NBA Draft Lottery 2020: Predictions, Updated Standings for No. 1 Pick

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

Anthony Edwards
Anthony EdwardsJeff Roberson/Associated Press

As the NBA seeding schedule winds down, a few teams are still battling for playoff spots. Others, however, are waiting to see how things unfold in order to get an idea of their draft lottery odds. This is especially true for the eight teams who weren't invited to the restart bubble.

Therefore, the seeding for the bottom eight teams is set, and they're simply waiting for the draft lottery—which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25—to arrive. The full list of teams currently in contention for a lottery pick is as follows, in order of best to worst odds of landing the No. 1 selection.


Current Draft Lottery Odds

1. Golden State Warriors: 14 percent odds

2. Cleveland Cavaliers: 14 percent

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: 14 percent

4. Atlanta Hawks: 12.5 percent

5. Detroit Pistons: 10.5 percent

6. New York Knicks: 9.0 percent

7. Chicago Bulls: 7.5 percent

8. Washington Wizards: 6.0 percent

9. Charlotte Hornets: 4.5 percent

10. Sacramento Kings: 3 percent

11. New Orleans Pelicans: 2 percent

12. Phoenix Suns

13. San Antonio Spurs

14. Portland Trail Blazers

15. Memphis Grizzlies

*Phoenix, San Antonio, Portland and Memphis are still alive for the postseason.


Nuccio DiNuzzo/Associated Press

How The Lottery Works

The lottery is determined by a series of numbered balls that make up a total of 1,000 possible combinations. The three teams with the worst record in the NBA are assigned an equal 140 number combinations, a practice used to discourage tanking for the worst record in the league.

The other 11 non-playoff teams are assigned combinations based on their final seeding, in reverse order. The fourth-worst team is given 125 combinations, the fifth-worst team is given 105 combinations and so on.

The first team outside of the playoff mix receives a mere five combinations, making it doubly painful to barely miss out on the postseason.

Once the top four draft spots are drawn via the lottery, teams are assigned picks in reverse order of their standing. Therefore, the Golden State Warriors can draft no lower than fifth overall, even if they miss out on a high lottery pick.


Mock Draft Predictions, Round 1

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton 

4. New York Knicks: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks

5. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

6. Detroit Pistons: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

7. Chicago Bulls: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

8. Washington Wizards: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova

9. Charlotte Hornets: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

10.  Sacramento Kings: Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (projected trade)

11. New Orleans Pelicans: Onyeka Okongwu, PF, USC 

12. Phoenix Suns: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

13. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

14. Portland Trail Blazers:  RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

15. Orlando Magic: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona 

16. Boston Celtics (from Memphis): Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn): Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington

18. Dallas Mavericks: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

19. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia): Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

20. Miami Heat: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos

21. Utah Jazz: Leandro Bolmaro, SF, FC Barcelona

22. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana): Jaden McDaniels, SF/PF, Washington

23. Philadelphia 76rs (from OKC): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

24. Denver Nuggets (from Houston: Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C, Duke

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver): Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

26. Boston Celtics: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

27. New York Knicks (from LAC): Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland

28. Toronto Raptors: Tre Jones, PG, Duke

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee): Grant Riller, PG, Charleston

*Records and a spin of Tankathon's Lottery Simulator used to determine draft order.


In this simulation, the Minnesota Timberwolves land the top pick and go with Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards. While Edwards is not regarded as a "safe" prospect—few players in this draft are—he is an intriguing option because of his physical upside and scoring potential.

"Not being able to see him in an NBA structure offensively or defensively is a red flag." one unnamed college coach said of Edwards, per The Athletic's Sam Vecenie. "But that being said, his pure talent, athleticism, shooting ability, it’s off the charts to me. "

With the second pick here, the Golden State Warriors take Memphis center James Wiseman. They could use an interior defender and a bit of size on the roster to complement the outside shooting of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

Wiseman is a player who has reportedly intrigued the Warriors.

"They still hope to be involved in some sort of a draft combine and, if permitted, have several top prospects come to their facility for a private workout," The Athletic's Anthony Slater wrote. "Wiseman is high atop the list of guys they’d want to scrutinize in person."

Wiseman only played in three college games, so an in-person look is warranted. If Golden State likes what it sees, though, he could potentially be a long-term replacement for Draymond Green.

The Cleveland Cavaliers snag the third lottery pick in this mock and also take a big man, Dayton's Obi Toppin.

While Edwards and Wiseman are both viewed as risky prospects, Toppin is as NBA ready as anyone in this draft class.

"I can see him being a very impactful player early in his career," one coach told Vecenie. "If he falls to the late lottery and falls to a team that is really well set up, I can see him being really, really good early in his career."

Cleveland does the safe thing here and takes Toppin over intriguing point guard LaMelo Ball. This leaves Ball to land with the New York Knicks, a team Ball has been rumored to want to join.

The big thing to keep in mind is that there is no consensus top prospect in this draft. Teams' desires will likely change as they do more homework, and there's a good chance that at least one lottery team tries trading out of the top four entirely.