Editor’s note: This post will be updated each morning with the current NBA draft lottery standings
With the Detroit Pistons in the midst of their worst season since 1980-81 — which led to the drafting of Isiah Lord Thomas III — missing the postseason for the second straight season, and running their postseason winless streak to 13 years, let’s devote our attention to the 2021 NBA draft, set for July 29.
The regular season ends May 16, and teams are jostling for playoff position — and, of course, better lottery odds — with players resting and recovering from the league’s crammed 72-game season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But June 22 is the date to remember: It’s the night of the NBA draft lottery, often the biggest evening of the year for bad teams. It’s where dreams come true and hearts are broken, and unequivocally one of the most entertaining and dramatic 15 minutes of television every year. And this year’s lottery will be extra juicy, with three teams in the top 10 trying to hold onto protected picks.
The lottery is where we find out the official NBA draft order this summer. And boy could the Pistons use some lottery luck: They’ve never moved up in the lottery with their own pick. Last year, they fell from No. 5 to 7, where they selected French point guard Killian Hayes, who has shown promise since his return from injury.
This summer’s draft has an exciting and talented top 5, with Oklahoma State’s 6-foot-8 guard Cade Cunningham the clear favorite to be No. 1 — Fade For Cade — due to his exquisite combination of passing, ball-handling, shooting, size and positional versatility.
Other top prospects include Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, USC center Evan Mobley, and two G League teenagers: Shooting guard Jalen Green and forward Jonathan Kuminga (see gallery at top of page for info on each player).
PISTONS MAILBAG: Not getting a top-5 draft pick wouldn’t be the end of the world
Starting in the 2019 lottery, the NBA flattened the odds and now uses the lottery to determine picks 1-4 (instead of 1-3) to increase the volatility in hopes of weakening season-long tanking. After the top 4 is decided, teams slot in reverse order of regular season standings, so the remaining team with the worst record picks fifth and so on.
Here are the daily NBA draft lottery standings ordered by winning percentage, with corresponding percentage odds of earning a top-4 pick and the No. 1 pick.
Note: The lottery includes the 14 teams that miss the playoffs. This year’s lottery teams seeded 11-14 will be in the league’s inaugural play-in tournament along with the No. 7 and 8 playoff seeds. The four teams — two in each conference — that fail to earn a playoff berth during the tournament will then slot into the lottery. For more, here’s how the play-in tournament works.
*Updated Monday; GB = Games Behind
Pick Team Record GB Top 4 No. 1
1. Houston 15-46 – 52.1% 14%
2. Minnesota 17-44 2 52.1% 14%
3. Detroit 18-43 3 52.1% 14%
4. Orlando 18-42 3½ 48.1% 12.5%
5. OKC 20-40 5½ 42.1% 10.5%
6. Cleveland 21-39 6½ 37.2% 9%
7. Sacramento 24-36 9½ 31.9% 7.5%
8. Chicago 25-35 10½ 23.5% 5.3%
8. Toronto 25-35 10½ 23.1% 5.2%
10. New Orleans 26-34 11½ 13.9% 3%
*Houston’s pick goes to OKC if it lands outside top 4; **Minnesota’s pick goes to Golden State if it lands outside top 3; ***Chicago’s pick goes to Orlando if it lands outside top 4
For more draft odds, trades and swaps, and the entire draft order, visit Tankathon.com.
Read more on the Detroit Pistons on freep.com.