A look at how the Pistons have fared in the NBA Draft Lottery

Detroit News

Detroit — The NBA Draft Lottery is Tuesday, which means the Pistons are just a couple of days from finding out their fate in next month’s draft.

Detroit finished this season with a record of 17-65, which marked the worst record in the NBA and the second-worst record in franchise history.

The NBA modified the lottery system after 2018 to avoid rewarding the best odds to the team with the worst record in the league and instead splitting the best odds among the bottom three teams. Since that change, the team with the worst record has not received the No. 1 pick. In the 38-year history of the NBA Draft Lottery, the team with the worst record has won the lottery eight times.

The Pistons have a 14% chance to land the No. 1 pick — which presumptively will be Victor Wembanyama —which is tied with the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs for the best odds. Detroit, Houston and San Antonio have the best chances of winning the lottery, but they also share a 52.1% chance at landing a top-four pick.

Let’s take a look at how the Pistons have fared every time they’ve been in the draft lottery since 1993:


Record: 23-59▶ Pre-lottery position: Third▶ No. 1 pick: Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic▶ Final outcome: Fell to fifth

Draft outcome: The Pistons went into the lottery with the third-worst record in the league, which means they still had the best chances to secure the No. 1 pick. However, not only did the Pistons not receive the first overall pick, they dropped two spots to fifth. Banchero, the newly-minted Rookie of the Year, went first overall to the Orlando Magic. At No. 5, the Pistons selected guard Jaden Ivey, who earned NBA all-rookie second team honors.


Record: 20-52▶ Pre-lottery position: Second▶ No. 1 pick: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons▶ Final outcome: Moved up to first

Draft outcome: Detroit won the No. 1 pick for the first time in franchise history after starting the night with a pre-lottery position of second. The result was Cade Cunningham, the centerpiece of the team’s latest rebuild. Pistons legend Ben Wallace served as the team’s representative at the lottery that year, and he’ll be in Chicago again Tuesday night, hoping for a similar result.


Record: 20-46▶ Pre-lottery position: Fifth▶ No. 1 pick: Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves▶ Final outcome: Fell to seventh

Draft outcome: The Pistons landed Killian Hayes, who became the highest-drafted player from France in NBA history. His record likely will come to an end on June 22 when Wembanyama hears his name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Consistency has been Hayes’ Achilles heel, but he’s coming off a career year in Detroit.


Record: 37-45▶ Pre-lottery position: 12th▶ No. 1 pick: Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers▶ Final outcome: Remained at 12th

Draft outcome: The Pistons drafted Luke Kennard, who led the NBA in 3-point percentage this season, with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft. The sharpshooter became a full-time starter in his final season with the team in 2019. However, he was traded in 2020 to the LA Clippers.


Record: 32-50▶ Pre-lottery position: Eighth▶ No. 1 pick: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves▶ Final outcome: Remained at 8th

Draft outcome: Stanley Johnson had immense potential as a two-way player at No. 8, but the Pistons missed out on Devin Booker and Myles Turner in this draft.


Record: 29-53▶ Pre-lottery position: Seventh▶ No. 1 pick: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers▶ Final outcome: Fell to eighth

Draft outcome: Detroit selected Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the eighth pick in the draft. He had a solid tenure with the Pistons and won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s currently using his 3-point shooting to help Denver try to accomplish the same feat.


Record: 25-41▶ Pre-lottery position: Ninth▶ No. 1 pick: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets▶ Final outcome: Remained at ninth

Draft outcome: Andre Drummond was a rebounding machine in Detroit, which made him a two-time All-Star. Due to his lack of a perimeter game, the former No. 9 pick has since become a journeyman since his heyday with the Pistons.


Record: 30-52▶ Pre-lottery position: Seventh▶ No. 1 pick: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers▶ Final outcome: Fell to eighth

▶ Draft outcome: Brandon Knight was the Pistons’ selection in a draft where they could’ve taken Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard. The latter two players are NBA champions, while Knight and Walker are no longer in the league.


Record: 27-55Pre-lottery position: seventhNo. 1 pick: John Wall, Washington WizardsFinal outcome: Remained at seventh

▶ Draft outcome: The Pistons selected Greg Monroe with the seventh pick in 2010 and while he was a solid big, he couldn’t adapt to a transitioning league that thrived on perimeter shooting.


▶ Record: 32-50▶ Pre-lottery position: Ninth▶ No. 1 pick: Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards▶ Final outcome: Remained at ninth

▶ Draft outcome: Rodney White played just 16 games during his rookie year and was traded to the Denver Nuggets in the following offseason.


▶ Record: 37-45▶ Pre-lottery position: 11th▶ No. 1 pick: Michael Olowokandi, LA Clippers▶ Final outcome: Remained at 11th

▶ Draft outcome: Bonzi Wells was selected by the Pistons with the 11th overall pick, but he never played for the franchise since his rights were traded to the Trail Blazers in exchange for a first round pick in 1999.


▶ Record: 20-62▶ Pre-lottery position: Second▶ No. 1 pick: Glenn Robinson, Milwaukee Bucks▶ Final outcome: Fell to third

Draft outcome: Grant Hill, one of the most beloved players in franchise history, was a breath of fresh air for a struggling Pistons team and he had a sensational rookie season in Detroit that culminated in sharing the Rookie of the Year award with Jason Kidd.


▶ Record: 40-42▶ Pre-lottery position: 10th▶ No. 1 pick: Chris Webber, Orlando Magic▶ Final outcome: Fell to 11th

▶ Draft outcome: The Pistons selected Allan Houston, who averaged 8.5 points per game in his rookie year. He upped his average to 14.5 points and 19.7 points per game in his next two seasons with the team. He signed with the New York Knicks after his rookie contract expired in 1996.

NBA draft lottery

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday


At stake for Pistons: With the worst record in the NBA, the Pistons share a 14% chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, which will likely be French phenom Victor Wembanyama. The last time the Pistons received the No. 1 pick was in 2021 and they used it to select Cade Cunningham. Detroit also owns the No. 31 pick.


Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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