Details On Traded Picks, Upcoming Draft Tiebreakers

With the 2017/18 NBA regular season in the books, the postseason matchups are set in both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

More importantly for fans of most non-playoff teams, the end of the regular season means that the 2018 NBA draft picture is clearer than ever. The 2018 draft order is close to being set and – with a small handful of exceptions – most of this year’s traded draft picks with protections on them have now officially changed hands or officially stayed put.

However, there are still some major question marks surrounding the draft order, since several clubs finished the regular season with identical records, and draft tiebreakers don’t work like playoff tiebreakers do. In order to break these ties, the NBA will conduct random drawings this Friday, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN notes (via Twitter).

[RELATED: 2017/18 NBA Reverse Standings]

For lottery teams, such as the 24-58 Mavericks and Hawks, who finished tied for third in the lottery standings, the implications of those drawings are huge. Whichever team wins that tiebreaker will have ever-so-slightly better odds at the first overall pick (13.8% to 13.7%), and will be in position to claim the higher first-round pick if neither team lands in the top three.

For instance, if the Suns and Grizzlies remain at No. 1 and No. 2 in the lottery and another team leapfrogs the Mavs and Hawks, the winner of the tiebreaker between Dallas and Atlanta would claim the No. 4 overall pick — the loser would get No. 5. For the second round, the loser of the tiebreaker would receive the higher selection.

Here are the draft tiebreakers that will be conducted on Friday:

  • Mavericks vs. Hawks for Nos. 3, 4.
  • Kings vs. Bulls for Nos. 6, 7.
  • Bucks vs. Heat for Nos. 16, 17.
  • Spurs vs. Timberwolves for Nos. 18, 19.
  • Pacers vs. Pelicans vs. Thunder vs. Jazz for Nos. 20-23.

Several of those tiebreakers will also affect this year’s traded picks. Most notably, the Bucks/Heat drawing has massive implications for Milwaukee and Phoenix — the Bucks’ first-round pick will head to the Suns if it lands at No. 16, but Milwaukee would keep it if it ends up at No. 17. In other words, each team has a 50/50 shot at the pick. If the Bucks keep it, they’d owe their 2019 first-round selection to Phoenix, albeit with somewhat similar protections.

Here’s a breakdown of the traded first-round picks for 2018. A check mark indicates the pick will definitely be sent to the indicated team:

  • Nets pick to Cavaliers (✔️): Eighth in lottery standings
  • Lakers pick to Sixers (97.1%) or Celtics (2.9%): 10th in lottery standings
    • Note: Celtics will receive pick if it lands at No. 2 or No. 3 via the lottery.
  • Pistons pick to Clippers (97.5%): 12th in lottery standings
    • Note: Pistons will keep pick if it lands in top three via the lottery.
  • Heat pick to Suns (✔️): No. 16 or 17 (tie)
  • Bucks pick to Suns (50%): No. 16 or 17 (tie)
    • Note: Bucks will keep pick if it lands at No. 17 via a random drawing.
  • Timberwolves pick to Hawks (✔️): No. 18 or 19 (tie)
  • Thunder pick to Timberwolves (✔️): No. 20, 21, 22, or 23 (four-way tie)
  • Pelicans pick to Bulls (✔️): No. 20, 21, 22, or 23 (four-way tie)
  • Cavaliers pick to Lakers (✔️): No. 25
  • Raptors pick to Nets (✔️): No. 29
  • Rockets pick to Hawks (✔️): No. 30

Here’s a breakdown of the traded second-round picks that will change hands in 2018:

  • Bulls pick to Knicks (✔️): No. 36 or 37 (tie)
  • Nets pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 38
  • Knicks pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 39
  • Lakers pick to Nets (✔️): No. 40
  • Hornets pick to Magic (✔️): No. 41
  • Clippers pick to Nuggets (✔️): No. 43
  • Bucks pick to Nets (✔️): No. 45 or 46 (tie)
  • Heat pick to Rockets (✔️): No. 45 or 46 (tie)
  • Nuggets pick to Lakers (✔️): No. 47
  • Trail Blazers pick to Mavericks (✔️): No. 54
  • Cavaliers pick to Hornets (✔️): No. 55
  • Celtics pick to Thunder (✔️): No. 57
  • Warriors pick to Nuggets (✔️): No. 58
  • Raptors pick to Suns (✔️): No. 59
  • Rockets pick to Sixers (✔️): No. 60
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14 thoughts on “Details On Traded Picks, Upcoming Draft Tiebreakers

  1. mcase7187

    I thought the lakers pick to the 76ers goes to the C’s if it falls between 2-5

    • mcmillankmm

      It would be the C’s pick if it’s 2-5, however, it’s impossible for the pick to land 4th or 5th now

      • camdenyards46

        The Lakers have the 10th best odds, and they can’t move up to 4th or 5th. Teams that jump up from their slot in the lottery automatically go into the top 3. So the Lakers can get 10(Sixers), 2(Celtics), 3(Celtics), or 1(Sixers).

  2. brewpackbuckbadg

    Does the Bucks second round pick go to the Suns if the Bucks “win” the coin flip and keep their first rounder? If so,this would cause their 2020 second to go to the Nets instead of the Suns. If so, I hope the Bucks lose the coin flip so they end up only losing two picks and the first round pick commitment does not get extended to either of the next two years where it could be a much lower pick.

    • Luke Adams

      The only impact the tiebreaker will have on the second-round pick is whether it ends up at No. 45 or 46 — the Nets will get it either way. So the Bucks will be able to end that obligation to the Nets and also extinguish their second-round obligation to the Suns this year (since Phoenix won’t get a future second-rounder after missing out on this year’s).

      • brewpackbuckbadg

        Thank you. Looking at the exact wording I see how this works out. When the trade was made, I can only assume that it was designed for the Suns to get either a first or second this year but it could be they get no picks from the Bucks this year.

  3. dorfmac

    Wow, NBA draft is insanely confusing. Can anyone offer insight into why they do it this way instead of the more simplistic way every other league seems to do it?

  4. GoldenJabs

    Not trying to add more confusion, but if the Celtics lose out on the 2nd or 3rd in the lottery, does that translate to them receiving any additional picks the following year?

    • Luke Adams

      If the Sixers keep that Lakers pick this year, the Celtics will get the more favorable of the Kings and Sixers first-rounders in 2019 (so almost definitely the Kings pick) — UNLESS one of them is the No. 1 overall pick, in which case the Celtics get the less favorable of those two picks.


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