The NBA playoffs are in full swing, but for the 13 teams, the renewal season begins now.
Tuesday’s lottery saw the Orlando Magic win the top pick, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets to exit the top three for the June 23 draft.
For Magic—who finished the Eastern Conference worse 22-60—the stroke of luck came 30 years to the day the franchise won the top pick in the 1992 draft that saw Shaquille O’Neal take first place. The following year, they took Chris Webber with the first pick, sending him to the Golden State for Benny Hardaway and three future first-round picks, Orlando was named first in 2004, adding Dwight Howard.
“It feels great,” said Jeff Weltman, president of basketball operations for Orlando. “I am so happy for our fans. They are really stuck with us. And the nights are such a help, where you can really show the fruits of why you went through these stages and these cycles. And we hope they are really excited about this.”
Houston, Orlando and Detroit all had a 14 percent chance of getting out of the first pick, which would likely be Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren or Duke’s Paulo Banchero.
Sacramento, which had a seventh-best chance of landing #1, jumped to fourth.
The Pelicans are the only team to have a lottery pick after Anthony Davis’ deal with the embattled Lakers and will pick eighth.
Oklahoma City also came in with the 12th pick, thanks to Paul George’s thunder trade to the Clippers.
The Knicks, who finished the 2021-22 season at 37-45, had a 2% chance of winning the lead, and He will choose the number 11.
Here is the full 2022 NBA first-round draft lottery standings:
1. Orlando Magic
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Houston Rockets
4. Sacramento Kings
5. Detroit Pistons
6. Indiana Pacers
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. New Orleans Pelicans (via Los Angeles Lakers)
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Washington Wizards
11. New York Knicks
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Los Angeles Clippers)
13. Charlotte Hornets
14. Cleveland Cavaliers