Month: April 2024

Four More-Likely-Than-Not NBA Draft Lottery Outcomes

As we noted on Monday when we passed along the full breakdown of the odds for each team in this year’s NBA draft lottery, the league has adjusted its format for 2019 and beyond, smoothing out the odds and making four picks – instead of three – available in the lottery.

While it’s simple enough to read the numbers in a chart and observe differences from previous years, it’s a little trickier to pin down exactly how those new odds may impact the results we see on lottery night in two weeks. So, to help create a clearer sense of what sort of results we should prepare for on Tuesday, May 14, we’re going to focus on four different scenarios today.

The four scenarios listed below are more likely than not to occur. That doesn’t mean that they’ll all happen, or that any of them will happen, for that matter. But the odds are at least slightly in favor of them happening, which wouldn’t necessarily have been the case in previous years.

Let’s dive in…

1. The No. 1 overall pick is more likely to go to a team in the 5-14 range (45.5%) than to the Knicks, Cavaliers, or Suns (42%).

Under the NBA’s old lottery format, the odds heavily favored the league’s very worst teams — the top three teams in the lottery standings combined for a 60.5% chance at the No. 1 overall pick, while the teams in the 5-14 range had a combined 27.6% chance at that top selection.

The new format has made tanking to the bottom of the NBA standings a less favorable proposition. The system essentially took 185 ping-pong ball combinations (out of 1,001) from those top three lottery teams and re-assigned them to rest of the clubs behind them in the lottery.

In other words, it’s not at all safe to assume that Zion Williamson will end up on one of the league’s very worst teams.

2. The Knicks are more likely to pick No. 5 overall (47.9%) than in the top three (40.1%).

No team benefits less from the league’s adjusted lottery format than the Knicks, who in past years would’ve had a 25% chance at the first overall pick, a 64.3% chance to be in the top three, and a 0% chance of falling below No. 4.

Now, the Knicks are significantly more likely to finish out of the top three altogether (59.9%), despite their league-worst 17-65 record. In a draft that’s considered fairly top-heavy, that could be trouble for New York — the team may end up deciding between the likes of Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, and Jarrett Culver rather than getting a shot at Williamson, Ja Morant, or R.J. Barrett.

3. The Bulls are more likely to pick No. 6 overall (25.7%) than in the top two (24.7%).

The Bulls‘ odds of securing a top-two pick as the No. 4 seed in the lottery are technically a tiny bit higher this year than they would’ve been in the old format. That’s the good news.

The bad news? Because four picks are decided by the lottery now instead of just three, Chicago is far more likely to move out of the top five altogether. In the old format, the Bulls’ odds of picking outside of the top five would have been 17.2%. Those odds are now at 44.7%.

4. The Grizzlies’ pick is more likely to be sent to the Celtics (42.6%) than to be No. 8 overall (31.2%).

When the Grizzlies finished second in a lottery tiebreaker conducted at the end of the regular season, it locked them into the No. 8 spot in the lottery standings, which didn’t look like great news for the franchise.

After all, Memphis’ 2019 first-round pick was traded to Boston with top-eight protection. If it stays in the top eight, the Grizzlies keep it, but they’d actually prefer to have it convey to the Celtics this season to avoid the risk of sending an even more favorable pick to the C’s in a future draft.

The good news for the Grizzlies is that the absolute worst-case scenario – the pick staying at No. 8 and remaining with Memphis – isn’t nearly as likely as it would’ve been in previous years. Because the smoothed-out odds make a lottery shakeup more likely, there’s a decent chance the pick slips to No. 9 or lower (42.6%) or that it jumps into the top four (26.2%). Either of those outcomes would be just fine with the Grizzlies.

In previous years, the odds of the Memphis pick jumping into the top three (or four) would’ve been just 10%. The odds of it remaining at No. 8 would’ve been upwards of 70%.

Information from Tankathon.com was used in the creation of this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns, Monty Williams Expected To Meet For Second Interview

After interviewing Sixers assistant Monty Williams in Toronto last Friday, the Suns plan on meeting with the head coaching candidate a second time, reports Shams Charania of Stadium (video link).

According to Charania, the interview – which will likely take place later this week – is expected to include team owner Robert Sarver. That’s a noteworthy detail, since it means that Phoenix is taking a step forward in the process of pursing Williams, Charania notes.

Williams, who previously served as the head coach in New Orleans from 2010-15, is drawing plenty of interest so far this spring. He has already interviewed twice with the Lakers, meeting last week with a large contingent of executives that included team owner Jeanie Buss.

