with it, 10 of the 14 teams entering the draft lottery were determined. Once the play-in tournament ends and the last two playoff teams have qualified, the four losing squads are entered into the NBA Draft Lottery.
NBA Draft Lottery 2021 Order and Odds
According to Tankathon.com, here is the projected order and odds for each of the first 10 non-playoff teams to land the No. 1 pick during the NBA Draft Lottery:
1. Houston Rockets (17-55) - 14%
2. Detroit Pistons (20-52) - 14%
3. Orlando Magic (21-51) - 14%
4-tied. Cleveland Cavaliers (22-50) - 11.5%
4-tied. OKC Thunder (22-50) - 11.5%
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (23-49) - 9%
7. Toronto Raptors (29-45) - 7.5%
8-tied. New Orleans Pelicans (31-41) - 4.5%
8-tied. Sacramento Kings (31-41) - 4.5%
8-tied. Chicago Bulls (31-41) - 4.5%
Essentially, the NBA Draft Lottery doesn’t determine the order of the entire 14-team pool. It merely decides the order of the first four picks in the draft for that year. After the first four selections, the remaining teams will then take turns making their picks in reverse order of their records.
Tie-breakers for the NBA Draft Lottery
This season, the three worst teams in the NBA were the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic. Each of these teams has a 14 percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Next, with the Cleveland Cavaliers and OKC Thunder tied for the fourth-worst record, each has an 11.5 percent chance of acquiring the top pick in the 2021 draft. However, a coin flip will ensue should neither the Cavs nor the Thunder acquire a top four-selection. This will decide which of them will pick first.
In the case of the last three teams in the NBA Draft Lottery order, the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls will follow the same format to determine who gets to pick ahead of the others, but with a bit of a complication.
The Bulls will have to surrender their pick to the Orlando Magic if it doesn’t land in the top four. This was a condition made during the Nikola Vucevic trade deadline deal this year.
The Timberwolves are also in danger of losing their pick if they don’t end up with a top-three selection. This was a condition of the Andrew Wiggins-D'Angelo Russell trade with the Golden State Warriors.
Also, if the Houston Rockets fail to land a top-four selection, they are looking at the possibility of having to swap picks with the OKC Thunder, who will use one of the Miami Heat’s first-round picks.
As things currently stand, the NBA Draft Lottery’s last four slots will go to the Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies in that order, if all four fail to reach the playoffs after the play-in tournament. Suppose any of these teams advance to the playoffs, thereby bumping off either the LA Lakers, Golden State Warriors, or both. In that case, the other teams will be adjusted into the draft order according to their regular-season records.
The NBA Draft Lottery will be held on June 22 with the NBA Draft to commence on July 29.