Report: 2020 NBA Draft Lottery Expected to Use Same Odds Formula as Last Year

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum gets ready to announce the order of the picks during the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Associated Press

The NBA isn't planning to tweak the formula for the draft lottery odds, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.

The 2019-20 season remains incomplete due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving some to wonder how the draft will be impacted. Bontemps reported those inside the NBA are content that enough of the year has unfolded to provide an equitable picture as to the best and worst teams:  

"Executives brought up several potential reasons why the lottery wouldn't be tweaked because of the unusual circumstances the league finds itself in. One was the fact that every team in the league has already played somewhere between 63 and 67 games, or over 75 percent of its season -- a more than representative sample. Although things likely would have shifted around over the final few weeks of the regular season, there isn't a credible argument that there haven't been enough games played to fairly set the order."

The structure of a restarted season remains unclear. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the league is continuing to examine whether all 30 teams would be involved or if the NBA would instead stage a play-in tournament to finalize the 16-team postseason field.

The Golden State Warriors are the only team mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. A number of teams (among them the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns) are far enough back to think a top-eight push is all but impossible.

Even assuming the NBA were to skip ahead to the playoffs or have a limited number of teams take the court for the purposes of confirming the first-round matchups, Bontemps highlighted why changing the lottery is unnecessary.

The lottery form instituted with the 2019 draft also flattened the odds for the worst teams to end up with the No. 1 overall selection or land in the top four.

The Warriors own the league's worst record (15-50), but their chances of getting the top pick (14 percent) are equal to those of the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, per Tankathon.

There isn't a Zion Williamson-type player available this year, either, which will probably make it easier for teams to roll with whatever the NBA decides. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked LaMelo Ball as the No. 1 talent in his most recent big board.

The NBA postponed the draft lottery and scouting combine on May 1, and no makeup date has been announced.