Adrian Wojnarowski explains how Zion Williamson can actually make a lot of money by returning to play this season at Duke. 1 overall NBA draft prospect Zion Williamson is on. But this tankathon will be different from that of past seasons. This is the first year under the lottery reform rules passed in September 2017 — more of an incremental step to deter blatant tanking than a complete overhaul. Every loss at the bottom of the standings is now less valuable. Here’s how the new system works, which teams are in the best position entering March, the traded picks to watch and more draft intrigue.
The difference between finishing with the worst record and the third-worst record has shrunk. The bottom three teams have the same odds at both the No. The main difference: You’re more likely to fall out of the top five with a better record. The gap starts with the fourth-worst team, though the difference isn’t huge. The fourth-worst team can fall as far as No. 8, but on average that pick falls around No. The worst team has a 47.
9 percent chance to fall to No. The lowest a team could fall under the old system was No. 4, and there was just a 35. 7 percent chance of that happening. Though the expected picks for teams in the bottom half of the lottery moved up less than one pick — according to data from the NBA in a report by ESPN’s Zach Lowe — there’s inevitably going to be more random movement over time. Projecting the strength of any draft is challenging, but this is an interesting year to start having identical odds for the No. 1 pick and a top-four selection among the worst teams. Despite a lingering injury, Williamson is a runaway No.
And remember: We’re talking about much smaller differences in lottery odds between slots. If the Bulls finish fourth, they have a 12. 1 percent chance at a top-four pick. If they move up to third, those odds bump up by only 1. The Mavericks owe their pick to the Hawks if it falls outside the top five. If not conveyed, the pick remains top-five protected in 2020, falls to top-three protected until 2022 and becomes unprotected in 2023. Chances Dallas keeps its pick: 14. Chances Atlanta gets a top-10 pick from Dallas this year: 37. The Grizzlies owe their pick to the Celtics if it falls outside the top eight. If not conveyed, the pick falls to top-six protected in 2020 and then becomes unprotected in 2021.
Chances Memphis keeps its pick: 91. Chances Boston gets a top-10 pick from Memphis this year: 8. The Clippers owe their pick to the Celtics if it falls outside the lottery. If not conveyed, the pick remains lottery protected in 2020 and then converts to a 2022 second-round pick. Chances LA keeps its pick this year: 10. The Kings owe their pick to the Celtics unprotected, but the 76ers will get the selection if this becomes the No. In that scenario, Boston would get Philadelphia’s pick. Chances Sacramento is in the lottery: 88.
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