Most NBA fans probably know this, but it seems to me that there are a couple of misconceptions by a number of people about the NBA Draft Lottery – which takes place next Tuesday, May 21 – and how it relates to the Wizards’ chances.
The “lottery” really only pertains to the first three picks. As explained in this Inside Hoops post,
…the first three picks in the Draft will be determined by the lottery and the remainder of the “lottery teams” will select in positions 4 through 14 in inverse order of their consolidated standings at the end of the regular season.
What does this mean for the Wizards? Well, currently they sit in the eighth spot in the lottery. The team has a 2.5 percent chance at the number one pick, but could still end up in the top three. If they do not end up in the top 3, the best they can do is pick eighth, because the order is basically reset after the top 3 picks are in place.
The Wizards, however, can end up picking lower if one or more of the six teams under them (slots 9 – 14) end up in the top 3 and they don’t. As a quick example, the Portland Trail Blazers currently sit in the number 10 slot. If they move into the top 3 (and the Wizards or no other team below them end up in the top 3), the Wizards would end up picking ninth. If the Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors (12 slot) both end up in the top 3, the Wizards would end up picking tenth.
Clear as mud, right? It’s somewhat tricky, but not really. It was made public earlier this week that Bradley Beal will represent the team at the lottery. Maybe he’ll end up making the Irene Pollin face. So Wizards fans, on Tuesday, the rooting objectives are, in order:
- Win the lottery, get the top pick;
- If they don’t win the lottery, win a top 3 pick;
- If no top 3 pick, hope that none of the 9-14 teams win top 3 picks.