NBA draft lottery deep dive

The 2019 NBA draft comes with the debut of new odds throughout the lottery (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) — giving more teams a reasonable chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick and a chance to select consensus top prospect Zion Williamson.

There are huge stakes throughout the lottery. Landing No. 1 could completely change a franchise. There will be a debate at No. 2 between Murray State’s Ja Morant and Duke’s RJ Barrett, and team fit could ultimately settle things. Multiple teams in the lottery are holding on to protected or traded picks. And, of course, teams jumping up in the lottery could swing Anthony Davis trade talks.

Here’s everything you need to know before the big draw Tuesday night.

More: Mock draft | Top 100 prospects | Traded picks

Lottery odds

Here are the odds for each lottery team’s selection heading into the draw:

2019 NBA draft position odds

TeamExp. Pos.No. 1 (%)Top 3 (%)Top 5 (%)Top 10 (%)
*Protected or traded pick

The NBA now draws the top four picks through the lottery instead of the top three, with the teams’ chances of a winning selection flattened.

Here’s an overview of the new odds for the 14 lottery slots compared to the old ones:

Some key insights to know:

  • The difference between finishing with the worst record and the third-worst record has shrunk. The bottom three teams have the same odds at both the No. 1 pick (14 percent) and staying in the top four (12 percent).
  • The gap starts with the fourth-worst team, though the difference isn’t huge. The fourth-worst team can fall as far as No. 8, but on average that pick lands around No. 4 or 5.
  • The worst team has a 47.9 percent chance to fall to No. 5. The lowest a team could fall under the old system was No. 4, and there was just a 35.7 percent chance of that happening.
  • Look at the middle of the lottery: Teams with the sixth- through ninth-worst records have (in some cases) doubled their chances of landing in the top five.


The traded picks

There are three protected or traded picks to know about in the lottery, along with projections from ESPN’s Basketball Power Index on where they land:


The Mavericks owe their pick to the Hawks if it falls outside the top five. If not conveyed, the pick remains top-five protected in 2020, falls to top-three protected until 2022 and becomes unprotected in 2023.


The Grizzlies owe their pick to the Celtics if it falls outside the top eight. If not conveyed, the pick falls to top-six protected in 2020 and then becomes unprotected in 2021.


The Kings owe their pick to the Celtics unprotected, but the 76ers will get the selection if this becomes the No. 1 pick. In that scenario, Boston would get Philadelphia’s pick.


Top prospects and mock draft projections

Zion is the clear No. 1 overall player. But which prospects will make up the rest of the lottery?

Here’s the top 14, based on intel and scouting from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz.

New 2019 lottery odds (vs. previous odds)

1. Zion WilliamsonDukeF6-6272
2. Ja MorantMurray StateG6-3170
3. RJ BarrettDukeG6-7208
4. Darius GarlandVanderbiltG6-3173
5. De’Andre HunterVirginiaF6-8222
6. Jarrett CulverTexas TechG6-5190
7. Cam ReddishDukeF6-9205
8. Sekou DoumbouyaLimogesF6-9210
9. Jaxson HayesTexasC6-11220
10. Coby WhiteUNCG6-5191
11. Romeo LangfordIndianaF6-6202
12. Brandon ClarkeGonzagaF/C6-8210
13. Bol BolOregonC7-2222
14. Kevin Porter Jr.USCG6-6217


Get to know Zion

The education of Zion Williamson
His dunks inspire awe, his all-around game will make him millions. But to understand his legend, you have to go back to the place where it all started. Mina Kimes spends a day in Spartanburg, South Carolina.


A visit to Spartanburg, South Carolina, the hometown that knew and raised Zion

Ranking the best fits for ZionInsider
Which teams have the best chance to maximize Williamson’s star potential? Four of our NBA experts rank each team with a chance to land the No. 1 pick based on how likely they are to help Zion reach his superstar ceiling.


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