The Suns reportedly view Williams as their top candidate, but didn’t make him an offer after Friday’s interview. Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic has suggested that the Suns may be waiting for the Lakers to make an offer so that they can counter that proposal and make a better one — though the fact that Sarver has yet to meet with Williams represents another reason to wait.

If Williams has a preference between the Lakers and Suns, he has yet to tip his hand. As Rankin points out, it’s worth noting that Williams could become a head coaching candidate in Philadelphia too, should the Sixers fall to the Raptors and consider moving on from Brett Brown. However, if Brown continues to coach like he did in Philadelphia’s Game 2 win, that’s probably an unlikely scenario.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Miami Heat

While the Heat weren’t considered a championship contender entering the 2018/19 season, they were viewed as a solid playoff team with the opportunity to increase their ceiling by making a trade for Jimmy Butler. Despite a steady stream of trade rumors in the fall, Butler was ultimately sent to Philadelphia instead of Miami, and the Heat’s star-less roster struggled to perform consistently during Dwyane Wade‘s farewell tour. With Wade calling it a career, the Heat are entering a new era in 2019/20 after missing the postseason this spring.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Heat financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • Although Whiteside and Dragic have said they’re still undecided on their respective player options, it’s hard to imagine either player opting out. Assuming those options are exercised, that would push the Heat’s team salary over $132MM for just eight players and a first-round pick. Even if the club can shed some salary, staying out of the tax will be a challenge and creating cap room is extremely unlikely.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Trade exception: $6,270,000 (expires 2/6/20)
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,711,000 7

Footnotes

  1. Anderson’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 10.
  2. Robinson’s salary guarantee increases to $1MM after July 15.
  3. Maten’s salary guarantee increases to $150K after August 1.
  4. Jones’ salary becomes fully guaranteed after August 1.
  5. Nunn’s salary becomes partially guaranteed to $50K after July 1 and to $150K after August 1.
  6. Babbitt’s and Mickey’s cap holds remain on the Heat’s books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2018/19. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  7. This is a projected value. If the Heat reduce salary and stay out of tax territory, they could instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Notes: Gasol, Hawks Workouts, Pistons, Williams

Raptors center Marc Gasol is excited about the prospect of playing for Spain once again in the World Cup at China this summer, according to a FIBA press release. Spain is ranked No. 2 by FIBA. In his last international appearance, he helped Spain to a third-place finish at FIBA EuroBasket 2017.

“I’m closer to the end of my international career than to the beginning, but the motivation is the same that I’ve had since I started playing with the national team,” the Raptors’ big man said. “I enjoy the moments with the guys, from the practice to the camaraderie and the competition. I want to help the national team try to have good runs and win more medals and titles before I retire from international duty. I take it step by step and my first focus after the NBA season is on the next FIBA World Cup.”

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hawks are bringing in forwards Jordan Caroline (Nevada), Donta Hall (Alabama), Chris Silva (South Carolina) and Tre’Shawn Thurman (Nevada) and guards Kyle Allman and Markell Johnson (North Carolina State) for predraft workouts on Tuesday, according to a team press release.
  • All members of the Pistons’ coaching staff as well as their front office executives are expected to return, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Detroit reached the playoffs for just the second time since 2009 under first-year coach Dwane Casey and was swept by Milwaukee in the opening round.
  • Magic co-founder and Hall of Famer Pat Williams announced his retirement from the team on Monday after 51 years in the NBA, according to a team press release. Williams, who turns 79 this week, was GM of the Bulls, Hawks and Sixers as well as Orlando. He was promoted to senior VP of the Magic in 1996.

