The NBA’s draft order is determined by the league’s reverse standings for that year, with the first four spots in the draft up for grabs via the lottery. However, when two teams finish the season with identical records, an additional step is necessary.
In order to determine which of those tied teams will move ahead of the other(s) in the draft order, the NBA conducts tiebreakers via random drawings. The league completed the random drawings for 2019’s tiebreakers today, and we have the results below. Let’s dive in…
Tiebreaker No. 1:
- Teams: Phoenix Suns vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63)
- Draft positions: 2-3
- Winner: Cavaliers
Tiebreaker No. 2:
- Teams: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks vs. Memphis Grizzlies (33-49)
- Draft positions: 7-9
- Winner: Pelicans
- Second place: Grizzlies
- Note: Grizzlies’ pick will go to Celtics if it falls outside top eight; Mavericks’ pick will go to the Hawks if it falls outside top five.
Tiebreaker No. 3:
- Teams: Sacramento Kings vs. Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets (39-43)
- Draft positions: 12-14
- Winner: Hornets
- Second place: Heat
- Note: Kings’ pick belongs to Celtics (or Sixers if it’s No. 1).
Tiebreaker No. 4:
- Teams: Brooklyn Nets vs. Orlando Magic (42-40)
- Draft positions: 16-17
- Winner: Magic
Tiebreaker No. 5:
- Teams: Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs vs. Indiana Pacers (48-34)
- Draft positions: 18-20
- Winner: Pacers
- Second place: Spurs
- Note: Clippers’ pick belongs to Celtics.
Tiebreaker No. 6:
- Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics (49-33)
- Draft positions: 21-22
- Winner: Thunder
Tiebreaker No. 7:
- Teams: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets (53-29)
- Draft positions: 25-26
- Winner: Trail Blazers
- Note: Rockets’ pick belongs to Cavaliers.
Teams’ lottery odds didn’t really change as a result of today’s tiebreakers. In instances where two or more lottery teams finish with identical records, the lottery combinations are split evenly among them, with the tiebreaker winner getting one extra combination if there’s an odd number.
However, today’s results were still important. As a result of ending up at No. 8, for instance, the Grizzlies now have a 57.4% chance of retaining their own top-eight protected pick, something they don’t really want to do unless it jumps into the top four.
The Celtics, who already have three first-round selections for 2019 and would prefer to roll that Memphis pick over to 2020, will get it if it falls outside of the top eight. There’s only a 42.6% chance that will happen. The Grizzlies’ result was the only good news today for the Celtics, who lost their other three tiebreakers.
The pre-lottery 2019 draft order for the first round is listed below. For more information on the lottery odds for the top 14 teams, be sure to check out our recap from Thursday, as well as our glossary entry on the draft lottery. This year’s lottery will take place on Tuesday, May 14.
- New York Knicks
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Phoenix Suns
- Chicago Bulls
- Atlanta Hawks
- Washington Wizards
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Note: The Celtics will receive this pick if it falls out of the top eight (42.6% chance).
- Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)
- Note: The Mavericks will keep this pick if it moves up into the top four (26.2% chance).
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Charlotte Hornets
- Miami Heat
- Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings)
- Note: The Sixers will receive this pick if it moves up to No. 1 (1.0% chance).
- Detroit Pistons
- Orlando Magic
- Brooklyn Nets
- Indiana Pacers
- San Antonio Spurs
- Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers)
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Boston Celtics
- Utah Jazz
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets)
- Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets)
- Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors)
- Milwaukee Bucks
Information from Tankathon.com was used in the creation of this post.