We will know in 9 days how many lottery balls we will have for the May 21st Draft Lottery. Some teams have seperated themselves, and now the Hornets find themselves in a tier with Detroit and Sacramento fighting for the 5th, 6th, and 7th spots in the draft lottery. Detroit has 26 wins, while New Orleans and Sacramento each have 27. Now that we have a little better idea of where we are going to end up, let’s take a look at what it all means.
#1 Overall Pick
The Fifth Spot gives you a 8.8% chance at the pick
The Sixth Spot gives you a 6.3% chance at the pick.
The Seventh Spot gives you a 4.3% chance at the pick
Top 3 Pick
The Fifth Spot gives you a 29.2% chance of landing a top three pick
The Sixth Spot gives you a 21.5% chance of landing a top three pick
The Seventh Spot gives you a 15% chance of landing a top three pick
Falling in the Lotto
The Fifth Spot has a 44.8% chance of falling at least one position in the draft
The Sixth Spot has a 34.6% chance of falling at least one position in the draft
The Seventh Spot has a 25% chance of falling at least one position in the draft
What it All Means
The fifth position is pretty interesting because teams stay in that slot just 26% percent of the time. They are more likely to either move up or down than stay where they are. The sixth and seventh positions are a little different. The most likely outcome in those cases is that the Hornets would stay where they are. In all scenarios, however, it is very unlikely that the Hornets would fall more than one spot if they were to fall. There is about the same chance of falling two slots as there is of winning the lotto in each situation.
The fifth slot is the only slot out of the three that has a better than 50/50 chance of landing a top five pick (55.2%). This is significant because, as Ryan has pointed out on multiple occassions, a guy drafted in the top 5 is much more likely to be an ‘A’ or ‘B’ player than a guy taken 6-10. Also, from my perspective, there is a huge drop off after my top five prospects – Smart, Noel, Oladipo, Porter, and McLemore. I honestly have no idea who would be #6 for Dell after those guys and I have been tracking this all year. If you are in the 6th spot, you only have that same 21.5% chance of getting a top 5 pick, and the sixth slot has a 15% chance. That is where the huge difference lies in these three positions.
This will all come down to Wednesday night in my opinion when the Hornets go to Sacramento to play the Kings. Looking at the Kings schedule, it is hard to imagine them winning any game other than the Hornets one. New Orleans will be without Eric Gordon because it will be the second night of a back-to-back. Meanwhile, Detroit has a couple of easy games coming up, including Charlotte and Cleveland. They will also be playing a Nets team on the final night that will likely have nothing to play for and will be resting players. Bottom line, I expect the winner of the Hornets-Kings game to be in the 7th slot, the loser to be 5th. Big, big game.