The 2015-2016 NBA regular season has come to a close, and more than half the league is preparing for the postseason. But a majority of the 14 remaining teams are looking ahead to the 2016 NBA Draft lottery to find out where they can select some of the best college and international players in the world.
This year, the Philadelphia Sixers have the best odds to win the lottery at 25 percent, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at 19.9, the Boston Celtics (via the Brooklyn Nets) at 15.6, the Phoenix Suns at 11.9, and the Minnesota Timberwolves at 8.8. Philadelphia could have the top overall selection for the first time since 1996, when it took recently elected Hall of Fame guard Allen Iverson No.1.
Every team eligible to win the lottery will hope and pray they can secure the No. 1 overall pick to choose 6-foot-10 LSU forward and consensus top prospect Ben Simmons. The Australian freshman spent one year in Baton Rouge, racking up 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists with two steals a game, earning first-team All-American honors. Simmons is considered one of the best prospects to enter the draft in years.
However, because of various trades and the lottery’s unpredictable nature, it’s highly unlikely the draft order will play out exactly as Philadelphia and other teams hope.
Philadelphia isn’t guaranteed the top selection and would be just the second team since 2004 to have the best odds and actually win the lottery. Last year, Minnesota had the strongest chance to win and did, selecting big man Karl-Anthony Towns out of Kentucky.
But back in 2014, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a mere 1.7 percent chance of winning and they jumped eight spots to leapfrog the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, and the Sixers.
Should the ping pong balls fall in their favor, the Sixers could have the No. 1 pick and another outside the top four. Thanks to the trade that sent now-retired point guard Steve Nash from Phoenix to Los Angeles, Philadelphia would receive the Lakers pick if that selections falls out of the top three.
Unlike the Lakers, the Nets first-round pick has no protections and the Celtics will likely exercise their option to swap with Brooklyn to potentially move into the top three.
The same goes for the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets. Following the 2011 trade that shipped Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York, the Nuggets hold the right to swap first-round selections with the Knicks and should likely do so since they have a mere 1.7 percent of winning the lottery, compared to New York’s 4.3 percent.
The lottery will be held and results announced on Tuesday, May 19, and the draft will take place Thursday, June 25 at the Barclays Center in New York.
Between those dates, players must enter the draft by April 26 but, due to a new rule change by the NCAA, players can wait until June 15 to withdraw and retain their college eligibility.
Each team's chances of winning the lottery are below.
Odds to win 2016 NBA Draft Lottery
No. 1 Philadelphia Sixers 25%
No. 2 Los Angeles Lakers 19.9%
No. 3 Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn Nets) 15.6%
No. 4 Phoenix Suns 11.9%
No. 5 Minnesota Timberwolves 8.8%
No. 6 New Orleans Pelicans 6.3%
No. 7 Denver Nuggets (from New York Knicks) 4.3%
No. 8 Toronto Raptors (from Denver Nuggets) 1.9%
No. 9 Sacramento Kings 1.9%
No. 10 Milwaukee Bucks 1.8%
No. 11 Orlando Magic 0.8%
No. 12 Utah Jazz 0.7%
No. 13 Phoenix Suns (from Washington Wizards) 0.6%
No. 14 Chicago Bulls 0.5%