The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery: Team Odds and Likely Scenarios
While the NBA conference finals are incredibly exciting - I mean, we have the two best players in the world, the best coach in the world, and the most confusing team in the world all still in it - half of the league is more interested in tonight, when many ping pong balls will decide fates of franchises and young men entering the draft this summer.
While it's up in the air whether this draft is as truly as loaded as everyone thought it would be prior to the 2013-2014 college basketball season, it's still incredibly deep. There seems to be three top guys - Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Joel Embiid - and after that, there are sound players throughout the lottery. The Phoenix Suns will likely get a guy at the 14th pick that easily would've been top-10 guy last year.
For some organizations, tonight is everything. There are rumors that Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota, but if they get a top-three pick (see the odds below), would Love possibly stay? New Orleans owes Philadelphia their 10th pick this year, but if it gets into the top five, they get to keep it. Would an Anthony Davis - Joel Embiid frontcourt be the most dominant in the league in a couple years? There is so much possibility, and so much hope. Where will your team land?
So here's a quick breakdown of each team and their odds to win the number one pick and score a top three selection. In addition, I've listed their biggest team needs, and what the most likely scenario will be for them on draft day. Let me know what you think in the comment section - what player do you want your team to get?
First Pick Odds: 25.0%
Top Three Odds: 64.24%
Team Needs: Talent at all positions
Most Likely Scenario: They get the top pick and draft Andrew Wiggins. They desperately need talent and will take the best available wherever they pick - with Larry Sanders' issues this year, Embiid could be in the running for them as well.
First Pick Odds: 19.9%
Top Three Odds: 55.8%
Team Needs: Small forward, power forward, shooting guard
Most Likely Scenario: They get to choose between the two best wing players in the draft - Parker and Wiggins. If they were both gone, I don't think Embiid would be a bad option, although the back injury might scare them after taking Nerlens Noel last year.
First Pick Odds: 15.6%
Top Three Odds: 46.89%
Team Needs: Point guard, talent
Most Likely Scenario: They get whoever is left of the Wiggins, Parker, and Embiid trio. Although the Magic desperately need a point guard, and have been rumored to be very interested in both Dante Exum and Marcus Smart, I doubt they would pass on the three above if they got the third pick.
First Pick Odds: 10.4%
Top Three Odds: 33.69%
Team Needs: Off guard, small forward, center
Most Likely Scenario: Obviously they would be ecstatic to score one of the top three guys listed above, but if they're at four, I think they will look at a power forward or a dual-threat guard. The possible guys that fit that mold the best are Dante Exum, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon.
First Pick Odds: 10.3%
Top Three Odds: 33.42%
Team Needs: Another guard, small forward, center
Most Likely Scenario: The Celtics might be in a weird spot here. If they're back at the fifth pick, likely all the best need fits for them will be gone. If Exum falls to five, I think he would be a good pick to go alongside Rajon Rondo. They already have Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, but might have to take Aaron Gordon or Julius Randle solely because of the value. They could reach a bit and grab Noah Vonleh to pair with Sullinger too.
Los Angeles Lakers
First Pick Odds: 6.3%
Top Three Odds: 21.49%
Team Needs: Big men
Most Likely Scenario: With the possibility that Pau Gasol could leave this offseason, the Lakers could be returning a starting frontcourt of Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill. For that reason, they'll likely look at the best available big man, be it Randle, Gordon, or Vonleh.
First Pick Odds: 4.3%
Top Three Odds: 15.02%
Team Needs: Another guard, big man
Most Likely Scenario: The Kings could definitely use another guard to play alongside Isaiah Thomas - Exum and Smart would both be interesting here, though Exum isn't likely to fall below the Lakers. The Kings could also use some spacing from their four spot, so Randle and Vonleh would be perfect if available. This might be the point McDermott would start getting looks.
First Pick Odds: 2.8%
Top Three Odds: 9.94%
Team Needs: Small forward, another guard
Most Likely Scenario: The Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond all-play-in-the-post experiment crashed and burned pretty miserably last year. The Pistons need some outside shooting and they need it bad. Scouts say that Dario Saric can play either forward spot and possibly let Josh Smith move in and out of those two positions as well. James Young out of Kentucky and Rodney Hood out of Duke could fill that role as well.
First Pick Odds: 1.7%
Top Three Odds: 6.11%
Team Needs: Forwards
Most Likely Scenario: Speaking of James Young, he would seemingly be a good fit here for the Cavs. With Luol Deng possibly leaving this summer, they'll need a perimeter wing player that can play some defense. But knowing the Cavs, they will probably win the lottery and take Anthony Bennett again.
Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans)
First Pick Odds: 1.1%
Top Three Odds: 3.98% (New Orleans keeps the pick if it's top-5)
Team Needs: See above
Most Likely Scenario: The 76ers are in a great spot for the future with a guaranteed top-four pick, this pick at 10, along with Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. If they get Parker or Wiggins with their first pick, I'd imagine they would go for the best talent available - be it Young, Ennis, or someone else. Stockpiling talent is always a good thing.
First Pick Odds: 0.8%
Top Three Odds: 2.90%
Team Needs: Another guard
Most Likely Scenario: The Nuggets have a lot of depth on their roster and are just a season removed from the third seed in the tough West. They had tough injury luck and will hopefully get key wings like Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari back for a full season. Because of their depth, the Nuggets will be looking at the best player available here and hoping some top-five player will drop for some reason.
Orlando Magic (from Denver via New York)
First Pick Odds: 0.7%
Top Three Odds: 2.54% (unprotected, but Denver gets the better of the two picks)
Team Needs: See above
Most Likely Scenario: The best possible draft for the Magic would be to grab one of the top three talents - Wiggins, Parker, or Embiid - and then address their most glaring need at point guard. If they got one of those guys and then had Tyler Ennis available to them at 12, Magic fans should be rejoicing.
First Pick Odds: 0.6%
Top Three Odds: 2.18%
Team Needs: Shooting
Most Likely Scenario: Other than Kevin Love, this Timberwolves team is returning very little shooting from their guard and wing positions. If they had a good knock-down shooter at the shooting guard or small forward spot, they likely would've made the playoffs. If Gary Harris, Rodney Hood, James Young, Nik Stauskas, or PJ Hairston are available here, they should all get hard looks by the Wolves.
First Pick Odds: 0.5%
Top Three Odds: 1.81%
Team Needs: Center, perimeter scoring and defending
Most Likely Scenario: The Suns could really use a rim protector, but it's doubtful that they'll find one at the 14th pick. At this point, there are several good perimeter scorers and defenders that would fit in alongside Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe - they could look at Kyle Anderson, James Young (if he falls), Rodney Hood, or TJ Warren.