NBA Draft Order 2020: Odds for Every Lottery Team to Land No. 1 PickMay 20, 2020
Though the NBA hopes to resume the 2019-20 season and crown a champion, about one-third of the league's 30 teams knows the playoffs are merely a dream.
And instead of hoping for a miracle, many fans of those organizations are looking ahead to the 2020 NBA draft. Big boards and mock drafts have surely become a favorite link to open, perhaps along with cracking open Tankathon to simulate the lottery.
Sure, the 18th randomization of the draft order probably isn't going to happen. Nevertheless, it's fun to dream about your favorite team securing the No. 1 pick.
We cannot predict how the lottery will shake out and whether a season resumption will affect the standings. The actual date of the lottery is still unknown, too.
What we do know, however, is the current odds for any of the 14 non-playoff teams to hold the first selection in the 2020 draft.
The best odds (14 percent each): Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves
In an effort to reduce tanking—losing as many games as possible to have a greater chance at a top draft pick—the NBA adjusted lottery odds in 2019.
Rather than the NBA's worst team holding the greatest chance at the first overall pick, the three worst teams have equal odds. As of today, that's the Warriors, Cavs and Timberwolves. (The remaining "advantage," per se, is Golden State can pick no worse than fifth, Cleveland sixth and Minnesota seventh).
Golden State mostly finds itself in this position because of injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Kevin Durant left in the offseason, but the Warriors likely would've been a playoff-caliber team if Curry and Thompson had been healthy.
Should they land the No. 1 pick, the Dubs are expected to consider trading the pick or drafting Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Other top prospects are American guard LaMelo Ball, Memphis center James Wiseman and French guard Killian Hayes.
Cleveland struggled mightily under new coach John Beilein, who ended up resigning in mid-February. Minnesota collapsed after a decent start, enduring two losing streaks of 11-plus games.
The next tier: Atlanta Hawks (12.5 percent), Detroit Pistons (10.5), New York Knicks (9), Chicago Bulls (7.5)
Following the above trio, each organization in this quartet has at least a 30 percent chance of landing a top-four pick.
Atlanta is hoping to build around All-Star guard Trae Young, and Detroit views Blake Griffin as the centerpiece. New York and Chicago don't necessarily have a featured player, though a section of Bulls' fans may tout Zach LaVine.
This group must be desperate to add a premier talent instead of holding yet another mid- to late-lottery pick.
Excluding trades, only the 2015 Knicks, 2018 Hawks, 2019 Knicks landed a top-six position in the last five drafts. However, the teams have combined for only five playoff appearances since 2016; it's a whole lot of no lottery luck for them.
But if that changes in 2020, this particular draft could be remembered as a spark for the fortunate team.
The long shots: Charlotte Hornets (6 percent), Washington Wizards (4.5), Phoenix Suns (3), San Antonio Spurs (2), Sacramento Kings (1.3), New Orleans Pelicans (1.2), Portland Trail Blazers (0.5)
Entering the 2018 NBA draft, none of the five "best" lottery teams had a chance greater than four percent at a top-three pick. Thanks to the NBA's tank-curbing changes, only the No. 14 team in the lottery is still below the mark.
The opposite end is substantially more exciting, too.
Charlotte (26.3 percent), Washington (20.3) and Phoenix (13.9) each have a respectable chance at a top-four selection. In 2018, the teams positioned 8-10 totaled a 20 percent top-three chance.
This entire group should feel optimistic. Last year, the Pelicans snatched the No. 1 pick with only six percent odds, and the Los Angeles Lakers rose from 11th to fourth—and ultimately traded that pick to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis deal.
San Antonio, Sacramento, New Orleans and Portland are more likely to stay put in the 11-14 range. However, it's no longer something to be said with extreme confidence.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.