The NBA offseason unofficially starts tonight with the NBA Draft Lottery.
WHEN: Tonight, 8:30 ET
WHERE: The NY Hilton Midtown, in NYC (For viewers, catch it on ESPN or the WatchESPN App, and follow @realballinsiders on Twitter for all the latest, up to the minute info)
OVERVIEW: The NBA draft lottery is just that, a lottery system that determines who gets the top overall pick in this upcoming NBA draft, one which many experts are calling the deepest since 2003 (Remember LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, etc.) Offseason plans for many teams will be based off of what happens tonight, so many will be tuned in to what mostly amounts to the draw of a ping pong ball.
The lottery system consists of 14 numbered ping pong balls being used. Then a 4 number combination from the 14 balls are drawn to determine the lottery winner. Just before the draft, the NBA assigns 1,000 combinations to the non-playoff teams. The process is then repeated to determine the 2nd and 3rd pick, while the rest of the picks are determined in reverse order by the teams win loss record (whoever lost the most games by teams 4-14 will get that corresponding pick)
The team with the worst record usually has the best odds to get the top pick. This year that would have been the Brooklyn Nets. However because the Nets made a trade three years ago that included a pick swap, the Boston Celtics will get the chance to obtain the #1 pick while the Nets will get the Celtics #27th pick. This gives the Celtics a 25% chance to get the 1st overall pick in the 2017 draft.
There are some other notes to keep track of while watching the Lottery tonight though.
2) The Lakers (who finished the season 26-56) will send their first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if it falls outside of the top three. In addition to losing that pick, the Lakers would also lose their unprotected 2019 pick to the Orlando Magic as a result of the ill fated Dwight Howard trade of 2013. However if they keep their pick, that 2019 first rounder turns into two less devastating second rounders that will go to Orlando. To lose two first round picks without receiving anything in return would be brutal for L.A., so there are future implications looming tonight in the City of Angels.
3) The 76ers will also be quite busy tonight. In addition to holding the best chance at the #4 pick and the possibility of taking the Lakers #3 pick, the 76ers also owns the rights to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings if it falls inside of the top 10. If the pick falls outside of the top 10 though, it will leave the 76ers and the Kings and instead go to the Chicago Bulls.
4) If the New Orleans Pelicans pick lands outside of the top three (as it most likely will) it will go to the Kings because of the Demarcus Cousins/Buddy Hield trade that occurred just before the trade deadline.
5) The Knicks and the Timberwolves each finished the season at 31-51, so they will split the odds apportioned for 6th and 7th place in the lottery. However the Wolves won the tie breaker with the Knicks, so barring any sudden changes the Wolves will have the best chance at the 6th place, with the Knicks grabbing 7th.
And with that, here are the 2017 NBA Lottery Odds.
Prospects: RBI will have NBA draft coverage coming out soon, but among the top players in this draft there is the projected #1 pick Markelle Fultz, UCLA standout Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, Johnathan Issac, Dennis Smith, and many more. Stay tuned for more information on these players and more before the NBA Draft.
That’s it NBA fans, enjoy the proceedings, remember the notes, and to quote a fairly well known movie franchise: “may the odds be ever in your favor!”