The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery was conducted on Thursday Night, and is officially off the schedule after a 3-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although it wasn’t like any lottery we’ve seen in the past, it took place with representatives video conferencing in from their homes as the year keeps presenting us the unexpected.
Towing the line of the unexpected, there were a few surprises in this year’s lottery, such as the Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls jumping into the top four, and the poor New York Knicks landing the No. 8 pick after having the sixth-best odds at the top prize.
The Timberwolves won the lottery on Thursday night, giving them the No 1 pick but they weren’t the only big winner of the night. Golden State holds the No 2 pick, Charlotte got the No 3 pick and Chicago pick fourth. The Hornets and Bulls both bucked some odds to move into the upper echelon.
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Here’s a look at a few winners and losers from Thursday’s NBA Draft Lottery.
2020 NBA Draft Lottery
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
2. Golden State Warriors
3. Charlotte Hornets
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. Detroit Pistons
8. New York Knicks
9. Washington Wizards
10. Phoenix Suns
11. San Antonio Spurs
12. Sacramento Kings
13. New Orleans Pelicans
14. Boston Celtics (from Memphis)
The Wolves, who traded for D’Angelo Russell, who is not only good friends with franchise cornerstone Karl-Anthony Towns, but also fits perfectly alongside him as a pick-and-roll partner and 3-point shooter avoided falling prey during the Andrew Wiggins era. Along with the Warriors and Cavs, Minnesota had the best chance of landing the top pick, and now there are plenty of options available for Gersson Rosas and the Timberwolves front office.
The Timberwolves will certainly explore trade possibilities since there are reportedly many teams in love with Ball who might be willing to give the Wolves an established wing (who might actually play some defense) in return.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors got the No. 2 pick which essentially serves the same purpose as being top pick during the draft. The Golden State Warriors will look to shop this pick in search of another championship, packaging it for a superstar or multiple players who can contribute right away.
Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball are the consensus top two in the draft, so there’s a strong chance that a team picking lower down will be willing to cough up an asset in order to draft one of them at No. 2. After losing Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston last season, they are in desperate need of capable two-way wings and will look to target that type of player in the trade market.
Team president, Bob Myers, already said he is looking for a player who can contribute now as well as help build for the future, therefore he likely won’t take a more raw prospect like Ball or James Wiseman but might go for Edwards who seem like the best fit. He’s already a refined scorer who has an NBA-ready body and can play the wing. Even if they can’t pull off a blockbuster deal, the Warriors may still consider trading down if Edwards is taken with the top pick.
The Hornets lost Kemba Walker to Boston Celtics to free agency and have exceeded expectations this season by winning 23 games through mid-March.
Ending up in the lower draft position in what was supposed to be a tank year was supposed to be the downside to their season, but lo and behold they ended up with the No. 3 pick.
They, however, have a host of promising young talents led by Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, and PJ Washington, so adding another top-three prospect might make their climb back to the playoffs shorter than expected.
A case could be made for the Bulls who were (sort of) in the playoff race this season in the East, therefore, it’s a bonus for them to jump to No. 4.
They’ve undergone massive changes in the front office, sacking coach Jim Boylen this offseason, and nothing gets an organisation back on track like a high draft pick when done in the proper manner.
The Bulls have a lot of young talent with Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr., but they’ve yet to translate it to wins. Securing the No. 4 pick gives them the option to draft another young player or package the pick with one of the assets new management.
The Cavs had the second-worst record in the NBA this season and still don’t look to have a future superstar in the mix despite that Collin Sexton made a significant leap and Kevin Porter Jr. showed intriguing flashes this season.
A top-three pick might have gotten one for them, but they won’t get that chance after falling to No. 5 at the draft pick.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are unlucky yet again even though they had more than double the chances of picking eighth than they did picking in the top six, but that’s not what New York fans want to hear right now. Last year’s dreams of pairing Zion Williamson with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving quickly went down the drain on lottery night, and this year, any hopes of landing LaMelo Ball or another top prospect have been dashed as well unless they choose to part with an asset via trade. Even point guard De’Aaron Fox, who represented the Kings at the lottery, joined in on the schadenfreude of Knicks misery on Twitter.
The Knicks still haven’t had a No. 1 overall pick since they selected Patrick Ewing in 1985, and they’ll have to hope that whoever they come away with this year works out better than recent lottery picks Kevin Knox (No. 8) and Frank Ntilikina (No. 9).
The Pistons had the fifth-best chance of landing the No. 1 pick but instead unluckily ended up at No. 7, where it will be hard to find the potential superstar the roster so desperately needs.
With Blake Griffin’s health issues and a lack of young talent, the Pistons could be looking at a long and arduous rebuild.