The NBA Draft Lottery airs Tuesday on ESPN, but it won’t matter much for Sixers fans.
The Sixers will end up with the No. 28 pick in the first round thanks to their 49-23 record, which was tops in the Eastern Conference and the third-best in the NBA. Only the 14 teams that did not make the playoffs are eligible for the lottery.
The Sixers do own the New York Knick’s second-round pick thanks to a trade back in 2015 by former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, among the team’s last picks as part of “The Process” put in place to acquire assets and push the team to the Eastern Conference finals. But thanks to the Knick’s strong season, that will end up being the No. 50 pick.
Three teams each have a 14% shot at landing the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft — the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and Orlando Magic. That’s thanks to a tweak put in place back in 2019 that gives the three teams with the worst records an equal shot at winning the top pick, an attempt by the league’s Board of Governors to discourage teams like the Sixers from “tanking.”
Previously, the team with the worst record in the league had a 25% chance of landing the top pick, which the Sixers did twice in recent years, selecting Ben Simmons in 2016 and Markelle Fultz in 2017.
“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.”
The actual NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, July 29.
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2019 NBA Draft Lottery
When: Tuesday, June 22
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Host: Rachel Nichols
Time: 8:30 p.m.
Streaming: ESPN+ (requires subscription), fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, AT&T Now (all require a subscription), ESPN app (requires cable authentication)
ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Draft Lottery will begin around 8:30 p.m. Coverage will be hosted by Rachel Nichols, who will be joined remotely by NBA analysts Jay Bilas and Richard Jefferson. Senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski will contribute to the show from Phoenix.
The network has decided to keep the show to just 30 minutes, after an hour-long program in 2018 drew the lowest television ratings in a decade (and angered fans forced to wait 40 minutes before a single pick was revealed). The NBA Draft Lottery drew 4.42 million viewers for ESPN in 2019, but in 2020 drew just 2.25 million viewers, according to Sports Media Watch, due in part to calendar adjustments and low interest during the pandemic.
Following the NBA Draft Lottery, ESPN will air Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns. The Suns currently lead the series 1-0.
NBA Draft Lottery odds
Houston Rockets: 14% chance for No. 1 pick, 52.1% chance at top four pick.
Detroit Pistons: 14% chance for No. 1 pick, 52.1% chance at top four pick.
Orlando Magic: 14% chance for No. 1 pick, 52.1% chance at top four pick.
Oklahoma City Thunder: 11.5% chance for No. 1 pick, 45.1% chance at top four pick.
Cleveland Cavaliers: 11.5% chance for No. 1 pick. 45.1% chance at top four pick.
Minnesota Timberwolves: 9% chance for No. 1 pick, 37.2% chance at top four pick.
Toronto Raptors: 7.5% chance for No. 1 pick, 31.9% chance at top four pick.
Chicago Bulls: 4.5% chance for No. 1 pick, 20.3% chance at top four pick.
Sacramento Kings: 4.5% chance for No. 1 pick, 20.3% chance at top four pick.
New Orleans Pelicans: 4.5% chance for No. 1 pick, 20.3% chance at top four pick.
Charlotte Hornets: 1.8% chance for No. 1 pick, 8.5% chance at top four pick.
San Antonio Spurs: 1.7% chance for No. 1 pick, 8% chance at top four pick.
Indiana Pacers: 1% chance for No. 1 pick, 4.8% chance at top four pick.
Golden State Warriors: 0.5% chance for No. 1 pick, 2.4% chance at top four pick.