On Monday, the NBA announced the Houston Rockets won the random drawing tiebreaker against the San Antonio Spurs for the second-worst record in the league. This tiebreaker gives the Rockets the second-best odds in the NBA Draft Lottery. But what does this mean for the Silver and Black?
Losing the tiebreaker gives the Spurs the third-best odds in the Draft Lottery. Overall, this doesn't change their chances of landing the number one overall pick, which is still at 14% for the Spurs, along with Detroit and Houston. What it does impact is the possible worst-case scenario for San Antonio.
For clarification, the NBA Draft Lottery only determines the first four picks. The records of the remaining lottery teams decide picks 5-14. Any lottery team can vault into the top four and displace teams with better odds, like San Antonio, forcing them to slide in the draft order.
If that were to happen, but Houston and Detroit remained in the top four, the Spurs would pick fifth overall. However, if the Spurs AND one of those two teams fall out of the top four, the Spurs would draft sixth overall. If all three teams failed to get a top-four pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, that would be the worst-case scenario, with San Antonio selecting seventh overall.
But if the Spurs are unlucky enough to fall to the seventh overall pick, that means Detroit and Houston also missed out and slipped to fifth and sixth, respectively. Again, this is the worst-case scenario, and it only has a 7% chance of happening. Compare that to the 52% chance of the Spurs landing a top-four pick. Additionally, the Spurs have a higher probability of landing the first overall selection (14%) than plummeting to seventh (7%).
The Spurs and their fans will have to wait until May 16th for the NBA Draft Lottery to find out if they won the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes or if they will have to settle for a consolation prize. This upcoming pick will be the highest selection the Spurs have made in the draft since choosing Tim Duncan first overall in 1997.