Minutes before the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors play to determine the best in the West, back East the NBA Lottery takes place tonight in New York to reward one of the worst with the draft’s first.
The Minnesota Timberwolves own a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick. The New York Knicks follow with about a one in five chance of seeing their card placed in the best real estate. At about 15 percent, the odds of the Philadelphia 76ers stand behind Minnesota and New York but ahead of ten other teams in the pecking order.
But the rest of the field enjoys odds nearly as good as the three teams at the bottom of the standings.
Just as the team picking first remains uncertain, the player selected in the top spot appears as a coin flip. Kentucky big Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke center Jahlil Okafor figure to go one-two, but in what order remains for the June 25 NBA Draft to reveal.
Here, via USA Today, are the odds for each lottery team:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-66): 25%
2. New York Knicks (17-65): 19.9%
3. Philadelphia 76ers (18-64): 15.6%
4. Los Angeles Lakers* (21-61): 11.9%
5. Orlando Magic (25-57): 8.8%
6. Sacramento Kings (29-53): 6.3%
7. Denver Nuggets (30-52): 4.3%
8. Detroit Pistons (32-50): 2.8%
9. Charlotte Hornets (33-49): 1.7%
10. Miami Heat** (37-45): 1.1%
11. Indiana Pacers (38-44): .8%
12. Utah Jazz (38-44): .7%
13. Phoenix Suns (39-43): .6%
14. Oklahoma City Thunder: .5%
The Thunder, Suns, Jazz, and other longshots see hope in history. In 1993, despite enjoying just a 1.5 percent chance for the top pick, the Orlando Magic won the lottery and ultimately drafted Chris Webber with the first selection.