What Lottery, Draft Rules Mean For Traded 2020 First Round Picks

It got a bit lost in the shuffle amidst all of Thursday’s updates, but the NBA provided some important details on how this year’s draft lottery seeding and odds will work. They are as follows:

  1. The eight teams not included in the Orlando restart will be the top eight teams in the lottery standings.
  2. The 9-14 spots in the lottery will be made up of the six teams that don’t make the playoffs following this summer’s “seeding games” and possible play-in tournaments. Their seedings and odds will be based on their records as of March 11.
  3. The rest of the first round will be sorted by record, as usual. The order will be based on teams’ regular season results and the results of the eight seeding games this summer.

With those rules in mind, we have a pretty good sense of how traded first round picks for 2020 will be affected, so let’s take a closer look…


Picks whose fates have essentially been decided:

Cavaliers‘ first-round pick (traded to Pelicans if not in top 10)

  • As the league’s second-worst team in 2019/20, the Cavaliers can’t fall below sixth in the lottery, so they’ll keep their pick, which will land anywhere from No. 1 to 6.

Sixers‘ first-round pick (traded to Nets if not in top 14)

  • The Sixers have a nine-game lead on Orlando, which means they’ve now clinched a playoff spot and will send their pick to Brooklyn. It’s currently projected to land at No. 19 or 20, but it could move up or down based on this summer’s seeding games.

Pacers‘ first-round pick (traded to Bucks if not in top 14)

  • Like the Sixers, the Pacers have now clinched a playoff spot, which assures they’ll send their pick to Milwaukee. This pick is also currently projected to land at No. 19 or 20 (Philadelphia and Indiana are tied at 39-26), but it could move higher or lower once play resumes.

Rockets‘ first-round pick (traded to Nuggets)

  • This pick is unprotected, so the Rockets will send it to Denver. At 40-24, the Rockets are tied with Oklahoma City, putting their pick in line to be No. 21 or 22. They’re bunched up with a few teams in the standings though, so that could change when play resumes.

Jazz‘s first-round pick (traded to Grizzlies if it falls between 8-14)

  • The Jazz have now clinched a spot in the postseason, so they’ll keep their pick for at least one more year. It’s currently projected to be No. 24 overall, but that may change.

Nuggets‘ first-round pick (traded to Thunder)

  • An unprotected pick, the Nuggets’ first-rounder is currently projected to be No. 25. They’ll send it to Oklahoma City.

Clippers‘ first-round pick (traded to Knicks)

  • This is another unprotected selection, which the Clippers will send to New York. For now, it projects to be No. 27.

Bucks‘ first-round pick (traded to Celtics)

  • The Bucks, who will send this pick to Boston, have a four-game lead for the NBA’s best record, so this selection will likely be No. 30, though it could theoretically move up a spot or two.

Picks whose fates remain up in the air:

Nets‘ first-round pick (traded to Timberwolves if not in top 14)

  • At 30-34, the Nets have a half-game lead over Orlando and a six-game cushion over Washington. If they slump when play resumes, there’s a scenario in which they lose their playoff spot. The Magic would have to pass them and the Wizards would have to pull to within four games before beating Brooklyn twice in a row in a play-in tournament.
  • If the Nets miss the playoffs, this pick would end up at either No. 13 or 14 in the lottery standings, and Brooklyn would keep it.
  • If the Nets hang on a clinch a playoff spot, it figures to be the No. 15, 16, or 17 pick, and they’ll send it to the Timberwolves.

Grizzlies‘ first-round pick (traded to Celtics if it’s not in top six)

  • The Grizzlies have a 3.5-game lead over three Western teams (Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento), with a four-game cushion over San Antonio and a six-game cushion over Phoenix.
  • They’re in position to secure a playoff spot, and if they do, they’ll send this pick to the Celtics. It would fall between Nos. 15-17.
  • If the Grizzlies lose their playoff spot, they’ll move to No. 14 in the lottery standings. In all likelihood, the pick would end up there and they’d still have to send it to Boston. However, they’d have a minuscule chance (2.4%) of moving into the top four via the lottery, in which case they’d keep the pick.

Thunder‘s first-round pick (traded to Sixers if not in top 20)

  • Based on the Thunder’s current 40-24 record, this pick currently projects to be No. 21 or 22, in which case OKC would have to send it to Philadelphia.
  • However, if the Thunder lose ground during this summer’s seeding games, they could be surpassed in the standings by as many as three teams, meaning the pick could end up in the No. 18-20 range. In that case, Oklahoma City would keep it.
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28 thoughts on “What Lottery, Draft Rules Mean For Traded 2020 First Round Picks

  1. Appalachian_Outlaw

    This plan is garbage. So if you’re 9-14, you get to go play in some playoffs where you have no real shot, but you don’t get that puncher’s chance to move up in the draft.

    I understand it’s a tough situation, but why must they always reinvent the wheel?

      • I think that pic is top 10 or top 15 protected. Warriors keep it and it turns into 2 seconds 5 years from now… something like that.

        • Luke Adams

          Yeah, it was actually top-20 protected, so we’ve known for quite a while that it won’t change hands this year.

          It now turns into a 2025 second-round pick, so I didn’t include it in this list because I didn’t want to create the impression that the Nets could still get a first-rounder next year.

  2. I am glad the Warriors are not starting the season again. Why hurt a player for nothing. NBA kissed up to many owners. Should have just started the playoffs no need for a few of those team to be playing.

    • 4thinfsgt

      In my opinion, just my own opinion, Adam Silver is pressured by some super duper stars (specifically that one from the Lakers) to continue the season and eventually have a champion. The risk of spreading the virus, which is airborne and extremely contagious, is not worth it for some players who believe that the season be declared over. The players who would love to play again are risking lives especially their family’s for the price of a ring.

