I wanted to know how often the worst team in the NBA has actually gotten the 1st pick in the draft and this is the info I found:
- Since 1994 (when the current system was set in place) only 2 teams that finished with the worst record actually got the first pick in the following draft. (Orlando in 2004, Cleveland in 2003) Still don’t think the NBA rigs these?
- The weighted system was actually changed in 1993 after the Orlando Magic won the lottery with the best record of the non playoff teams.
- The Chicago Bulls won the lottery in 2008 with a 1.7% chance and drafted Derrick Rose.
- The worst team has drafted (since 1994) 1st: 10% (2 out of 20) 2nd: 40% (8 times) 3rd: 25% (5 times) 4th: 25% (5 times)
- The team with the third worst record has ended up with the number one pick 30% of the time.
- The team with the 5th worst record has ended up with the number one pick 20% of the time.
- The number one pick has landed outside the 5 worst teams 25% of the time.
- Statistically the 2nd worst team has won the lottery only once (Philadelphia 76ers in 1996)
- To end up with the worst record only gives teams a 50% chance of getting a top 2 pick. (based on the past 20 years)
- Based on the likelihood of current projections for the season the Celtics will end with the third worst record and be the lottery winners followed by the 5th worst Philadelphia 76ers and the Jazz would end up with the third pick with the worst record.
The only good thing about finishing with the worst record is it guarantees you a top 4 pick. Outside of that being the worst; the Jazz could pass 2-4 teams and still get into the top 3 statistically well, based on the past 20 years. The good news is if the Jazz finish with the worst record they are guaranteed Parker, Wiggins, Randle or Exum. All of these players are projected superstars.
Info gathered from NBA.com, ESPN.com, Realgm.com, wikipedia