With Thursday night’s lottery results now official, the top 14 picks in the 2020 NBA draft have been set. The lottery order is as follows:
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Golden State Warriors
- Charlotte Hornets
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Atlanta Hawks
- Detroit Pistons
- New York Knicks
- Washington Wizards
- Phoenix Suns
- San Antonio Spurs
- Sacramento Kings
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Boston Celtics (from Memphis Grizzlies)
The Timberwolves, who entered the lottery with a 14.0% shot at the No. 1 overall pick, will get the opportunity to add a top prospect to a core that already includes D’Angelo Russell – the team’s draft representative on Thursday – and Karl-Anthony Towns, who is a former No. 1 pick himself.
Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas will face a fascinating decision with the No. 1 pick, since the 2020 draft class has no consensus top prospect — Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball, and Obi Toppin are among the players expected to receive consideration at the top of the draft board. With Russell and Towns as anchors, some of those players look like better fits than others for Minnesota.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to land the first overall pick in this year’s draft, marking only the second time in franchise history,” Rosas said in a statement. “We are excited for the possibilities ahead of us to bring in a high caliber player now that we secured the first overall selection. As a front office, we are proud of what we’ve built here in Minnesota so far and we are looking forward to continuing to build upon that foundation in this year’s draft.”
The Warriors, who were tied with the Wolves for the lottery’s best odds, claim the No. 2 pick, which will give president of basketball operations Bob Myers and his team plenty of options this offseason. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson coming back from injuries, Golden State hopes to return to contention in 2020/21, so the club is expected to consider trading its lottery pick for immediate help if a favorable deal arises.
The Hornets and Bulls entered the lottery with the eighth- and seventh-best odds, so they got lucky in moving up to No. 3 and 4, respectively. Charlotte had a 6.7% shot at the No. 3 pick, while Chicago’s odds for No. 4 were 8.5%.
Charlotte is in rebuilding mode and president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak has repeatedly stated that the club will prioritize adding the best player available rather than focusing on a specific need. New Bulls executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has expressed a similar sentiment, and is in position to put a stamp on the franchise with a top-four pick in his first year on the job.
The Cavaliers are perhaps the biggest loser of the night, having slipped from second in the lottery standings to fifth. This will be the second consecutive year in which Cleveland has had the No. 5 overall pick — the club will look to add to a young core that features Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
The Hawks, Pistons, and Knicks each slid two spots in the lottery to Nos. 6, 7, and 8, respectively. Those picks will represent the first draft picks for new Detroit general manager Troy Weaver and New York’s new president of basketball operations Leon Rose.
The remaining lottery selections – for the six lottery teams who were part of the NBA’s summer restart in Orlando – played out as expected. However, the Wizards‘ fate is worth noting — they technically finished with the league’s eighth-worst record, but were locked into the No. 9 spot in the lottery standings because the eight teams not invited to Orlando were assigned the top eight spots.
If the order had instead been based on records after the summer seeding games and the Wizards had entered the evening at No. 8 in the lottery standings, it would’ve been Washington – not Charlotte – that moved up to claim the third overall pick.
Assuming it’s not postponed again, the 2020 NBA draft will take place on October 16. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams are expected to have to make their picks without having evaluated any prospects in person for the last few months.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.