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Each Team’s Odds For Top-Three Picks

The NBA’s draft lottery is set to take place tonight, with the league’s 14 non-playoff teams vying for a chance at the first overall pick and the opportunity to select a player from a crop of prospects that includes Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and others.

The odds at landing the first overall pick are cited frequently, from the Milwaukee’s 25% all the way down to Phoenix’s 0.5%. But what chance does each team have to land a top-three pick? Listed in the chart below are the odds each lottery team has at the first, second, and third overall picks, as well as each team’s overall odds at landing in the top three, with explanation where applicable.

The first number you see here is the team’s odds for the first pick. The second is the odds for the second pick, and the third the odds for pick No. 3. The final number is the odds for any top-three pick.

  • Bucks — 25%, 21.5%, 17.7%, 64.2%
  • Sixers — 19.9%, 18.8%, 17.1%, 55.8%
  • Magic — 15.6%, 15.7%, 15.6%, 46.9% — These percentages reflect the Magic’s odds of landing a top three pick with their own selection. They stand a .0076% chance of earning two top-three picks, since they get the less favorable of the Nuggets and Knicks picks, as University of Florida statistics professor Larry Winner tells Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Winner also calculates the odds that the Magic end up with a top-three pick from the Nuggets and Knicks but fall outside the top three with their own pick as .044%.
  • Jazz — 10.4%, 11.2%, 12.1%, 33.7% — The Jazz and Celtics tied for the fourth-worst record, and the Jazz won the random drawing to have the fourth-best lottery odds. Utah’s odds are only slightly better than Boston’s, however, since they take the average of the odds for the fourth and fifth worst teams and give the winner of the random drawing the extra ping-pong ball combination if, as in this case, the number of combinations works out to an odd number. The amalgamated odds for the Celtics and Jazz are courtesy of Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren and
  • Celtics — 10.3%, 11.1%, 12.0%, 33.4%
  • Lakers — 6.3%, 7.1%, 8.1%, 21.5%
  • Kings — 4.3%, 4.9%, 5.8%, 15.0%
  • Pistons — 2.8%, 3.3%, 3.9%, 9.9%
  • Cavs — 1.7%, 2.0%, 2.4%, 6.1%
  • Pelicans — 1.1%, 1.3%, 1.6%, 4.0%
  • Nuggets — 1.5%, 1.7%, 2.2%, 5.4% — These are the combined odds of Denver and New York, which gives its pick up to Denver in every scenario. The Nuggets in turn owe the less favorable of their pick and New York’s pick to the Magic, as explained above.
  • Knicks — 0% (owes its pick to the Nuggets).
  • Timberwolves — 0.6%, 0.7%, 0.9%, 2.2%
  • Suns — 0.5%, 0.6%, 0.7%, 1.8%
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