The NBA Draft is right around the corner (June 20th) and the lottery is only ten days away (May 14). Don’t miss our full 2019 NBA Draft Guide with full coverage on all the 1st round picks. This is the first year that the “new” lottery system will be used, where the draft lottery is expanded to the top four picks (rather than the top three); and where the three teams with the worst records (New York, Cleveland, and Phoenix) all have equal odds.
How The Draft Order Is Determined
- All teams that miss the playoffs are in the Lottery.
- The teams with the worse records get more chances at getting a top-four pick (more ping pong balls)
- The first four picks are awarded by a drawing of ping pong balls.
- The remaining lottery teams will be sorted by their record and will fill out picks 5-14
- Playoff teams are sorted by their record and assigned picks 15-30. Playoff outcomes have no impact on the draft order.
- Random drawing decides who picks first between teams with the same record.
- Tied lottery teams split their ping pong balls evenly. Any odd remainder and the better draft order position are given to the random drawing winner.
- The second round is ordered by record without playoff consideration and second round ties are in reverse order of the teams’ first-round picks.
Chances To Land The #1 Pick
The Knicks, Cavaliers, and Suns each have a 14% chance of landing the number one overall pick, which will most likely be the landing spot of Duke phenom Zion Williamson. However, that still leaves a 58% chance that one of the remaining 13 lottery teams will end up stealing the top overall pick.
Here are each Lottery team’s chance of getting the number one overall pick:
- New York Knicks: 14%
- Cleveland Cavaliers: 14%
- Phoenix Suns: 14%
- Chicago Bulls: 12.5%
- Atlanta Hawks: 10.5%
- Washington Wizards: 9%
- New Orleans Pelicans: 6%
- Memphis Grizzlies: 6%
- Dallas Mavericks: 6%
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 3%
- Los Angeles Lakers: 2%
- Charlotte Hornets: 1%
- Miami Heat: 1%
- Sacramento Kings: 1%
- The Memphis Grizzlies’ pick becomes the Boston Celtics this year if it falls out of the top 8.
- The Dallas Mavericks’ pick becomes the Atlanta Hawks this year if it falls out of the top 5.
- The Sacramento Kings’ pick becomes the Boston Celtics this year if it is not number one, otherwise, it will belong to the Philadelphia 76ers, who would then convey their 24th overall pick to the Celtics.
Betting Odds For #1 Overall Pick
Here are the betting odds (FanDuel Sportsbook) for each Lottery team to land the number one overall pick:
New York Knicks: +450
Cleveland Cavaliers: +550
Phoenix Suns: +550
Chicago Bulls: +650
Atlanta Hawks: +750
Washington Wizards: +850
Dallas Mavericks: +1300
Memphis Grizzlies: +1300
New Orleans Pelicans: +1300
Minnesota Timberwolves: +2400
Los Angeles Lakers: +3600
Charlotte Hornets: +7000
Miami Heat: +7000
Sacramento Kings: +7000
Who Should You Bet On To Get The Number One Pick?
The smart bet, of course, would be on one of the three teams with a 14% chance of landing the top pick. However, two of those three teams provide better value. The Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers each have a +100 value on them compared to the +450 of the New York Knicks. With the same chance of landing the top pick, the Suns and Cavaliers provide more value than the Knicks and make for the two best betting options.
The favorites are always an obvious bet, but what if you were looking for a longshot to make the most of your money? What team provides the best value compared to their odds of getting the number one pick?
The +7000 teams (Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, and Sacramento Kings) provide the best potential R.O.I., but at 1%, they aren’t the smartest choices. At 2% and 3% respectively, the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves are also choices that just don’t make sense to bet with their low percent chances of getting the top pick.
The best value pick with a realistic opportunity of getting the number one overall pick is actually a choice of three teams. The Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and New Orleans Pelicans all hold a 6% chance of getting the top pick with odds at +1300. A bet at this value can provide a great R.O.I. and the probability of one of those teams getting the top pick is certainly in the realm of possibility.
Who Will Be The Top 4 Lottery Players Drafted?
#1 Duke freshman Zion Williamson is the clear favorite to be the number one overall pick. You can see our full Zion Williamson Scouting Report for full details on this immense talent. Who else will be one of the Lottery picks?
#2 Sophomore guard Ja Morant out of Murray State has been said to be one of the top players in this year’s draft, and possibly the best outside of Duke University. Morant averaged a double-double this past season (24.5 PPG and 10 APG) and would be a great addition to any team that misses out on the number one overall pick. You can see our complete Ja Morant Scouting Report that covers everything youneed to know.
#3 Another Duke Freshman, R.J. Barrett, is also expected to be a lottery pick in this year’s draft. Shadowed by the success of his teammate Williamson, Barrett “quietly” averaged a team-leading 22.8 points per game. Any other year there would be a possibility of Barrett being the number one overall pick.<
#4 After the top three, the possibilities start to open up a bit. Players like Cam Reddish (Duke freshman), Bol Bol (Oregon freshman) and De’Andre Hunter (Virginia sophomore) could all be picked in the fourth spot. Each player provides a different type of game, so it may depend upon who ends up with the fourth overall pick before it can be determined which player ends up being taken here.