The 2019-20 NBA season is suspended for, at least, 30 days as the impact of the coronavirus has hit the sports world hard this week. The future of the season is up in the air as no one knows when the league’s season will resume if it does at all. If the regular season is, in fact, over because of COVID-19 – even if the league ends up resuming its season but skipping straight to the playoffs – then the odds for the NBA draft lottery are already set. Here are the teams with the best odds to get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft if the regular season is over.
Warriors, Cavaliers, and Timberwolves have the best chances in the NBA draft lottery
Beginning last year, the NBA changed its lottery format as three teams have an equal chance to get the No. 1 overall pick. This year, if the regular season is over, then two of the three teams are squads that faced each other in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive time just two seasons ago. Those two teams are the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors, who have been without Steph Curry for most of the season and Klay Thompson for the entire season, have the worst record in the league this year as they are 15-50 overall. Right behind them are the Cleveland Cavaliers as the LeBron James-less Cavs continue to struggle without the king, sitting at 19-46. The Minnesota Timberwolves are a half-game behind the Cavs at 19-45.
With those three teams having the three worst records in the league, they each have a 14% chance to win the NBA draft lottery by getting the No. 1 overall pick.
Hawks have fourth-best shot at No.1 while the Pistons have fifth-best
The team with the fourth-worst record in the league is a young team that already has a young star in Trae Young. That team is, obviously, the Atlanta Hawks as they sit at 20-47. The current format gives the fourth-worst team a 12.5% chance to win the No. 1 overall pick.
While the Detroit Pistons have Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, Griffin has been hurt most of the season which has resulted in a lot of struggles for the Pistons this year. The Pistons are currently a half-game behind the Hawks with a 20-46 record. The fifth-worst team gets a 10.5% chance to get the No. 1 pick.
Knicks have sixth-best chance to win lottery
The New York Knicks seem to always be in the lottery. They missed out on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving last offseason and did not have a chance to draft Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, which has resulted in a 21-45 record. If the regular season is over, they have a 9% chance to win the No. 1 pick.
After the Knicks, the rest of the NBA draft lottery odds are as follows: 7. Chicago Bulls (7.5%), 8. Charlotte Hornets (6%), 9. Washington Wizards (4.5%), 10. Phoenix Suns (3%) 11. San Antonio Spurs (2%), 12. Sacramento Kings (just over 1%), New Orleans Pelicans (just over 1%), 14. Portland Trail Blazers (0.5%).
Lottery odds can still shake up
Since no one knows if the regular season is, in fact, over, there is a chance that the league could play some regular season games after its break. If that is the case, the lottery odds could shake up pretty easily.
The Hawks are just a half-game behind the Timberwolves for the third-worst record in the NBA. One game could increase the Hawks’ chances from 12.5% percent to 14%. Or in the other way, they are just a half-game in front of the Pistons for fourth, and one-and-a-half games in front of the Knicks. Just a couple of games could drop the Hawks from 12.5% to get the No. 1 pick to 9%.
Again, the future of this season is unclear. If the league does play regular season games then the NBA draft lottery odds can shake up drastically. However, if the regular season is over then the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Minnesota Timberwolves have the best shot at getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft.