With just three games left on the regular season slate, Oklahoma City is making a run at the top draft pick.
The Thunder have lost 21 of their last 22 games. Whether intentionally or not, the team is in great position to snag the top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, and then some.
Playing the odds
The Draft Lottery will determine the selection for the 2021 NBA Draft for the league’s bottom 14 teams, or teams that did not make the 2020 postseason.
Recent changes have ensured that the team with the worst record in the NBA, who will undoubtedly be Houston this season, will finish no worse than the fifth pick.
The three teams with the worst records will all have a 14 percent chance at the top pick. From then on, the odds for each team will be reduced gradually.
All tied up
With several teams vying for top choices in a universally loaded Draft class, it’s inevitable there will be ties.
Should multiple teams finish with the same record, there will be a separate lottery held to determine the final lottery order.
Should two teams tie, both with have a fifty-fifty shot at the higher pick. Three teams would have a 33 percent chance at each, and so on.
Here are the current lottery odds:
1. Houston Rockets (16-52)
2. Detroit Pistons (20-49)
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (21-48)
T4. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-47)
T4. Orlando Magic (21-47)
T4. Minnesota Timberwolves (21-47)
7. Toronto Raptors (27-41)
8. Chicago Bulls (29-39)
9. Sacramento Kings (30-38)
10. New Orleans Pelicans (31-37)
The Thunder’s historic slide does have positives.
At 21-48, Oklahoma City is currently tied for the third best odds with Cleveland. If the season ended today, OKC would have a fifty-fifty shot at the 3rd or 4th best odds.
Houston also traded its first round pick to OKC this season, which is Top-4 protected. Should the pick fall out of the top four, which has a 47.9 percent chance of happening, it will convey to the Thunder.
With matchups against the Kings, Jazz and Clippers, the Thunder have a good chance to lose out and continue improving their odds.