NBA Draft Lottery: Winners and Losers as Draft Order Is Set

Few nights hold as much promise and hope as NBA Draft Lottery night. Historically, teams in the lottery have often endured a dismal season and look to a high draft pick as the turning point for their fortunes.

However, while that is definitely the case for some—think of Philadelphia over the last few years and of Cleveland in 2003—other teams suffer further disappointment in the lottery and this year was no different.

Here are the three main winners and the three major losers from yesterday's draft lottery.

Winner – Phoenix Suns

The Suns went 21-61 this season, registering the worst record in the league as they tanked with admirable dedication. Their efforts gave them a 25 percent chance to land the first overall pick and that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday night.

Barring a trade of enormous proportions, Phoenix will choose first for the first time in its history, and it will be interesting to see who they pick in what is considered to be a top-heavy draft class.

Winner – Sacramento Kings

In a season during which teams fell over themselves to tank, the Kings looked to have not done enough. Sacramento went 27-55 and had the seventh-best lottery odds and just a six percent chance of landing the second pick.

It proved to be enough as the Kings will now choose at number two, their highest position since they made Pervis Ellison the overall number one pick in 1989. The Kings will hope whoever they choose will go on to have a better career than Ellison, who was plagued by injuries throughout his 11 years in the NBA.

Winner – Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers have mopped up lottery picks over the last couple of years and The Process delivered a first trip to the playoffs in six years this season. Philadelphia landed the number 10 pick in the lottery, a selection which was conveyed to Pennsylvania via the Los Angeles Lakers, dating all the way back to the Michael Carter-Williams trade in 2015.

That means Philadelphia now has six draft picks on its hands – number 10 and 26 in the first round and number 38, 39, 56 and 60 in the second round. Having been chosen in the top three for the last four drafts, expect the Sixers to add further talent to their exciting young core.

Loser – Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks thought they had done enough to land a high pick in the lottery. Dallas went 24-58 this season, its worst record since 1998-99 and even saw its owner fined for suggesting the team needed to tank.

Dallas had the third best odds going into the lottery but landed the number five pick, which left Dirk Nowitzki ruing his franchise’s rotten luck.

As the tweet below shows, the Mavs have precedent when it comes to being disappointed in the lottery.

Loser – Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis had the second-best chance of securing the first overall pick and the second-best chance of landing a top-three pick. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, they will pick at number four, the final disappointment of a season that saw them lose 60 games.

Theoretically, this year’s draft has enough talent to ensure Memphis could get its hands on an exciting prospect even when picking outside the top three, but the sense of disappointment will likely linger for a while in Tennessee.

Loser – Cleveland Cavaliers

Down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals, it is fair to say the Cavs have more pressing matters to deal with than the draft lottery, but it’s hard to argue Cleveland wasn’t left disappointed.

The Cavs acquired the Brooklyn Nets’ pick in the trade that took Kyrie Irving to Boston and would have likely hoped for a higher pick but will have to make do with the eighth overall pick. While that was in line with the odds, the Cavs could have done with a slice of luck ahead of what could be a momentous summer for them, with LeBron James likely to explore his options in the market.

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