2016 NBA Draft Lottery: Team Odds and Top Prospects
Round two of the 2015-16 NBA playoffs is more than underway, as we draw closer to another NBA champion being crowned. It could very well be the Golden State Warriors repeating, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally winning their first ever title, or a surprise team rising from the ashes.
For fans of the other 22 NBA teams that are no longer vying for the top prize, it really doesn’t matter. Instead, what really matters is devising a plan to become that next team that ascends the ranks and has a shot at winning an NBA championship.
Some teams don’t even have a head coach yet and it will be months before rosters are finalized. However, with the 2016 NBA Draft less than two full months away, the time is now to think about the future and what it could offer.
The path to the draft officially begins on Tuesday, May 19th, when the league holds it’s Draft Lottery. There the league will finally discover who gets the #1 pick and who follows within the first 14 Lottery slots. Just a month later, on June 25th, we will then get to see how the draft will unfold.
There is a lot of time for chatter, guesses and bold predictions until then, but with two weeks to go before the lottery becomes official, we thought taking a look at the odds.
Here’s a list of the odds for the 14 teams waiting on their draft fate going into May 19th:
- Philadelphia 76ers (25% chance to earn #1 pick)
- Los Angeles Lakers (19.9%)
- Boston Celtics (15.6%)
- Phoenix Suns (11.9%)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (8.8%)
- New Orleans Pelicans (6.3%)
- Denver Nuggets (4.3%)
- Toronto Raptors (1.9%)
- Sacramento Kings (1.9%)
- Milwaukee Bucks (1.8%)
- Orlando Magic (0.8%)
- Utah Jazz (0.7%)
- Phoenix Suns (0.6%)
- Chicago Bulls (0.5%)
We have seen teams with terrible odds somehow get the top pick, but barring something crazy, we’re very likely looking at the 76ers, Lakers, Celtics, Suns, Timberwolves, Pelicans or Nuggets getting the first pick in this year’s draft. Even out of that group, the Sixers, Lakers, Celtics and Suns obviously carry the best odds and one of those teams remain your best bet.
So, what happens if one of those top four teams get the first pick in the draft? Ben Simmons gets taken, most likely.
“NBA draft is coming. Is Ben Simmons going number one?”: https://t.co/gpq2k5CqzF
— Larry King (@kingsthings) May 5, 2016
There is also some debate around Duke swing man Brandon Ingram, but we can forget about Simmons’ lackluster season at LSU. The Tigers weren’t very good with him, but they haven’t been good in a long time, anyways. Simmons is a freak talent of the LeBron James variety and there’s little doubt he’s going to be the top pick.
Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston and Phoenix could all use a go-to star to lean on, so there’s not much reason to think they’d pass on such a rare talent. Even if it didn’t end up being Simmons, Ingram would be the next likely pick to go #1 overall.
Of course, there is always the chance neither fit in with what these teams are doing. The Lakers already suggested if they get the top pick, they’d consider trading it. Perhaps that’d be to get back to the playoffs quicker and net some useful veteran players. Who knows?
Beyond the Top Pick
The beauty of this year’s draft is that there really are two guys you could argue for the top spot. In addition, it’s a pretty loaded draft with some very interesting prospects that fared well during March Madness, as well as some stellar talent set to come in from overseas.
Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield is a lights out shooter and scorer and looks like a top-5 pick, while Dragan Bender is an overseas stud that could be a game-changer in the right situation. With Bender, NBA GMs will have to decide, is he the next Kristaps Porzingis, or is he the next Darko Milicic?
Need is going to dominate this draft from there, especially when you get to the middle rounds. Do teams with centers in place shoot for a big post-masher like Utah’s Jakob Poeltl, or do they bypass a solid talent to go after a bigger need, instead?
It’s going to be a very interesting draft, but until the official order is known, it could be difficult to assess who is going where and which teams are firmly interested in certain players. Keep an eye out for the official lottery and check back after May 19th as we start to hammer out our NBA draft player rankings and mock drafts.
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