Simulating the Draft Lottery 100 Times: Winners and Losers

We simulated the NBA Draft Lottery 100 times. Who were the biggest winners?

We’re now officially a few weeks past when the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery was originally supposed to take place. The league recently announced the Orlando “bubble” return to play, with news of when the NBA Draft, free agency, and the NBA Draft Lottery will take place came shortly after.

The new lottery is now scheduled to happen on August 25th, just over two months from now. In the meantime, we have our favorite off-season season friend, Tankathon, to play with.

Tankathon allows you to simulate the lottery with a click of a button with accurate, updated odds for each team. I do it three, maybe four times a day for fun, and recently I started a journey to run it 100 times.

When I did, I used Google Sheets to log my progress along the way. While no team won a huge amount of simulations, there were some clear winners and losers, which we’ll cover below before touching on the full data set.

Winner: Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks landed in the top-four 59 times in the experiment, tying Minnesota for the most wins of the first pick with 19. They’ll go into the real lottery with a 51.8 percent chance of landing outside the top-four but did so just 41 times in the simulations.

Loser: Golden State Warriors

Rough go for the team with the worst record in the league, with the Warriors winning the lottery just nine times. Worse, they settled for the fifth pick 55 times, which is the lowest possible they can go in August.

Winner: Phoenix Suns

The Suns have just a three percent chance of winning the lottery but did so four times in the sims, which is not bad at all.

Loser: Detroit Pistons

The Pistons finished with the league’s fifth-worst record and came away with a top-three pick just 26 times, falling outside the top-five on 66 occasions.

Winner: Minnesota Timberwolves

As mentioned, the T-Wolves tied with the Hawks for most first-pick finishes with 19. The rest of their finishes were not that great, but being tied for the most wins has to make you a winner.

Winner: Sacramento Kings

Small winner as they only won the lottery once, but did it with a 1.3 percent chance of doing so, which is worth a shoutout.

Full results:

Golden State Warriors

1st pick: 9

2nd pick: 14

3rd pick: 11

4th pick: 11

5th pick: 55

Cleveland Cavaliers

1st pick: 13
2nd pick: 14
3rd pick: 17
4th pick: 9
5th pick: 29
6th pick: 18

Minnesota Timberwolves

1st pick: 19
2nd pick: 12
3rd pick: 12
4th pick: 10
5th pick: 11
6th pick: 25
7th pick:11

Atlanta Hawks

1st pick: 19
2nd pick: 17
3rd pick: 9
4th pick: 14
5th pick: 4
6th pick: 20
7th pick:13
8th pick: 4

Detroit Pistons

1st pick: 10
2nd pick: 7
3rd pick: 9
4th pick: 10
5h pick: 1
6th pick: 29
7th pick: 25
8th pick: 8
9th pick: 1

New York Knicks

1st pick: 8
2nd pick: 8
3rd pick: 9
4th pick: 9
5th pick: 0
6th pick: 8
7th pick: 36
8th pick: 17
9th pick: 5

Chicago Bulls

1st pick:  6
2nd pick: 8
3rd pick: 9
4th pick: 12
5th pick: 0
6th pick: 0
7th pick: 15
8th pick: 37
9th pick: 13

Charlotte Hornets:

1st pick: 7
2nd pick: 10
3rd pick: 5
4th pick:10
5th-7th pick: 0
8th pick: 34
9th pick:27
10th pick: 7

Washington Wizards

1st pick: 4
2nd pick: 4
3rd pick: 7
4th pick: 4
5th-8th pick: 0
9th pick: 54
10th pick:
11th pick: 3

Phoenix Suns

1st pick: 4
2nd pick: 1
3rd pick: 5
4th pick: 1
5th-9th pick: 0
10th pick: 69
11th pick:18
12th pick: 2

San Antonio Spurs

1st pick: 0
2nd pick: 2
3rd pick: 3
4ht pick: 4
5-10th pick: 0
11th pick: 79
12th pick: 11
13th pick: 1

Related Story: Tyrese Maxey Scouting Report

Sacramento Kings

1st pick: 1
2nd pick: 1
3rd pick: 0
4th pick: 3
5th-11th pick: 0
12th pick: 87
13th pick: 8

New Orleans Pelicans

1st-2nd pick: 0
3rd pick: 4
4th pick: 3
5th-12th pick: 0
13th pick: 91
14th pick: 2

Portland Trailblazers

1st pick: 0

2nd pick: 2

3rd-13th pick: 0

14th pick: 98

Next: One Potential trade with each team this off-season

Who do you think will win the real NBA Draft Lottery in August?

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