Everything Timberwolves Fans Need to Know About Tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery


The NBA Draft Lottery is Thursday night and the Minnesota Timberwolves are tied with three other teams for the best odds to land the #1 overall pick. They, along with Golden State and Charlotte, have a 14% chance of holding the ace of October’s 2020 draft. All numbers come from NBA.com and Tankathon.com

How the NBA Draft Lottery Works and the changes made for the 2020 version (via NBA.com)

The NBA Board of Governors approved changes to the lottery system on Sept. 28, 2017.

Under the revamped format, the NBA Draft Lottery will ensure that the team with the worst record will receive no worse than the fifth pick. Under the pre-2019 system, the team with the worst record would pick no lower than fourth.

The new system will level the odds at the top of the NBA Draft Lottery so that the teams with the three worst regular-season records will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery. In the pre-2019 structure, the top seed had a 25 percent of winning the lottery, the second seed had a 19.9 percent and the third seed had a 15.6 percent.

The odds for the remaining participants in the 14-team lottery will be reduced gradually after the top three.  For instance, the difference in lottery odds between the first three seeds (14 percent) and the fourth seed (12.5 percent) will be 1.5 percent.  The difference between the fourth seed and the fifth seed (10.5 percent) will be 2 percent, and the difference between the fifth seed and the sixth seed (9 percent) will be 1.5 percent.

After drawings are conducted for the first four picks of the NBA Draft, the other lottery teams will continue to pick in inverse order of their regular-season record.

Realistic Expectations for Timberwolves Fans

The new lottery format benefits the Minnesota Timberwolves in one major way. The tie they currently hold for the best odds at landing #1, wouldn’t have happened under last year’s lottery format. For that, Wolves fans are grateful.

But if you look at the table above, the Wolves’ highest odds actually site with the #6 overall pick (26%). Falling that far down the board would surely send the fanbase into absolute panic and utter dismay.

So while we are all happy to share the best chance league-wide, at landing that top pick, having a 1/4 chance of falling back to #6 is just as scary. At 59.8%, the Wolves have a better chance at falling out of the top-3, than they do of staying in it (40.2%).

I want all of Wolves nation to remain excited for tonight… I just want everyone to know the realistic odds of Thursday’s NBA Draft Lottery. Keep your head and hopes held high… but remember, the NBA hates Minnesota.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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