NBA Draft lottery 2019: Latest odds as tanking race for Zion Williamson heats up

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T.J. Warren and Lance Thomas (Getty Images)

While the teams at the top of the NBA standings are busy fighting for playoff positioning, the tankers at the bottom are hoping to land the No. 1 overall pick and select a franchise-changing talent.

Duke star Zion Williamson is essentially a lock for the top spot at the 2019 NBA Draft, as he is arguably the best college prospect since Anthony Davis. Fellow Blue Devil R.J. Barrett and Murray State stud Ja Morant are terrific options and should land somewhere in the top five, but this tanking war is all about Zion.

NBA MOCK DRAFT: Full first-round breakdown

Being the biggest loser is different this time around, though. The odds have shifted significantly ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft lottery (May 14 in Chicago).

How does the revamped system work? Oh, glad you asked…

2019 NBA Draft lottery odds

Prior to this year, the odds of winning the lottery started with 25 percent for the worst team, 19.9 percent for the second-worst team and 15.6 percent for the third-worst team. Under the 2019 format, the three worst teams will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery. The team with the worst overall record will drop no lower than fifth in the draft order.

Here are each team’s lottery odds with the percent chance to land each pick. (Standings are current as of March 26. The Bulls, Cavs, Hawks, Knicks, Grizzlies, Lakers, Mavericks, Pelicans, Suns and Timberwolves have been eliminated from playoff contention.)

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 AVG
Knicks 14.0 13.4 12.7 12.0 47.9                   3.7
Suns 14.0 13.4 12.7 12.0 27.8 20.0                 3.9
Cavaliers 14.0 13.4 12.7 12.0 14.8 26.0 7.0               4.1
Bulls 12.5 12.2 11.9 11.5 7.2 25.7 16.8 2.2             4.4
Hawks 10.5 10.5 10.6 10.5 2.2 19.6 26.7 8.7 0.6           5.0
Mavericks 9.0 9.2 9.4 9.6   8.6 29.7 20.6 3.7 0.2         5.5
Grizzlies 6.8 7.1 7.5 7.9     19.7 35.6 13.8 1.4 >0.0       6.4
Wizards 6.7 7.0 7.4 7.8       32.9 31.1 6.6 0.4 >0.0     6.9
Pelicans 4.5 4.8 5.2 5.7         50.7 25.9 3.0 0.1 >0.0   8.0
Lakers 3.0 3.3 3.6 4.0           65.9 19.0 1.2 >0.0 >0.0 9.2
Timberwolves 2.0 2.2 2.4 2.8             77.6 12.6 0.4 >0.0 10.3
Hornets 1.5 1.7 1.9 2.1               86.1 6.7 0.1 11.4
Magic 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.4                 92.9 2.3 12.5
Kings 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7                   97.6 13.7

2019 NBA Draft potential pick swaps

— The Mavericks owe a first-round pick to the Hawks, and it would currently transfer because it is 1-5 protected.

— The Kings owe a first-round pick to the Celtics, and it would currently transfer because it is No. 1 overall protected.

— The Grizzlies owe a first-round pick to the Celtics, but it would not currently transfer because it is 1-8 protected.

— The Cavs owe a first-round pick to the Hawks, but it would not currently transfer because it is 1-10 protected.

2019 NBA tanking race

1. Knicks

Overall record: 14-60
Games back: —
Remaining strength of schedule: .473

2. Suns

Overall record: 17-58
Games back: 2.5
Remaining strength of schedule: .444

3. Cavaliers

Overall record: 19-55
Games back: 5
Remaining strength of schedule: .525

4. Bulls

Overall record: 21-53
Games back: 7
Remaining strength of schedule: .508

5. Hawks

Overall record: 26-48
Games back: 12
Remaining strength of schedule: .605

6. Mavericks

Overall record: 29-44
Games back: 15.5
Remaining strength of schedule: .474

7. Grizzlies

Overall record: 30-44
Games back: 16
Remaining strength of schedule: .514

8. Wizards

Overall record: 30-44
Games back: 16
Remaining strength of schedule: .444

9. Pelicans

Overall record: 31-44
Games back: 16.5
Remaining strength of schedule: .449

10. Lakers

Overall record: 32-41
Games back: 18.5
Remaining strength of schedule: .551

11. Timberwolves

Overall record: 33-40
Games back: 19.5
Remaining strength of schedule: .598

12. Hornets

Overall record: 34-39
Games back: 20.5
Remaining strength of schedule: .517

13. Magic

Overall record: 36-38
Games back: 22
Remaining strength of schedule: .486

14. Kings

Overall record: 36-37
Games back: 22.5
Remaining strength of schedule: .506

(Lottery odds and remaining strength of schedule via Tankathon)