The NBA Draft Lottery airs Tuesday on ESPN, but the Sixers have an extremely narrow chance of landing the No. 1 pick, all but guaranteed to be Duke sensation Zion Williamson.
The Sixers will get the Sacramento Kings’ first round pick if the Kings end up with the No. 1 pick, thanks to the 2015 Nik Stauskas trade. But thanks to the Kings’ 39-43 regular-season record, the odds of Sacramento winning the lottery are just one percent. Otherwise, the Boston Celtics will end up with the Kings’ pick, thanks to the 2017 trade that allowed the Sixers to draft Markelle Fultz (who was traded this season to the Orlando Magic).
This season, the NBA Draft Lottery will include a major tweak — the first in 25 years — that the league’s Board of Governors put in place in an attempt to discourage teams like the Sixers from “tanking.”
Under the new system, the three teams with the worst records (this year it’s the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Phoenix Suns) each have a 14 percent chance of landing the top pick. Previously, the league’s worst team had a 25 percent shot at landing the first pick.
“There was a perception in many of our communities that the best path to rebuilding their teams was to race to the bottom,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in 2017, when the Board of Governors voted to change the rule. “To trade away otherwise very serviceable players and embark on a strategy that requires them to, in essence, field poor teams, I felt it was corrosive to this league.”
ESPN is also making a change to its telecast, returning the show to just 30 minutes after last year’s move to a full hour drew the lowest television ratings in a decade (and angered fans forced to wait 40 minutes before a single pick was revealed).
When: Tuesday, May 14
Host: Rachel Nichols
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Streaming: ESPN app (requires subscription), Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now (all require a subscription).
ESPN’s coverage will begin at 7 p.m. with NBA Countdown, with host Michelle Beadle and analysts Jalen Rose, Chauncey Billups, and Paul Pierce (who is still being mocked over his bad predictions).
At 8 p.m., a special edition of The Jump hosted by Rachel Nichols will precede the NBA Lottery. Nichols will be joined by a host of NBA analysts and writers, including Jay Bilas, Zach Lowe, Bobby Marks, and Adrian Wojnarowski.
Following the NBA Draft Lottery, ESPN will air Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Portland Trailblazers and the Golden State Warriors. Calling the games will be Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Doris Burke.
New York Knicks (17-65): 14 percent for No. 1 pick, 52.1 percent chance at top-four pick
Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63): 14 percent for No. 1 pick, 52.1 percent for top-four pick
Phoenix Suns (19-63): 14 percent for No. 1 pick, 52.1 percent for top-four pick
Chicago Bulls (22-60): 12.5 percent for No. 1 pick, 48 percent for top-four pick
Atlanta Hawks (29-53): 10.5 percent for No. 1 pick, 42.1 percent for top-four pick
Washington Wizards (32-50): 9 percent for No. 1 pick, 37.2 percent for top-four pick
New Orleans Pelicans (33-49): 6 percent for No. 1 pick, 36.3 percent for top-four pick
Dallas Mavericks (33-49): 6 percent for No. 1 pick, 36.3 percent for top-four pick (goes to the Atlanta Hawks if it falls outside the top 5)
Memphis Grizzlies (33-49): 6 percent for No. 1 pick, 36.3 percent for top-four pick (goes to the Celtics if it falls outside the top 8)
Minnesota Timberwolves (36-45): 3 percent for No. 1 pick, 13.9 percent for top-four pick
Los Angeles Lakers (37-45): 2 percent for No. 1 pick, 9.4 percent for top-four pick
Miami Heat (39-43): 1 percent for No. 1 pick, 4.8 percent for top-four pick
Charlotte Hornets (39-43): 1 percent for No. 1 pick, 4.8 percent for top-four pick