Western Notes: Paul, House, Prince, Favors, Suns

Rockets point guard Chris Paul was fined $35K for “aggressively confronting and recklessly making contact with a game official” but was not suspended, according to a league press release relayed by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Paul was ejected with 4.4 seconds left in Game 1 of the Rockets’ conference semifinal series with Golden State on Sunday. He was whistled for his second technical foul when he made contact with referee Josh Tiven while arguing that Warriors guard Klay Thompson committed a loose-ball foul against him. The non-call on Thompson was correct, according to the NBA’s last two minute report, MacMahon notes. Paul said the contact was accidental.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Rockets reserve forward Danuel House harbors no ill will toward the Warriors for cutting him loose during training camp, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. “I was just trying to secure a job, show people my potential. I just needed an opportunity,” House said. “Those guys didn’t see me fit for it. I’m just grateful my hometown team took me in. It’s business. I respect the nature of the business. But of course I want to win.” House had three points and three rebounds in 21 minutes during the series opener. He had his two-way contract converted into a standard deal in mid-March.
  • Grizzlies executive Tayshaun Prince was promoted to “special advisor” to vice president of basketball affairs but his role won’t change much, as Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian explains. He’ll remain a crucial link from the front office to the players and coaches, though now with more empowerment, Herrington continues. Rich Cho, who was earlier named vice president of basketball strategy, will lead the analytics/research/systems staff while Chris Makris will continue to lead the traditional scouting staff, Herrington adds. Prince will also help evaluate professional, college and G League personnel.
  • Derrick Favors‘ chances of remaining with the Jazz hinge on what happens in the early days of free agency, as Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News explains. Favors’ $16.9MM salary for next season, which could total $18.8MM if he reaches incentives in the contract, becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster past July 6. If Utah is able to secure a commitment from a free agent power forward, Favors won’t get the guarantee. If it can’t find a suitable replacement by then, the team will likely retain Favors.
  • The Suns are close to hiring Gonzaga assistant coach Riccardo Fois for a major player development role within the organization, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Fois is current the Zags’ coordinator of analytics and video operations.

Thunder Notes: George, Abrines, Matthews, Donovan

Thunder All-Star forward Paul George will soon have his right shoulder re-evaluated by a specialist, Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman reports. GM Sam Presti told the media during his annual post-season press conference that George will see a specialist outside of Oklahoma City but Thunder staff members will be present.

George saw action in 77 regular-season games but took four games off to rest his aching shoulder. He was effective in the playoffs despite the discomfort, posting averages on 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 4.1 APG during the Thunder’s 4-1 opening-round series loss to Portland. Presti declared that George “was at no risk of any type of future injury” this season and labelled the possibility of George undergoing surgery as “speculation.”

We have more from Presti’s press conference:

  • He took the blame for not having enough sharpshooting wings on the roster, Lee notes in a separate story. Presti thought Alex Abrines would have a “breakout year” but the swingman missed 17 games for personal reasons and was ultimately waived. The Thunder pursued Wesley Matthews after the Knicks bought him out and waived him but Matthews chose Indiana. “Once Wes Matthews went to Indiana there really wasn’t a lot of other options out there, and that put some stress on us offensively, and you never want to be in that position,” he said.
  • Billy Donovan is expected to return as head coach despite the latest postseason flameout. Presti said he has yet to meet with Donovan on the subject because he wanted to give his coach more time to “reflect and decompress,” Brett Dawson of The Athletic tweets. “I do think getting his perspective on things is important because there’s nobody that works harder than him,” Presti said. “If anything, I think he needs to take some time to think through the season himself and have a really good conversation.

Popovich Strongly Hints He’ll Remain Spurs’ Coach

Gregg Popovich plans to remains the Spurs coach for a 24th season and is currently in negotiations with the front office to finalize the deal, he hinted on Monday to the media, including the San Antonio Express News’ Tom Orsborn“It’s one third Portofino, one third Positano, and one third San Antonio,” wine connoisseur Popovich quipped about contract talks.

Popovich’s contract expired at the end of the season. He is the longest-tenured coach in any of the four major professional sports leagues. The Spurs were eliminated by Denver on Saturday in the only opening-round playoff series that required seven games to determine a victor.

The Spurs finished the regular season with 48 victories despite a major roster overhaul during the offseason, including the blockbuster deal that sent starters Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto. San Antonio’s starting point guard Dejounte Murray suffered a season-ending knee injury prior to the regular-season opener.

With DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge along with promising young pieces, the 70-year-old Popovich indicated he’s eager to work again with the current mix.

“It’s just the beginning of a new culture for a new group,” he said. “So we will have a little bit of corporate knowledge going into next season, and they’ll show that, I think.”

