Kings Get Lift As Drawings Break Ties For Draft

The Kings were the most significant winners and the Bulls the biggest losers as the NBA resolved ties for the draft order in a drawing today shown on NBA TV and Sacramento won a three-way drawing that gives the team the eighth spot in the lottery order, meaning three teams from the bottom four in the lottery would have to beat long odds and move into the top three for the Kings to fall out of the top 10. The Bulls would get Sacramento’s pick if that happened, but it’s tough to envision that coming to pass, since none of those teams has more than a 3% chance to move up. The Kings could have fallen to 10th in the drawing, meaning only one of the bottom four teams would have had to move up for the Bulls to get the pick. The pick will be top-10 protected again next year, but if the Bulls don’t get it then, they’ll instead receive Sacramento’s 2017 second-rounder.

The NBA has a complex set of tiebreakers for playoff position, but when two teams tie in the draft order or for lottery position, the league leaves it to random drawings. The order is now set for picks 15 through 60. The lottery, set for May 17th, will determine the top 14 picks, as always.

The NBA essentially splits the lottery odds among teams that tie for those positions, though in many cases an even split is impossible. In those cases, a slight edge will go to the team that wins the drawing. The drawing results are reversed for the second-round order, so the teams that end up with better position in the first round have less favorable second-round position.

There were four ties this year. Two were simple and involved only a pair of teams each. The Celtics, who inherited the Mavericks’ pick via the Rajon Rondo trade, won a tiebreaker with the Grizzlies for No. 16, while the Pistons won a tiebreaker with the Nuggets, who previously traded for the Trail Blazers’ pick, for No. 18.

Sacramento won a three-team draw with the Nuggets and Bucks to get the eighth position in the lottery, and Denver then won a draw against Milwaukee for the ninth lottery slot. Most complex of all was a four-team tie involving the Hawks, Hornets, Celtics and the Sixers, who acquired the Heat’s pick through an earlier trade. Atlanta won a draw involving all four teams for the 21st pick, and the Hornets then beat the Celtics and Sixers for No. 22. Boston won out over Philadelphia for No. 23, sending the Sixers to No. 24.

Here’s a look at the first-round draft order as it will stand going into the lottery:

Lottery order and odds of landing top pick

1. Sixers — (could send pick to Kings; see note 1 here) — 25%
2. Lakers — (could send pick to Sixers; see note 2 here) — 19.9%
3. Celtics (via Nets) — 15.6%
4. Suns — 11.9%
5. Timberwolves — 8.8%
6. Pelicans — 6.3%
7. Knicks (will send pick to either Nuggets or Raptors; see note 5 here) — 4.3%
8. Kings (could send pick to Sixers or Bulls; see note 7 here) — 1.9%
9. Nuggets (could send pick to Raptors; see note 6 here) — 1.9%
10. Bucks — 1.8%
11. Magic — 0.8%
12. Jazz — 0.7%
13. Wizards (likely to send pick to Suns; see note 8 here) — 0.6%
14. Bulls — 0.5%

Remainder of first round

15. Nuggets (via Rockets)
16. Celtics (via Mavericks)
17. Grizzlies
18. Pistons
19. Nuggets (via Trail Blazers)
20. Pacers
21. Hawks
22. Hornets
23. Celtics
24. Sixers (via Heat)
25. Clippers
26. Sixers (via Thunder)
27. Raptors
28. Suns (via Cavaliers)
29. Spurs
30. Warriors

Second round

31. Celtics (via Sixers)
32. Lakers
33. Clippers (via Nets)
34. Suns
35. Celtics (via Timberwolves)
36. Bucks (via Pelicans)
37. Rockets (via Knicks)
*38. Bucks
*39. Pelicans (via Nuggets)
*40. Pelicans (via Kings)
41. Magic
42. Jazz
43. Rockets
44. Hawks (via Wizards)
45. Celtics (via Grizzlies)
46. Mavericks
47. Magic (via Bulls)
48. Bulls (via Trail Blazers)
49. Pistons
50. Pacers
51. Celtics (via Heat)
52. Jazz (via Celtics)
53. Nuggets (via Hornets)
54. Hawks
55. Nets (via Clippers)
56. Nuggets (via Thunder)
57. Grizzlies (via Raptors)
58. Celtics (via Cavaliers)
59. Kings (via Spurs)
60. Jazz (via Warriors)

* The order of picks 38 through 40 depends on the lottery. The Bucks’ second-round pick and the second-rounders originally belonging to the Nuggets and Kings will go in the reverse order of the picks originally belonging to each team in the first round.

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