Utah Jazz Fans Guide To NBA Draft Lottery

May 15, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: May 16, 2023, 4:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The NBA Draft lottery will be held on Tuesday night, and it has the potential to reshape the future of the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz are one of 14 teams hoping to move up in the lottery in hopes of drafting Victor Wembanyama who is widely accepted as the best prospect to enter the NBA since LeBron James.

With the draft lottery on the immediate horizon, let’s look at how it works and what it means for the Jazz.

Jazz Fans Guide To NBA Draft Lottery

First, let’s start with the Jazz performance during the 2022-23 season, and how that impacts their spot in the lottery.

In total, 14 teams will take part in the lottery, each of whom failed to qualify for the playoffs last season.

The Jazz went 37-45 last season, the ninth-worst in the NBA, and as a result, own the ninth-best odds of moving up in the lotto.

While some teams finished with a tied record in the lottery (see the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards) and will have to split their odds of moving up in the draft, the Jazz owned the ninth-worst record outright, and therefore won’t have to share their odds of climbing in the draft with any teams above, to below them.

How Far Can Jazz Climb In The Lottery?

The NBA instituted significant changes to the lottery in 2019, increasing the odds for teams ranked 5-14 to move up in the draft, and lowering the odds of the worst teams in the league being rewarded with a top draft pick.

Now, the top four spots in the draft are entirely decided by the drawing of lottery balls, with the odds of moving into the top four more even distributed 1-14.

The team with the worst record in the NBA, in this year’s case the Detroit Pistons, have a 52.1 percent chance of landing a top-four pick in the draft, and a 47.9 percent chance of drafting fifth.

However, their odds of winning the number one overall pick sit at just 14 percent, tied with teams who finished with the second and third-worst records, down from 25 percent prior to 2019.

Owning the ninth-worst record in the NBA, the Jazz will have a 20.2 percent chance of moving into the top four picks in the draft, a 50.8 percent chance of selecting ninth, and a 29 percent chance of getting jumped by at least one team ranked 10-14.

With the ninth-best odds of moving up in the lottery, the Jazz will have a 4.5 percent chance of winning the top pick, a 4.8 percent chance of winning the second pick, a 5.2 percent chance of winning the third pick, and a 5.7 percent chance of winning the fourth pick.

Is This A Good Draft For The Jazz?

With a generational talent at the top of the draft in Webanyama, all eyes will be on who lands the top overall pick on Tuesday night.

However, beyond the French phenom, there’s plenty of talent throughout the lottery regardless of where the Jazz wind up.

Currently, Wembanyama is the clear-cut favorite to go number one, and barring a significant injury ahead of the draft, will be the top pick.

Though Scoot Henderson of the G League Ignite was thought to be the consensus number two entering the season, Alabama freshman Brandon Miller has entered the conversation to be selected second overall, as has Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson.

After the top four picks, the draft opens up considerably with 10-15 names scattered throughout the second half of the lottery and through the late teens on most mock drafts.

Luckily for the Jazz, the talent in this draft matches their needs.

The lottery is deep with guards and wing players, positions where the Jazz lack depth, but lacks elite center play outside of Wembanyama.

With Walker Kessler looking like one of the more promising young centers in the NBA, the Jazz should have the ability to select the best player available wherever they wind up in the draft, while still addressing an area of need.

How Does The Actual Lottery Work?

Ahead of Tuesday night, the NBA will split 1,001 number combinations among the 14 teams in the draft lottery.

The league will then draw ping pong balls numbered 1-14 to create a four-digit combination that has been previously assigned to one of those lottery teams.

The team that matches the first four-digit combination will own the top overall pick. The league will then repeat that process three more times to determine who selects 2-4.

After the top four picks have been decided, the remaining teams will be slotted to draft in reverse order of the final NBA standings from the season.

For example, if Detroit, Houston, San Antonio, and Charlotte make up the top four picks, the Portland Trail Blazers, who owned the fifth-worst record in the NBA last season would be slotted fifth.

If the Trail Blazers were to jump into the top four picks via the lottery, whomever of the Pistons, Rockets, Spurs, or Hornets fell out of the top four would then be slotted fifth.

When Is The Draft Lottery?

The 2023 NBA Draft Lottery will be held Tuesday night in Chicago and air live at 6:00 p.m. MST on ESPN.

Guard Collin Sexton will represent on stage at the draft lottery.

Previously, the Jazz have made 10 picks in the lottery, and have only moved up in the process once. In 2011 the Jazz landed the third pick in the draft despite having the sixth-best odds in a selection owed to them from the New Jersey Nets.

The team would select Enes Kanter Freedom.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Utah Jazz Fans Guide To NBA Draft Lottery