Popovich will also have a busy summer coaching Team USA in the FIBA World Cup in China in August and September.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Sacramento Kings

Projected by oddsmakers to be the worst team in the Western Conference in 2018/19, the Kings surpassed all expectations, emerging as one of the most entertaining young clubs in the league behind breakout seasons from De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. The year wasn’t without the usual Sacramento drama, as an end-of-season coaching change proved, but the franchise finally appears to be pointed in the right direction after spending over a decade in the lottery.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Kings financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $38.4MM
  • This projection may not be the most realistic outcome for the Kings, as it hinges on them only retaining their seven players on guaranteed contracts, plus Barnes, renouncing their free agents and waiving all their players on non-guaranteed salaries.
  • If the Kings were to bring back Ferrell and Mason, their available cap room would dip to $35.4MM. If they were to retain both of those players and also keep Cauley-Stein’s cap hold on their books, that number would decline further, to $22.2MM.
  • On the other hand, if Barnes decides to test the market, the Kings could theoretically get all the way up to $62.6MM in cap space by only keeping their seven players on guaranteed salaries.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Room exception: $4,760,000 4

Footnotes

  1. Ferrell’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 4.
  2. Mason’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after October 15.
  3. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  4. This is a projected value. If the Kings remain over the cap, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Assistant GM Trent Redden To Remain With Clippers

After taking over as the head of basketball operations in New Orleans, new Pelicans executive David Griffin had reportedly hoped to reunite with Trent Redden, who worked with him in Cleveland’s front office. However, Redden – now an assistant general manager for the Clippers – has opted to remain in Los Angeles, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Redden met with Griffin earlier this month to discuss a front office role, as we relayed a week and a half ago. With Redden no longer in the mix for a job in New Orleans, it remains to be seen which direction Griffin will go to fill out his front office.

This is the second time this month that a top Clippers executive has turned down the opportunity to either interview for – or accept – a job in another front office that would ostensibly represent a promotion. Previously, Clips GM Michael Winger opted to withdraw his name from consideration for the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations position.

In Redden’s case, there were rumblings that New Orleans was interested in making him the club’s general manager under Griffin. However, as Wojnarowski explains, despite a “great belief” in Griffin, Redden still has a strong connection to the Clippers’ group and wants to see the club’s unfinished business through.

Full 2019 NBA Draft Lottery Odds

The 2019 NBA draft lottery is just over two weeks away, as it will take place on Tuesday, May 14. The event will significantly impact the fate of several NBA franchises vying for the right to select potential stars like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.

This year, for the first time, the NBA is using its new lottery format to determine the top picks. In past years, the odds have been more favorable for the league’s worst teams, and the lottery has only been used to determine the top three selections. This year, those odds were smoothed out a little more, and the top four picks will be determined in the lottery.

For a full breakdown of the new system, be sure to check out our glossary entry on the subject.

The standard odds chart for the new draft lottery format is included in our glossary entry, but the numbers in that chart don’t quite match up with 2019’s lottery. Because a handful of teams finished the season with identical records, those ties will impact the odds for this year’s lottery.

With the help of data from Tankathon.com – which is worth checking out for all sorts of draft-related info – we’ve listed the new odds for 2019 in the chart below.

The numbers in the chart indicate percentages, so the Knicks, for instance, have a 14% chance of landing the No. 1 pick and a 47.9% chance of ending up at No. 5. If a team’s odds are listed as >0, that percentage is below 0.1%.

Here’s the full chart:

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
NYK 14 13.4 12.7 12 47.9
CLE 14 13.4 12.7 12 27.8 20
PHX 14 13.4 12.7 12 14.8 26 7.1
CHI 12.5 12.2 11.9 11.5 7.2 25.7 16.8 2.2
ATL 10.5 10.5 10.6 10.5 2.2 19.6 26.7 8.8 0.6
WSH 9 9.2 9.4 9.6 8.6 29.6 20.6 3.8 0.2
NOP 6 6.3 6.7 7.2 19.7 37.2 15.1 1.6 >0
MEM 6 6.3 6.7 7.2 31.2 34.1 8 0.5 >0
DAL 6 6.3 6.7 7.2 46.4 24.3 2.9 0.1 >0
MIN 3 3.3 3.6 4 65.9 18.9 1.2 >0 >0
LAL 2 2.2 2.4 2.8 77.6 12.6 0.4 >0
CHA 1 1.1 1.2 1.4 86.1 9.0 0.2
MIA 1 1.1 1.2 1.4 92.9 2.3
SAC 1 1.1 1.2 1.4 95.2

Notes:

  • The Grizzlies‘ pick will be sent to the Celtics if it falls outside the top eight.
  • The Mavericks‘ pick will be sent to the Hawks if it falls outside the top five.
  • The Kings‘ pick will be sent to the Celtics, unless it’s No. 1 overall, in which case it would be sent to the Sixers.

The full pre-lottery draft order for 2019 can be found right here.