With the 2015 NBA Draft order yet to be determined, a few of the league’s most popular teams are in play to land the No.1 overall pick. While the final 16 picks are already set, the first 14 selections will be decided on Tuesday, May 19 during the NBA Draft Lottery.
Every team that didn’t make the playoffs is eligible to get the first pick in the draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves and their league-worst 16-66 record have a 25 percent chance of getting the top spot. The odds for the other 13 teams continue to decrease, and the teams with the worst records have the best chance of winning the lottery.
The New York Knicks are hoping to repeat the results of the 1985 Draft Lottery. New York won the right to draft Patrick Ewing 30 years ago, and they’re hoping to get the draft’s top big man 30 years later. The Knicks were the league’s worst team for much of the season, but three wins in their final six games gave them 17 total victories and a 19.9 percent chance to get the No.1 pick.
Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor from Duke are in contention to become the top pick in the draft. Okafor was the No.1 prospect heading into the 2014-2015 college basketball season, and he was the nation’s top freshman with 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Towns didn’t put up as impressive numbers, but his superior ability on the defensive end has made him the favorite to be picked first.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the draft lottery for a second consecutive year, following their worst winning percentage in franchise history. L.A. will lose their selection, however, if it doesn’t fall within the top five. The pick would go to the Philadelphia 76ers, giving them two picks in the top half of the first round. Philadelphia could get a third first-round pick if the Miami Heat don't end up with a top 10 pick.
If the Timberwolves win the lottery, they will end up with the No.1 overall selection from each of the last three years. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery in 2013 and 2014, taking Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins with the two selections. Both players were traded to Minnesota for Kevin Love last summer. Wiggins is the likely NBA Rookie of the Year winner, while Love could be out for the rest of the playoffs with a shoulder injury.
Minnesota is in the lottery for an 11th straight season, while the Sacramento Kings have a chance to get the top pick for a ninth consecutive year. Neither team has won the lottery during that span, though Sacramento won the lottery in 1989, taking Pervis Ellison with the top pick.
The NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, June 25. The team that finished with the NBA’s worst record hasn’t gotten the No.1 pick since the Orlando Magic selected Dwight Howard in 2004.
Below are the 2015 lottery teams, their record and their chances of winning the top pick.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves 16-66 25.0%
2. New York Knicks 17-65 19.9%
3. Philadelphia Sixers 18-64 15.6%
4. Los Angeles Lakers 21-61 11.9%
5. Orlando Magic 25-57 8.8%
6. Sacramento Kings 29-53 6.3%
7. Denver Nuggets 30-52 4.3%
8. Detroit Pistons 32-50 2.8%
9. Charlotte Hornets 33-49 1.7%
10. Miami Heat 37-45 1.1%
11. Indiana Pacers 38-44 0.8%
12. Utah Jazz 38-44 0.7%
13. Phoenix Suns 39-43 0.6%
14. Oklahoma City Thunder 45-37 0.5%