One of the most fun and inexplicably significant nights of the NBA calendar is upon us: the 2021 draft lottery.
1001 lottery balls will decide the fate of Cade Cunningham and the franchise lucky enough to win the No. 1 pick and thus the right to select the league’s next game-changing superstar. It’s a ridiculous tradition, and one that I enjoy tremendously because of how seriously half of the league’s executives have to take the machinations of ping pong balls.
The Clippers, of course, will not be participating in the lottery as they are a playoff team, and because the majority of their first-round picks for the foreseeable future are in the hands of the OKC Thunder. No matter what happens tonight, the Clippers own the 25th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
How to watch
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. PT
TV Channel: ESPN
Fourteen other teams will be participating in the lottery, and they will be represented by a variety of team officials, former and current players. On the vibes of their representatives alone, it would seem Minnesota has the best chance of getting some lottery luck.
The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery, broadcast live tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft.— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) June 21, 2021
Below are the individuals who will represent their respective teams. pic.twitter.com/vXxYmdJxo7
Houston, Detroit, and Orlando each have a 14.0 percent chance of earning the top pick. The Thunder — by virtue of winning their final regular-season game — fell into a tie for fourth place with the Cavaliers, and thus only have an 11.5 percent chance at the first overall selection.
The stakes are high for the Rockets, who will convey their pick to OKC if it doesn’t land in the top four. The chances of losing the pick are about 48 percent. Similarly, the Timberwolves will send their pick to the Warriors if it doesn’t land in the top three, so they only have a 27.6 percent chance of keeping their selection.
From a competitive balance perspective, the Clippers are probably rooting for Golden State to end up with a late lottery pick rather than an unprotected pick in 2022. The Thunder have so many draft picks that it probably doesn’t matter how many more they get, but getting Cunningham might force Oklahoma City to expedite its tanking timeline and actually start trying again, which would be nice.
One of the great moments of recent Clippers lore was when the team won the Blake Griffin draft lottery in 2009. Hopefully some other franchise gets to look back on this day as an equally momentous occasion in their history.
More news for Tuesday:
- ICYMI: Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 2, and Marcus Morris Sr.’s status was uncertain. For what it’s worth, the Clippers did not list Morris on the injury report for Tuesday’s game.
- ESPN ranked the league’s superstars based on their play in the conference semifinals. Where do you think Paul George landed?
- Chauncey Billups is reportedly a leading candidate for the Trail Blazers head coaching job along with Becky Hammon.
- Bam Adebayo and James Harden have committed to play for Team USA at the Olympic Games this summer, joining Dame Lillard, Draymond Green, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and Devin Booker.
- Kirk Goldsberry analyzes something near and dear to my heart: the difference in how the paint and the perimeter are officiated.
- A really touching story on Monty Williams from Melissa Rohlin.
- Katie Heindl talked to the creator of NBA Paint, and it’s delightful.