The Phoenix Suns will select first at the 2018 NBA Draft next month after winning the No 1 pick at the lottery in Chicago on Tuesday night.
Phoenix had the best chance of winning the top pick after finishing with the league’s worst win-loss record and the 2018 lottery stuck to script.
Sacramento Kings were the night’s big movers, winning the No 2 selection despite having the seventh-best lottery odds. Atlanta Hawks will go No 3, Memphis Grizzlies No 4 and Dallas Mavericks will round off the top five.
Phoenix Suns’ Josh Jackson (left) poses with General Manager Ryan McDonough after winning
The Grizzlies can feel slightly aggrieved by falling outside the top three having come into the lottery with the second-best odds of winning.
The Suns and Kings were both represented in Chicago by their 2017 lottery selections Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox while actress Jami Gertz made a surprise appearance in honour of the Hawks.
The NBA draft lottery is made up of the 14 teams who missed out on securing a spot in the post-season. The playoffs consists of the top eight-seeded teams from the Eastern and Western Conference.
It was Phoenix’s eighth consecutive year in the lottery after a season of rebuilding which saw them finish with a 21-61 record, bad enough for bottom of the Western Conference and worst in the entire league.
Top draft prospect DeAndre Ayton poses on stage in Chicago before the start of the lottery
The Sacramento Kings’ 2017 pick De’Aaron Fox saw his team upset the odds by getting No 2
The Kings’ run in the lottery is even longer. It was stretched to 12 seasons after they missed the playoffs yet again in their first season in new Golden 1 Center arena.
FULL LOTTERY ORDER
1. Phoenix Suns
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Memphis Grizzlies
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Orlando Magic
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. New York Knicks
10. Philadelphia 76ers
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. Los Angeles Clippers
13. Los Angeles Clippers
14. Denver Nuggets
For Atlanta it’s the first time in a decade that they’ve entered the draft lottery after the break-up of their 60-win team from the 2014-15 season.
Phoenix are expected to select top prospect DeAndre Ayton. The 7ft 1in forward averaged 20 points last year playing for the Wildcats in the Suns’ home state Arizona.
The Suns already possess the league’s youngest team bursting with unrealised potential in a roster which includes Devin Booker, Jackson, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss.
Slovenian forward Luka Doncic is another exciting prospect expected to go high in June’s draft after an impressive season in Spain with Real Madrid.
And Duke’s Marvin Bagley is tipped to go early this year too despite the 6ft 11in forward’s stock falling slightly in recent months.
The 2018 NBA Draft is set to be held on June 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn giving the Suns and Co more than a month to assess the prospects and listen to potential trade offers.
Last season saw a sensational trade when the Boston Celtics dealt away their No 1 pick in exchange for the Philadelphia 76ers’ No 3 selection.
Jackson shakes hands with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum as he accepts the No 1 pick
Jackson (left) and Fox (right) were joined by Atlanta Hawks’ representative – actress Jami Gertz
Philadelphia selected Markelle Fultz first overall but the point guard has struggled with fitness issues amid concerns over his shooting mechanics.
Boston’s selection Jayson Tatum in contrast has been an instant hit and played a key role as the Celtics beat Philadelphia 4-1 in their Eastern Conference semi-finals playoff series earlier this month.
In the remainder of the top 10, the Orlando Magic select sixth, the Chicago Bulls seventh, Cleveland Cavaliers (via trade with Brooklyn Nets) eighth, the New York Knicks ninth and the 76ers 10th (via trade with Los Angeles Lakers).
The 76ers retained their pick for this season as it fell to No 10 overall, if it had gone between No 2 and No 5 the selection would have gone to the Celtics by way of last summer’s trade.
HOW THE DRAFT LOTTERY WORKS
The NBA Draft Lottery determines in which order the 14 teams who missed out on the playoffs will select their picks.
Depending on their record the season before, teams are each given a number of ping pong balls that are drawn out to decide draft order. The worst team has the most, the best of the 14 teams has the least.
Once the first three selections are decided (via a series of number combinations) – the remaining order is determined by what their odds were.
So the team with the highest are guaranteed a No 4 pick and the team with the lowest will receive the No 14 unless they finish in the top three.
The complicated process of drawing the balls is done in a private room with communication devices banned and a representative from Ernst and Young present. The balls are then drawn out in order in a televised event.
Real Madrid forward Luka Doncic is ranked as one of the top prospects for the 2018 NBA Draft