NBA Draft Lottery 2020 Review – Unpacking The Results

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BetMGM @BETMGM Jun 16, 2021, 2:20 PM
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The NBA draft lottery had a different tone this year due to the restrictions put in place by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it took place all the same. Keep on reading to find out more about how the lottery was run, the results, and what this means for the teams going into the draft.

How the draft lottery worked

NBA sports betting fans will be pleased to know that the actual lottery system itself has not changed from last year. Winners were still decided using the weighted lottery system values set in 2019. This means that the bottom three teams all had an equal chance of winning the top pick (14%), with four teams being selected at the lottery. After these four teams were locked in, the remaining lottery order was decided by an inverse regular-season record.

Regarding the event, numerous changes were made to ensure that everyone in attendance was healthy and that only the most critical individuals were on-site. This meant COVID-19 tests, a greatly reduced media presence, and changes to the usual studio setup. 

Despite these changes, the lottery itself ran smoothly. Here are the odds for each team before we get into the results, in case you missed them before the draw:

  • Golden State – 14.00%
  • Cleveland – 14.00%
  • Minnesota – 14.00%
  • Atlanta –  12.50%
  • Detroit –  10.50%
  • New York –  9.00%
  • Chicago –  7.50%
  • Charlotte –  6.00%
  • Washington –  4.50%
  • Phoenix –  3.00%
  • San Antonio –  2.00%
  • Sacramento –  1.30%
  • New Orleans –  1.20%
  • Memphis –  0.50%

The results

The lottery took place on August 20th. Here are the results for the top 14 teams:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Golden State
  3. Charlotte
  4. Chicago
  5. Cleveland
  6. Atlanta
  7. Detroit
  8. New York
  9. Washington
  10. Phoenix
  11. San Antonio
  12. Sacramento
  13. New Orleans
  14. Boston (from Memphis)

The 3 biggest winners and their most likely picks

No. 1 – Minnesota

Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota Timberwolves against Bogdan Bogdanovic of Sacramento Kings at Target Center

The biggest winner of the lottery is undoubtedly Minnesota who were tied for a shot at number one and ended up walking away with first pick in the draft. The last time they were lucky enough to get the number one pick was 2015 when they used their pick to draft Karl-Anthony Towns. This year, it’s generally expected that the Timberwolves will go for Anthony Edwards, who’ll be a good fit for the team overall.

Edwards entered the draft after one year at Georgia, during which he posted a 40.2 field goal percentage, 5.2 total rebounds, and 19.1 points per game. This guard with an imposing physique has the ability to bully other players on the court, and when you see him play, there’s no doubt that he looks like he belongs in the NBA. 

But how he looks on the court isn't only what made this young player a great prospect. His scoring versatility makes him a threat that few other players in the draft can match. Part of this versatility comes from powerful drive, his notable step-back jump, his ability to hit (enough) 3s, and the fact that he can make the space he needs for his own shots. He’s also not afraid to take risks, and goes for shots that other players his age would probably avoid.

Unfortunately, his lack of fear is also one of his downsides, as this leads to some questionable shots, as well as unnecessary risks when he’s on defense. He also doesn’t seem to have the greatest basketball IQ, and sometimes appears to plow ahead with a plan even if a better opportunity appears during play.

However, as with any other player, these issues can be worked on, and there’s no doubt that a fully developed Edwards would be great on a team with players like Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russel. 

No. 2 – Golden State

Mychal Mulder of Golden State Warriors against the Philadelphia 76ers at Chase Center

Golden State comes in at number two, and while they were undoubtedly hoping for first draft, they still have plenty of options in this position. A recent report highlights that the Warriors believe that the point guard position is the strongest in this year's draft, followed by forward, and then center. This means it’s entirely possible that the Golden State Warriors will go for point guard LaMelo Ball. 

The young man has had an interesting basketball career since he first got noticed, including a short stint as a pro player in Lithuania and Australia. He’s now 6’7 and looking to join the NBA, and is undoubtedly one of the hottest picks moving into the draft. 

The thing that stands out about Ball is his ability to get the ball where it needs to be. His passing skills, pick-and-roll handle, vision, and general creativity on the court are believed to closely rival the capabilities of his older brother and Pelicans player, Lonzo, which is impressive considering the 3-year age gap between the two.

He has some weaknesses to be addressed in his shooting (he has a 37.5% overall field goal percentage), and he’s got to clean up some bad habits on defense (he often loses focus), but if he can address these issues, there’s no doubt he’ll be a valuable asset to the Warriors.

No. 3 – Charlotte

Cody Martin of Charlotte Hornets in action against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena

The third team to strike it big was Charlotte. Originally placed at eighth, Lady Luck smiled upon them and they ended up with a number three pick. There’s speculation that they also have their eye on LaMelo Ball, but at third pick, there’s the chance he may be grabbed by either Minnesota or Golden State. 

Without Ball, the Hornets will most likely still want to go for the best player available, regardless of position. Assuming Minnesota grabs Edwards, we believe that leaves Charlotte with two options: Obi Toppin or James Wiseman. 

Both players will add height to the Charlotte roster, which is a bit on the shorter side. Their height also gives them the advantage on the rebound, with Wiseman at 10.7 and Toppin at 7.7 per game. They’re both respectable scorers with Toppin sitting at 20.8 points and Wiseman coming in at 19.7 points per game. However, where Toppin has a 3 point percentage of 39, Wiseman whiffs completely at 0%. 

If the Hornets are looking for more defensive power, Wiseman will likely be their pick. If they’re looking for a better player on the offense, Toppin will be their guy.

The biggest loser and their draft options

Alfonzo McKinnie of Cleveland Cavaliers against the San Antonio Spurs at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

If there are winners, there have to be losers. The team that had the worst roll of the dice (or numbered ping pong balls) is Cleveland. Going into the lottery at number two, they ended up with a disappointing fifth pick. This means Cleveland will likely have Saddiq Bey, Onyeka Okongwu, or Deni Advija on their list of potential picks. These are respectable players, but they’re simply not as exciting as the three others that we’ve discussed.

When is the draft?

Now that we know who won and lost at the NBA Draft Lottery, the next question is when can we expect the draft to take place? Currently, the draft is set for October 16, 2020, but with the 2020-21 season starting date undecided, we don’t know when the chosen players will be making their NBA debuts.

The Draft Lottery is over, but there’s still plenty of bets to be made at BetMGM

The excitement of the draft lottery may be over, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more gambling fun to be had at BetMGM.

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Begin your NBA betting with exciting odds and NBA betting picks at BetMGM. Visit our online sportsbook today to find out more!

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.