Tank Watch 2014: Handicapping Likely Lottery Team Odds of Landing the No. 1 Pick

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Tank Watch 2014: Handicapping Likely Lottery Team Odds of Landing the No. 1 Pick
Chris Szagola

While the NBA’s upper crust busies itself in preparation for the playoffs, the 14 teams that fell short—or, in the case of the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, never got the memo on the season starting—will be setting their sights on what promises to be one of the deeper draft classes in recent memory.

The NBA’s draft lottery has seen a number of models over the years (Remember when we could all see the ping pong balls? That was fun), with the hope being that today’s version is truest to the delicate balance of need and luck.

There has, of course, been a growing chorus of voices bent on abolishing the current draft model, arguing it rewards losing and thus compromises the game’s very integrity.

Take this recent piece by Grantland’s Zach Lowe, who makes the case—first put forth by Boston Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren—for a new “draft wheel” designed to encourage both fairness and certainty:

But the best odds of snagging such a player lie in being very bad, getting some lottery luck, and drafting in one of the first two or three slots. That path is NOT a fail-safe, of course. The Bobcats tanked the 2011-12 lockout season and ended up with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist instead of Anthony Davis.

Until such measures are adopted, however, we’re forced to deal with what we have: A flawed system which, for all its faults and foibles, can still be a heck of a lot of fun.

With that, and with the help of our friends at Tankathon.com, let’s take a run through this year’s crop of lottery-bound teams to examine not only their current odds of landing the No. 1 pick, but how the NBA’s last week of games might hinder or help them. 

Helpful hint: A quick click on any team listed at Tankathon will bring you to a page detailing the team's prospects, pick origination (if applicable) and remaining schedule.


Please note: These numbers are current as of early Sunday, April 6. Therefore, depending on what happened during the night games, the odds may have changed.

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