NBA Draft Order 2020: Updated Lottery Odds Entering Postseason

Jake RillSenior Writer IAugust 17, 2020

LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks brings the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The playoffs have arrived, and not only does that mean the path for 16 teams to vie for an NBA title is underway, but also that the draft is getting closer. But first, the order will have to be set for the first 14 picks at the draft lottery, which is set to take place Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Like much of the sports world, the NBA draft was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, getting pushed back from its usual June date. Now, it is set to take place Oct. 16. And while that's nearly two months away, it will be easier to project who teams may consider drafting once the first-round order is finalized.

For the Nos. 15-60 picks in the two-round draft, the order is set by regular-season record. So, some teams already know when they'll first be on the clock come October.

Here's a look at the odds for each of the 14 teams in the lottery, as well as the order for the last 16 picks of the opening round of this year's draft.


Odds of Landing No. 1 Pick

Golden State Warriors: 14 percent

Cleveland Cavaliers: 14 percent

Minnesota Timberwolves: 14 percent

Atlanta Hawks: 12.5 percent

Detroit Pistons: 10.5 percent

New York Knicks: 9 percent

Chicago Bulls: 7.5 percent

Charlotte Hornets: 6 percent

Washington Wizards: 4.5 percent

Phoenix Suns: 3 percent

San Antonio Spurs: 2 percent

New Orleans Pelicans: 1.3 percent

Sacramento Kings: 1.2 percent

Memphis Grizzlies: 0.5 percent


Non-Lottery Draft Order

15. Orlando Magic

16. Portland Trail Blazers

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets)

18. Dallas Mavericks

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers)

20. Miami Heat

21. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets)

22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder)

23. Utah Jazz

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers)

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets)

26. Boston Celtics

27. New York Knicks (via Los Angeles Clippers)

28. Los Angeles Lakers

29. Toronto Raptors

30. Boston Celtics (via Milwaukee Bucks)


Draft Lottery Preview

Last year, when the New Orleans Pelicans won the No. 1 pick at the draft lottery, it was obvious who they would take. Zion Williamson was the clear top prospect in the 2019 draft class, and he could be a superstar player for them for years to come.

The decision won't be as easy for whichever team ends up with the top selection this year, though. Players such as Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards, Memphis center James Wiseman and point guard LaMelo Ball, who played in Australia last year, all have cases to be the first player drafted. Plus, there are other strong prospects close to that top tier, as well as the potential of trading the pick.

"For some teams, Edwards' combination of physical tools and scoring instincts give him the highest ceiling," ESPN's Mike Schmitz wrote. "For others, Wiseman's elite measurables, rare agility, defensive upside and budding offensive skill set are too tantalizing to pass on. For me, LaMelo Ball is the best talent with the most star power as an ultra-creative 6'7" point guard."

It will be interesting to see what the Warriors decide to do in this year's draft. As the team that had the worst regular-season record in the NBA, Golden State is guaranteed of having a top-five pick. And with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all in their lineup (when healthy), it could quickly return to contender status in 2020-21.

Golden State will be looking to land the No. 1 pick for the first time since 1995, when it drafted Maryland forward Joe Smith with the top selection.

Prior to the 2019 draft, the NBA changed the lottery odds to give the three worst teams equal 14 percent chances of getting the No. 1 pick. So, the Cavaliers and Timberwolves now have just as good of odds of getting the selection as the Warriors.

This will be the fifth time since 2013 that Cleveland will have a top-10 pick. It had the No. 1 selection in both 2013 and 2014, selecting UNLV forward Anthony Bennett and Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, neither of whom are still on the team.

Minnesota will own a top-seven pick for the fifth time in the past six years. It last had the No. 1 selection in 2015, when it drafted Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns.

Of course, there's no guarantee that one of these three teams gets the No. 1 pick, as a surprise team could get lucky and land the top selection. That, along with the lack of a consensus top prospect, should make this year's draft one of the more exciting ones in years.