Cleveland got the fifth pick, followed by the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans. Boston holds the No. 14 spot by virtue of a 2015 trade with Memphis, meaning the Celtics now hold three first-round picks.
Teams now have a few weeks to negotiate trades and package picks before the draft, with a potentially long offseason to follow. The NBA had been tentatively eyeing Dec. 1 as a potential start date for the 2020-21 season but during ESPN’s lottery broadcast Thursday, Commissioner Adam Silver said that date is now “feeling a little bit early to me.”
“Our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas,” Silver said.
The timing of the lottery and its isolated setting weren’t the only major changes to the event. This year’s odds were determined using team records through March 11, the day the NBA shut down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. It led to a few wonky scenarios — the Wizards could have been in Charlotte’s No. 8 spot, as they held the eighth-worst winning percentage in the league when their season ended — but teams voted on adjusting the lottery rules as part of the creation of the league’s Florida bubble.
As for the non-lottery teams, draft selections 15-60 are determined by regular season records, with teams lining up in reverse order.
Unlike last year’s draft with Zion Williamson, there is no consensus No. 1 pick in 2020. NBA teams are working with much less information on prospects than they usually have because of the cancellation of college postseason tournaments; teams also haven’t been able to bring any prospects in for in-person interview or workouts. Everything has been done virtually.
Aside from that, this year’s draft class looked fairly open even before the coronavirus arrived in the United States. The top tier of prospects include James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 center who decided to leave Memphis after playing in three games following a controversial NCAA eligibility ruling; Anthony Edwards, an explosive, 19-year-old guard out of Georgia; Obi Toppin, the late-blooming, scoring machine from Dayton; and LaMelo Ball, the 6-foot-7 point guard who (along with his father, Lavar) decided to eschew college basketball altogether.
Other names to look out for when the draft rolls along in October are Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, Auburn’s Issac Okoro and USC’s Onyeka Okongwu.
Odds at No. 1 pick
1. Minnesota Timberwolves (19-45)
2. Golden State Warriors (15-50)
3. Charlotte Hornets (23-42)
4. Chicago Bulls (22-43)
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46)
6. Atlanta Hawks (20-47)
7. Detroit Pistons (20-46)
8. New York Knicks
9. Washington Wizards (25-47)
10. Phoenix Suns (34-39)
11. San Antonio Spurs (32-39)
12. Sacramento Kings (31-41)
13. New Orleans Pelicans (30-42)
14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies)
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