      • x%sure

        Do you know who is in Silver’s ear? Owners, GMs, bean-counters, ABC ESPN, union leaders, advisors whispering “personal legacy”. Lebron isn’t even a union figure anymore. And type the name Lebron– He’s not going to knock on your door for it.

        If Lebron is so influential, it should be credit not blame. The NBA before Lebron was all about players using cleverness to get the bail-out call, but Lebron put the onus back on a player’s shoulders. Now things are regressing a bit as he picks his spots to exert.

        Players who do not want to show up will find a reason to stay behind out of fear like John Wall who just got an article in The Athletic.

        This camp is a Silver thing not a Lebron thing.

      • Brown Trout Fisherman

        In my opinion you need to move to the mountains and become a hermit.

  3. Sillivan

    Warriors have met Wiseman and Ball

    5 plans
    If get Edward
    Trade to Hawks for John Collins

    If get Ball
    Trade to Knicks

    If get Wiseman
    Keep him

    If get Toppin
    Trade to Hornets for pj Washington and pick

    If get Okongwu
    Keep him, 5th pick is possible

    • hiflew

      Why would the Hornets trade Washington and a pick for Toppin? I literally can’t think of a single reason where that makes sense for them.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        I’m a Hornets fan, and I can’t think of a single reason they’d do that, either. The Hornets need to continue to amass as many good players as possible, not consolidate talent or give away picks.

    • The Warriors will not keep their pick under any circumstance. Write it down. Whoever they pick it will be for another team.

  4. Bryson

    Agreed I think they try and trade Wiggins and this pick for anything of value – maybe to the Knicks for a Dallas pick and some vets like taj and randle, who aren’t guaranteed after next year if they’re options are picked up at all this year (taj). however maybe they stockpile assets in an attempt to sign and trade for Giannis.

    • Sillivan

      You are right
      It seems to me that Knicks have 100 non-guaranteed contracts this offseason

      The most non-guaranteed contract ever in world history

      Knicks get Wiggins and Pick
      Warriors get Non guaranteed contracts
      And Covington
      Rockets get non guaranteed contracts and pick

      • Um…, no Sillivan. Andrew Wiggins is a walking 20 point machine. At the end of the game you don’t know how he does it but bam he’s got 20. He’s a pretty good player. With these current Warriors like Klay Thompson and Draymond, he will definitely play defense and being such a good athlete you know he’ll be good at it. Andrew Wiggins is no slouch. They’re not just going to throw him away. They’re lucky to have him. If they can improve the small forward position, they’ll do it. But how can you improve on Andrew Wiggins easily? It won’t be. He’s a top 30-40 player in the NBA.

        • Appalachian_Outlaw

          Well put, Gary. I see a lot of Wiggins trades thrown out, and most are built around GS just dumping the guy.

          I’m not a GS fan, by any means- but I’ll acknowledge they can identify talent. They took on D-lo, which wasn’t a great fit, because he was talented. They probably knew he’d be a chip they could use to get parts they DID need, because you can’t get parts without valuable chips.

          I can’t envision a scenario where they take an asset, package it with a pick, to take on a bunch of non-guarantees. To come out of that better than you were, you’d almost need to be certain of landing a top 10 player in FA. As Leonard proved, however, nothing is certain in that realm until the ink is dry.

          • x%sure

            Wiggins is fine, better than J’Lo and mostly a fit with GSW. But they only have 4 good players; they need depth and a center.
            Myers better have a move.

            • Warriors have options. They’ve got a top-five pick and that giant trade exception. I’m sure they’ll do something. Not sure if they’re going to keep Wiggins or trade him. Probably keep him because it’s tough to find somebody who’s better?

  5. Sillivan

    I’m concerned about this

    If Memphis led by 3 games on all 9 to 13 seeds

    5 play in tournaments would take 4 weeks, which is September

    Something unexpected happened

    Playoffs ends in March, March madness!

    • Luke Adams

      A play-in tournament won’t take more than two games — only the No. 9 seed would get to participate, even if the No. 10 team is within four games as well. (Frankly, the term “tournament” seems like an overstatement to me.)

      • phenomenalajs

        Are there tie-breakers if two or more teams are tied for the ninth seed and less than four games from 8th? I assume if one of the outsiders catches the eighth seed the play-in would be a true best of 3.

        • Luke Adams

          My assumption is that they’re the same tiebreakers that would be used if two teams finished a normal season tied for the eighth seed — Head-to-head record, divisional record, conference record, etc.

          As for the tournament, the NBA’s announcement said that it’ll be single-elimination for the No. 9 seed and double-elimination for No. 8. So if Portland, for instance, went 8-0 and passed Memphis for the No. 8 seed, the Blazers would only have to beat the Grizzlies once in a play-in. The Grizzlies would have to win twice.

          • phenomenalajs

            So the tie breakers would be for both the 8th and 9th seeds? My question was if they pass Memphis for 8th. My question was if they finish tied with Memphis for 8th. Would they use tie-breakers or just make it double-elimination for both since there wouldn’t be a 9th seed?

            • Luke Adams

              I don’t believe they’ve clarified that point yet — a straight best-of-three series would be fairest, but my best guess is that the usual end-of-season tiebreakers would be used to determine a No. 8 and No. 9 seed, and the No. 8 seed would still get the double-elimination advantage.

  6. seattlesuperfan

    It’s stupid it’s not just going straight to the playoffs but dame wanted to play and the nba wanted Zion

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