The 2017 NBA Draft lottery gave us a few shocks Tuesday night. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers own the top two picks for the first time in league history, while several teams saw their future hopes fall apart on national television.
Here’s a look at the biggest losers from Tuesday night’s draft lottery.
The Philadelphia 76ers had a chance to potentially walk away with two top four picks in one of the deepest drafts in years. Instead, they landed the third pick, but only thanks to their ability to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings from a previous trade. The Kings’ pick had a 3.9 percent chance of landing at No. 3, but wound up paying off.
Philadelphia missed out on landing the Lakers top pick, as Los Angeles wound up at No. 2. Had that pick fallen out of the top three, the Sixers would have owned it thanks to the ill-fated Steve Nash trade. Now they get the Lakers 2018 first-round pick instead. Just so we’re clear, the 2018 draft is thought to be incredibly weak compared to this year’s.
The Orlando Magic entered this year’s lottery with the fifth-best odds, but actually wound up falling to the sixth pick. On top of that, because the Lakers landed in the top three and kept their pick, Orlando will miss out on getting the Lakers first-round pick in 2019. Instead the Magic will have to settle for a second-rounder in 2018.
On top of all that, pretty much everyone agrees this draft has five key players, so winding up with the sixth pick was going to be a real kick in the teeth for whichever team got it.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks finished the 2016-17 season with the seventh-worst record in the NBA, and the lottery did not help them out. They landed the eighth pick, despite having a 57.2 percent chance of just staying pat at No. 7. New York had just a 22.6 percent chance of falling to No. 8, yet it happened. Does anything go right for this franchise?
As noted with Orlando, anyone in the lottery who didn’t get a top five pick is missing out on a potential franchise-changing talent.
Oh the Suns…the poor, poor Phoenix Suns. They tanked hard all season and were not rewarded by the lottery gods. Karmic payback perhaps?
The Suns finished with the second-worst record in the league at 24-58 and tanked so well they actually fell behind the Lakers late in the year, increasing their odds. Well, sometimes tanking doesn’t pay. Phoenix wound up with the fourth pick in the draft, dropping two spots despite having the second-most lottery combinations available.
The Suns had a 19.9 percent chance at the top pick, and a 55.8 percent chance of staying in the top three, but it didn’t matter. Devin Booker and company will have to settle for the fourth pick this year.