After shipping off James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets early in the 2020-21 regular season, the Houston Rockets finished with the worst record in the league (17-55), granting them the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Yet just because they own the best odds doesn’t automatically mean they’ll end up picking first overall. Since the lottery odds have been flattened as part of a reformatted system put in place three years ago, two teams have jumped ahead of the team owning the best odds to land the No. 1 pick in the draft. The New Orleans Pelicans did it in 2019, and the Minnesota Timberwolves did so in 2020. So we’ll have to wait and find out what happens at Tuesday’s annual NBA Draft Lottery at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The Rockets have 14 percent odds of winning the rights to draft No. 1 overall, the same as the Detroit Pistons (20-52) and Orlando Magic (21-51). The flattened odds are part of a reformatted, flattened lottery system in place for the third consecutive season, replacing the old system in which 25 percent odds were given to the team with the worst record. The remaining 11 lottery teams have decreasing odds all the way down to 0.5 percent.
Below is everything you need to know ahead of Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery.
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When: Tuesday, June 21, 8:30 p.m. ETTV: ESPN | Streaming: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds to get No. 1 pick
In the flattened lottery system, the odds of a team moving up outside the top three — as compared to year’s past — is higher. But it’s still relatively low, considering the chances the top three worst-record teams each has 14 percent odds, accounting for 42 percent of the total odds to win the No. 1 slot.
Will the Rockets, Pistons or Magic be the lucky franchise to draft first overall? We’ll find out what happens soon.