Throughout the 2020/21 NBA season, Hoops Rumors is maintaining a feature that allows you to keep an eye on the tentative 2021 draft order. Our 2020/21 Reverse Standings tool, which lists the NBA’s 30 teams from worst to first, is updated daily to reflect the outcomes of the previous night’s games.
Our Reverse Standings are essentially a reflection of what 2021’s draft order would look like with no changes to lottery position. We’ve noted each club’s odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick, based on the league’s current lottery format.
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In instances where two non-playoff teams or two playoff teams have identical records, the order in our standings isn’t necessarily definitive — for draft purposes, the NBA breaks ties via random drawings, so those drawings would happen at the end of the year.
Of course, the 14 non-playoff teams all draft before the 16 playoff teams, even if some non-playoff teams have better records than those that made the postseason. Our reverse standings account for playoff seeding, though for now they assume that the Nos. 7 and 8 teams in each conference will earn those final two postseason spots. Since the NBA’s new play-in format opens the door for the Nos. 9 and 10 seeds to sneak into the postseason, we may have to account for a little movement in the draft order at season’s end.
Traded first-round picks are included via footnotes. For example, the note next to Golden State’s pick says the Warriors will send their pick to the Thunder if it’s not in the top 20. As of today, the Warriors’ pick projects to be exactly 20th, meaning that pick wouldn’t change hands.
The Timberwolves are currently in the driver’s seat at the “top” of our reverse standings — their 7-25 record giving them a 2.5-game cushion on the second-worst team, the 9-22 Pistons, with the 11-21 Cavaliers up next. It will be interesting to see whether that race tightens now that Chris Finch has taken the head coaching reins from Ryan Saunders in Minnesota.
Although the league’s bottom three teams will all have an equal chance at the No. 1 overall pick (14.0%) and a top-four selection (52.1%), finishing atop the reverse standings would still benefit the Wolves — the NBA’s worst team can’t fall further than the No. 5 pick, while the third-worst team could end up selecting as low as No. 7.
The Rockets‘ and Thunder‘s spots in the reverse standings are also worth keeping an eye on over the course of the year. Oklahoma City has the ability to swap first-round picks with Houston, but only if the Rockets’ pick doesn’t land in the top four. Currently, Houston is tied for the NBA’s fourth-worst record, while the Thunder are tied for the league’s sixth-worst mark.
Our Reverse Standings tracker can be found at anytime on the right sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features” on our desktop site, or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu. It’s a great resource not just for monitoring a team’s draft position, but also for keeping an eye on whether or not traded picks with protections will be changing hands in 2021. So be sure to check back often as the season progresses!
Note: Mobile users are advised to turn their phones sideways when viewing the Reverse Standings in order to see team records and lottery odds.