5th, 6th, or 7th – What the Numbers Say About Where We Will Draft

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.

Looking Ahead

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.

22 responses to “5th, 6th, or 7th – What the Numbers Say About Where We Will Draft”

  1. It really bugs me how nervous im getting over these needed losses, saying to myself… “if only this shot didnt go in” or “that team’s player didn’t do that” Wanna get back to redirecting that anxiety towords playoff seeding like a couple of years ago. But gotta be patient 😉

    But hey just a question thats bigged me all year and i haven’t ever asked on here, if we didnt lose that coin toss to Cleveland would our ping pong balls have been switched and hence probably Lillard or Waiters would be our first piece right now? Or would we still have had the same combinations but just simply placed behind Cleveland in the lottery order?

    • I have a post coming out on the one year anniversary of the coin toss, but the short answer is No, we wouldnt have won the lotto. Cleveland would have had our balls, and we would have had theirs. Meaning, they would have Kyrie and AD right now and the Hornets would have probably drafted Thomas Robinson 4th

  2. Come onnnnnn 5th! Lol. If we don’t get to a certain spot in the draft, do you see us trading up to get someone if the Hornets really like someone?

    • Small jumps – from 6th to 3rd, 5th to 3rd, 4th to 2nd have happened quite frequently in the draft. I could see a scenario where we can move our pick and an asset or two or take a bad, but not horrible salary back to move up a few spots. Something like Greivis Vasquez and #6 for Quentin Richardson and #3 if Nerlens Noel is off the board when the Magic pick.

  3. The only teams in the lottery that don’t seem to be actively losing each game are New Orleans, Charlotte and Sacramento. So there is a chance that the best team wins tonight.

    Detroit and Phoenix have been in active and purposeful free fall for weeks, as has Cleveland.

    • Did you guys see the stories about Lawrence Frank ‘admitting’ his job is in jeopardy? Please. A PR stunt to throw those of us who see the tank of their trace.

      It is his second year helming a team that had two all-time albatross contracts. And he was a big hire, coming from a successful assistant gig.

  4. I just don’t understand why you guys are so fixated on “fixing” the point guard position when the wings on this team are so terrible. We rely too heavily on scoring from GV, AD and RA. Consistent scoring is the problem not defense. Grant it we do have Gordon, but with his glass body and pitch like rotation, I can’t wrap my head around why would we pass up on an elite SG/SF in the draft. In my opinion, the problem is that we are lacking a guy with size, athletism and ability to create his own shoot.

    It seems to me that the interest is more to getting rid of GV than to improve the team. I’m more interested in getting an elite athletic SG/SF like Ben McLemore, Shabazz Muhammad, Victor Oladipo or Otto Porter. Here’s food thought… what does it say about the defense of those so call elite PGs who have allowed GV to average a double double on them?

    • The logic is two-fold I believe. Number 1 – a great point guard makes the wings better and there are far more point guards that are attainable than LeBron’s or Melo’s or Wade’s. People always say you can win a title without a good point guard, but only if you can get a guy like that and guys like that arent available. Maybe Wiggins in 2014, but the Pelicans won’t be bad enough.

      Number 2 – People want to upgrade our defense at the point of attack. Opposing teams’ offenses usually are run by the point guard. A ballhawking PG helps your defense immensely.

      Lastly, to your point of “scoring is the problem, not defense” literally every single statistical measure would disagree with this statement.

      • What statistical measures are you using? Everything that I find says the Hornets were an average defensive team, which I can tell from watching the game. In fact, ESPN shows us as 14th in points allowed and 25th in points scored. What method are you using?

        And seriously, do you really think Aminu, Rivers or Henry could be better with a different PG??? From what I can tell it wasn’t who passed them the ball, it was that fact that those guys couldn’t play or shoot. IMO, Roger Mason was better suited. As least he could shoot.

        We need a wing with size and athleticism who can defend the wings of the league and create his on shot. This was the problem we had when CP3 and D-West were here. Our PG and PF shouldn’t be your go-to-guy.

      • ESPNs ranking does not adjust for pace. When you factor in the Hornets playing at basically the slowest pace in the league, it adds up to a well below average defense. Just look at per 100 possessions numbers for pace adjusted stats, which tell the real story.

      • Intersting… the Hornets’ offensive pace doesn’t seem to be slow. I guess I could understand if we had a dominant big man who required the ball to in the post that slows the pace. Ok. So what “statistical measures” are you using?

      • Pace is a statistical measure.

        Both teams have the same pace in a game.

        It is possession-based, not speed-up-the-floor-based. Offensive rebounds lengthen offensive possessions, so they slow pace.

      • It’s very simple. Offensive rating and defensive rating. The two most commonly used statistical measures. The Hornets rank 15th in offensive rating, 28th in defensive rating:


        They also rank 17th in offensive effective field goal percentage and 28th in defensive effective field goal percentage.

        They would be more fun to watch with exciting wing scorers, but all the data says that the defense is the area where this team is abysmal and needs drastic improvement.

    • All the mocks have us picking Smart even with the #1 choice… I am not sure the progress Rivers will make during the off season… He is a good passer and seems to be figuring out what’s going on.. The SF/SG option is the most important part of the puzzle and he has to be a shooter… Aminu needs a shot if he is going to develop one… Then Davis, Gordon, Vasquez, Mason and sometimes Lopez aren’t afraid to shoot… is it Coach or them…

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