Minnesota finished with the third-worst record in the NBA this season, but will pick first in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Timberwolves won the NBA Draft Lottery on Thursday and will have the No. 1 selection in the draft.
As the teams with the worst three records in the 2019-20 season, Minnesota, Golden State and Cleveland each had a 14% chance of winning the first overall pick. The Warriors, with the worst record in the NBA at 15-50, will pick No. 2. The Cavaliers (19-46) fell to No. 5.
Charlotte made the biggest jump by rising from No. 8 in the pre-lottery odds to earn the No. 3 overall selection. New York had the sixth best odds, but will pick at No. 8.
Ironically, it was D'Angelo Russell representing Minnesota (19-45). The Warriors traded Russell to Minnesota earlier this season. Now, he is positioned to team up with the No. 1 pick in the draft -- as well as All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns -- to help the Timberwolves become a contender in the crowded Western Conference. Towns was the No. 1 pick by Minnesota in 2015 -- the only other time the franchise won the NBA Draft Lottery
Attendance boost? Two of the most meaningful jumps -- Charlotte from No. 8 to No. 3 and Minnesota from No. 3 to No. 1 -- were for teams that ranked 29th and 30th in average announced attendance when the NBA halted the 2019-20 season.
A player with the hype of LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman should help with ticket sales, assuming fans are back in arenas at some point in the 2020-21 campaign. Regardless of attendance numbers, both franchises are in need of the jolt that a top pick can provide. Minnesota has made just one playoff appearance since 2004, and the Hornets have missed the postseason in four straight seasons.
But if you're looking for anaimed at boosting floundering franchises, Detroit can dispel the theory. The Pistons, who ranked 28th in attendance before the stoppage, entered the night with the fifth-best odds and 42.1% chance of gaining a top-four selection. Instead, they suffered their worst drop in lottery history and fell to No. 7.
Tough breaks: Detroit wasn't the only Eastern Conference team to deal with lottery frustration. The last time the Knicks actually improved on their pre-draft position during the lottery was 1985, and their misery continued Thursday when they fell from No. 6 to No. 8 after entering the night with a 37.2% chance of selecting in the top four.
Last year, the Knicks entered at No. 1 in the pre-lottery odds but fell to No. 3, missing out on a pair of immediate stars in Ja Morant and Zion Williamson.
Cleveland and Atlanta also dropped below their pre-lottery positions on Thursday, with the Cavaliers suffering the hardest fall. The franchise known its lottery luck fell from No. 2 to No. 5 this year.
Convey away: The Celtics are busy playing in the playoffs but had reason to pay attention to the lottery ceremony anyway. So long as the Grizzlies didn't jump from No. 14 into the top six, Boston was going to get its pick as stipulated by a trade completed more than five and a half years ago.
Memphis had minuscule odds of jumping into the top six and keeping the pick. As expected, they landed the No. 14 pick and therefore conveyed it to Boston. That means the Celtics possess three first-round picks in the upcoming draft: the No. 14 pick owed to them by Memphis, their own pick at No. 26 and the No. 30 pick, which was acquired in a 2017 trade with Milwaukee.
2020 NBA Draft Lottery
2. Golden State
8. New York
11. San Antonio
13. New Orleans
14. Boston from Memphis