NBA Draft 2021

NBA Draft 2021: Which lottery picks in the Draft are protected?

Each year, since 1985, the NBA has used a lottery system to decide the order of the top picks for the non-playoff teams in the ensuing NBA Draft.

Over the years, the odds for the team with the worst record have changed to de-incentivise deliberate losing in order to receive that top pick. That combined with the system of pick protection, which nearly every team employs in trades, has made the Draft Lottery a highly anticipated event on the calendar for more than just the non-playoff teams.

That said, here's a look at the 2021 Draft picks that are awaiting the Lottery's results to decide their owner.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets, finishing with the worst record in the 2020-21 season with 17-55, are tied with the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic for the best odds to land the No. 1 pick in the 2021 Lottery.

Their 2021 pick, unlikely to fall below five, will not remain with them unless it is their name is called for any of the top four picks in the Lottery. If it isn't, they will be left with the least favourable of their pick, the Miami Heat's pick and the Oklahoma City Thunder's pick.

MORE: A look at OKC Thunder's draft treasure chest

Outside of the Lottery, they have already received the Portland Trail Blazers' pick - 23rd overall - from the Robert Covington trade since it was top-14 protected. They have also already received the Milwaukee Bucks' first-round pick - 24th overall - which they received from the P.J Tucker trade.

Minnesota Timberwolves

At 9.0%, the Timberwolves have the sixth-best odds for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 Lottery. However, they would be hoping their pick rises to within the top three.

As a consequence of their Andrew Wiggins for D'Angelo Russell trade last year with the Golden State Warriors, they only get to keep their pick if it is called within the first three. If not, the pick gets conveyed to the Warriors. In case they do get to keep their first-round pick this year, their 2022 pick gets conveyed to the Warriors unprotected in 2022.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have more or less given away their 2021 first-round pick as part of the deal to acquire Nikola Vucecvic.

Tied with the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans for the eight-best odds to land the No. 1 pick, the Chicago franchise only keep their pick if it gets called among the top-four.

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