A Look Ahead to the Lottery

Given the unmanageable amount of Timberwolves news flooding our inboxes, it was quite easy to convince myself to post a brief rundown on the Wolves’ current lottery status…..an entire month early. Yes folks, the NBA Draft Lottery will not take place until May 19th.  And while 15 other teams (consisting oddly of many former Wolves players (typical)) are waiting to get thrashed by Wally Szczerbiak, Joe Smith and the Cleveland Cavaliers, us ‘Sota fans have nothing to do but bask in speculation and uncertainty as we move towards lotto land and a new GM.

For those who can’t get enough Wolves, click “read more” to learn who we, based on extremely advanced statistical evaluation, are most likely to draft in June.

For those readers who don’t understand how the draft lottery works, the Cliff Notes are this: Each NBA team that did not make the playoffs is sorted in ascending order by winning percentage. The worst team gets the 1st pick, 2nd worst gets the 2nd pick, etc. The Wolves finished 5th to last as a result of winning a coin toss with Memphis, who we tied this season. However, the top 3 draft picks are determined by a lottery, of which the final winning percentage determines your odds of winning the lottery. Worse record = higher chance of winning the lottery. This concept is supposed to “prevent” teams from tanking (but still fails miserably in that capacity, see: Heat, 2008 Miami; Wizards, 2009 Washington) and securing a guaranteed top 3 pick. Pretty simple.

Here is a table showing the Wolves mathematical odds of securing each pick. Keep in mind the Wolves could move back from the 5th pick if a team with a worse position than us wins a top 3 pick in the lottery:


Pick 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
% Chance 7.6% 8.4% 9.5% N/A 26.3% 38.5% 9.3% 0.4%


A few simple observations: The Wolves cannot end up with pick 4, have a 25.5% chance of moving to the top 3 and are statistically most likely to pick 6…. by a long shot. The Haters are off to a great start to 2010. However, this outcome is not acceptable, and when there is no Wolves news, what better thing to do than speculate about future speculation?….?

I took these odds to the streets by using Chad Ford’s handy dandy draft lottery simulator a grand total of 50 times (it didn’t take that long I swear). Below are my results:


Pick # Times/50 % Chance
1 10 20%
2 3 6%
3 12 24%
4 N/A N/A
5 10 20%
6 11 22%
7 4 8%
8 0 0%


Player Times/50 %Chance
DeMar Derozan 13 26%
Hasheem Thabeet 12 24%
Blake Griffin 10 20%
Jrue Holiday(WTF?) 6 12%
James Harden 6 12%
Ricky Rubio 3 6%









I will note that there is no way Jrue Holiday goes anywhere near the lottery, so you can expect a player more along the lines of Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry or Jordan Hill at this spot. No clue what Chad Ford’s intern/minion Chad Ford is thinking here putting a projected late 2010 first rounder  in the top 7 of the 2009 draft.

So it looks like DeMar DeRozan is likely a Wolf if the draft were today. But of course, the draft is months away, so we will keep you updated as things come along. For now, concentrate on watching the myriad of ex-Wolves lead their teams into the playoffs.

The quality of the draft and who we should select, however, is also a debate for another day, and a debate that will be recycled on this front page diligently come draft time. If you want to get in on the draft chatter and speculation two months early like the rest of us sick diehards, hit up the TwolvesBlog Forums. You will find no shortage of fine draft debate. As Don Overbeck would say, “Innnncccreeedible!”  











About wallyworld

Mike has been writing for TWB as a hobby since the Kahn era, and currently resides in a Dallas suburb where he can often be heard loudly arguing with his neighbors about his strong dislike for JJ Barea. When not working, Mike enjoys playing the drums and pretending to like other sports.