The biggest NBA Draft lottery in years will take place Tuesday night before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Nuggets. The Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs all have an equal 14% chance of winning the lottery and the chance to select generational prospect Victor Wembanyama at No. 1 in next month’s draft. At DraftKings, each of this trio is priced at +550 to win the lottery, which equates to 15.4%.
NBA teams tank every year, but many haven’t even bothered to hide it in 2023 because 7-foot-4 Frenchman Wembanyama is seen as perhaps the most unique prospect (he can dribble and shoot like a keeper) to enter the league and its most touted since LeBron James was chosen first overall by Cleveland in 2003. Wembanyama will not be in attendance for the lottery as his French team, Boulogne-Levallois, has a game Tuesday. It will be a little after 2 a.m. Wednesday in Paris when the results are announced.
DK lists Wembanyama as the -20,000 favorite to be picked first on June 22. In the past 30 seasons, there are only three No. 1 overall picks who have won a championship with the team that drafted them. James is one.
Since the NBA changed the lottery system in 2019, one of the teams with a top-three chance has won three out of four times, with the exception coming in 19 when New Orleans jumped six places to No. No. 1 and took on Zion Williamson. Over the past three years, clubs with the third-worst (Minnesota in 2020), second-worst (Detroit in 2021), and second-worst record (Orlando in 2022) have won it. The Magic took Duke forward Paolo Banchero to No. 1 overall last year and he won Rookie of the Year.
Wembanyama will be the heavy favorite for next season’s edition of this award, and whichever team wins it will be widely featured on national television in the 2023-24 season – likely including the season opener.
Houston last won the toss in 2002 and took Chinese center Yao Ming – a good choice. Detroit won it in 2021 and selected Cade Cunningham. Also probably a good choice, even though Cunningham missed most of last season through injury. Spurs haven’t won the lottery since 1997, when they won future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan first overall. No French player has gone first.
The “consolation” prize for the team that finishes second in the lottery would likely be either G-League keeper Scoot Henderson (-220 as the No. 2 pick), who would be the first pick most other years. , being Alabama’s Brandon Miller (+160), the 2022-23 SEC Freshman and Player of the Year. Whichever one of them doesn’t go second should go third and then there’s a bit of a drop.
Draft Lottery DK ping pong odds/percentages
(Mavs pick in New York if not top 10; Bulls pick in Orlando if not top 4)
- Detroit Pistons (+550) – 14%
- San Antonio Spurs (+550) – 14%
- Houston Rockets (+550) – 14%
- Charlotte Hornets (+650) – 12.5%
- Portland Trail Blazers (+800) – 10.5%
- Orlando Magic (+900) – 9%
- Wizards of Washington (+1200) – 6.8%
- Indiana Pacers (+1200) – 6.7%
- Utah Jazz (+1,800) – 4.5%
- Dallas Mavericks (+2800) – 3%
- Chicago Bulls (+4500) – 1.8%
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+4500) – 1.7%
- Toronto Raptors (+8000) – 1%
- New Orleans Pelicans (+16,000) – 0.5%
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