NBA Draft Order 2021: Latest Lottery Odds Before Regular Season Ends

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 16, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker, left, shoots as Houston Rockets forward Kelly Olynyk defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Playoff positions are not the only thing being contested for on the final day of the NBA regular season. 

There is a fight at the bottom of the standings between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic to earn the third-worst record in the league. 

The three worst teams in the NBA all earn the same odds to land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft lottery. 

The Houston Rockets locked up one of those three positions with the league's worst record at 17-54. Their position will not change on Sunday.

Detroit is in good position to secure the top-three odds since it is one game in front of the Thunder and Magic for the second-worst mark. 

None of the teams at the bottom of the standings are expected to win on Sunday, so Oklahoma City may edge out Orlando in the fight for a better chance to land Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham.


Current NBA Draft Lottery Odds

1. Houston (17-54; 14 percent)

2. Detroit (20-51; 14%)

3. Oklahoma City (21-50; 13.3%)

4. Orlando (21-50; 13.2%)

5. Golden State (from Minnesota) (22-49; 9.8%)

6. Cleveland (22-49; 9.7%)

7. Toronto (27-44; 7.5%)

8. Orlando (from Chicago) (30-41; 6%)

9. New Orleans (31-40; 3.8%)

10. Sacramento (31-40; 3.7%)

Current order via Tankathon.com


The four worst teams in the NBA all have something in common.

Houston, Detroit, Oklahoma City and Orlando executed trades that significantly weakened their respective rosters and triggered new rebuilds. 

Houston tore apart the roster that once had James Harden and Russell Westbrook and pieced together a group that was nowhere close to good enough this season. 

The Rockets have three wins in their last 15 games and could pick up one more victory on Sunday depending on the Atlanta Hawks' playoff situation. If the New York Knicks lose earlier in the day, Atlanta will be playing for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

Houston does not have to worry about an unexpected win hurting its draft status since it is already assured of 14 percent odds to land the top pick. 

Detroit shipped off Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin and has rested its top players over the last few games to ensure it has one of the three worst records. 

That plan worked to perfection since the Pistons have one fewer win than Oklahoma City and Orlando and are not expected to beat the Miami Heat on Sunday. 

It seems like Oklahoma City has collected more draft picks than wins during its trading frenzy this season. Chris Paul, Kelly Oubre and Jrue Holiday are among the players dealt by the Thunder recently.

The Thunder's full tank will not be complete without earning a top-three position in the draft order, which appears attainable with the Los Angeles Clippers on deck Sunday. 

Oklahoma City has a single win in April and May to put it in its current spot. It has a better chance to lose on Sunday since Orlando, who had a full exodus at the trade deadline, will likely face Philadelphia's backups. The 76ers clinched the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed against the Magic on Friday. 

When Sunday's games ends, we will know how the top 10 lottery odds will be distributed. A total of 14 teams will be entered into the lottery. The final four participants will be the losers of the play-in tournament that begins on Monday.