Twenty days ago, we took a look at the status of the Lakers pick on a whim (specifically because it had fallen to the #2 spot) and broke own what those odds meant for the Sixers’ chances at getting the pick this year. Just shy of three weeks later, the Lakers are currently in the #6 or #7 spot. They have the same record as Memphis, and both Orlando and Atlanta have the same 2nd-worst record. The Lakers may be sitting at #7 right now, but they are just 3 games out of the #2 spot and 4 games out of the league’s worst record. At the same time, they’re closer to #12 than #1.
If you want the pick this season, I have some fantastic news. If the current situation holds, and the Lakers lose the coin toss to Memphis to sit in the #7 spot, the Sixers have an 87% chance of keeping the pick, via Lottery Bucket. Exciting right? Kinda. There is just a 5.3% chance the Lakers pick ends up at #1 in the Sixers’ hands. It’s most likely to stay at #7 (57.3%), or slip to #8 (22.6%) than anything else. In fact, it’s more likely to end up with Boston at #2 (6%) or #3 (6.95%) than with the Sixers in the top spot.
If the situation holds but the Lakers win the coin flip to take the #6 spot, the odds change a little, but not a ton. The Sixers become less likely to keep the pick overall, but have a better chance at #1. It’s still lower than Boston’s chances at #2 and #3 and #6 is most likely, though lower than 44%. Or, more simply:
If you don’t want the Lakers pick this season and would rather take the Kings in 2019, there’s some good news for you as well. Sacramento has claimed the #1 spot after losing 9 of their last 10. They have just a one game lead on that spot, and Orlando has won only 2 of their last 10, but it’s a good look for the Sixers.
But if the Sixers keep the Lakers pick this year, the question shifts. If that’s the case, we can only get the Kings pick if it’s #1 next year too, since they’re going to be worse than the Sixers. Teams don’t typically end up in the #1 spot two years in a row. But there is a bright side.
Since 2007, the team that won the lottery only exited it the next year three times (and once was because Cleveland got LeBron back). The average position of the lottery winning team in their next season—if they made the lottery—was 6.7, and it was once won from the #9 and #13 spots. But what if the Kings end up with the worst record but don’t win the lottery this year? Those teams have only exited the lottery twice and the average position their next season was 4.5. However, since 2007, no team has had the worst record in the NBA, not won the lottery, and then received the #1 pick the next year. It’s all a complex mish-mash of whatever, but we won’t even have to worry about it if Boston gets the Lakers pick this year.
The Sixers also hold four second rounders in this draft; one being their own and the other three coming from the Brandon Davies, Arnett Moultrie, and Shawn Long trades.
Also a reminder: Next year’s lottery is the first year of the passed reform. Currently, the top four teams have a 25%, 19.9%, 15.6%, and 11.9% chance at the top pick respectively. Next season, the top three will all have a 14% chance, with the 4th seed getting a 12.5% chance.