Wolves Still Tied for NBA’s Best Odds of #1 Pick After Win vs Pelicans… but Barely

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) hugs Minnesota Timberwolves forward James Johnson after an NBA basketball game at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The Pelicans were ahead of the Timberwolves until the last quarter. The Timberwolves defeated the Pelicans, 139-134. STAFF PHOTO BY SOPHIA GERMER

If you missed the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, let me catch you up on some changes. In an effort to reduce tanking, the NBA changed the odds at getting the #1 pick pretty drastically. From 2005 to 2018, the odds of winning the draft lottery were as follows:

NBA Draft Lottery Odds, 2005-2018:

  1. 25%
  2. 19.9%
  3. 15.6%
  4. 11.9%
  5. 8.8%
  6. 6.3%
  7. ……….through #14 cont.

But starting in 2019, the top-3 picks got the same % chance of winning the #1 pick, and the precipitous drop is much less steep thereafter. I broke it down a bit on Twitter this morning. Currently, the Timberwolves sit at the #3 spot in the lottery, barely hanging onto a cut of those top odds.

NBA Draft Lottery Odds, 2019-Present:

  1. 14%
  2. 14%
  3. 14%
  4. 12.5%
  5. 10.5%
  6. 9%
  7. 6.8%
  8. 6.7%
  9. 4.5%
  10. 3%
  11. ……….through #14 cont.


I hope this helps people see what I am talking about, when calling for the Timberwolves to tank for months, now. If the season ended today, we’d be tied for the highest chance of any team in the league (14%), at immediately making our team better with the #1 pick in the NBA Draft.

However, if the Wolves were to win their next two games, they could fall all the way to the 8th position in the lottery… which has a 6.7% chance at the #1 pick.

I know losing sucks and I know people don’t want to feel guilty for soaking in a win here and there…. but we are so close to the end of this piece of shit season, that falling down the draft board now would the biggest letdown of the year.

Seriously, there are only 20 games of torture left to this season. We are already here… why not just ride it out for the rest of these games? The light is at the end of the tank tunnel. If you don’t want the #1 pick, let’s think about what it could do for us in a trade package….

To keep the tank in place, I would strongly advise the Wolves front office to keep KAT out for the rest of this season, and also announce they will do the same with D-Lo. Russell has dealt with nagging injuries too and both are young. It won’t be difficult to sell their rest to the league. Just don’t be obvious enough to get fined again.

As far as selling it to KAT and D-Lo…. just show them the math. They are a part of this future, too. This season is lost whether they ride it out or not. What do they want the future to look like?

For fans, you can wait until next season to get excited for Timberwolves basketball again… OR you can get excited about the possibilities of the #1 pick immediately after the season ends (2020 Draft Lottery is held on May 19).

The Wolves can make up for last night’s win, by losing tonight vs Chicago. Looking forward to the NO/CHI game back-to-back, I thought the Wolves might win one of these two games… I just didn’t think it would be vs NO.

So, go get it back tonight. The future of this franchise could be depending on it.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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