The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery takes place on Tuesday, June 22 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
While the 14 teams that failed to qualify for the 2021 NBA Playoffs hope that the ping pong balls bounce in their favour to win the No. 1 pick, there are a few teams that have better chances than others. This is the third year of the lottery system in which the teams with the three worst records in the 2020-21 regular season each have a 14.0 percent chance at the top pick.
But it's all about luck.
The chances might not be as great, but the Toronto Raptors are among the next four teams that have a realistic shot at winning the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery. After finishing with a 27-45 record this past season, Toronto has a 7.5 percent chance - or the seventh-best odds - to win the No. 1 pick, which is expected to be used on Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham regardless of which team wins the lottery.
MORE: Guide to the NBA Draft Lottery | Raptors lottery odds explained
All the Raptors need is a chance, and history would suggest that luck plays a major role in winning the lottery. It is a lottery, after all.
Since the year 2000, seven teams with similar - or worse - odds than the Raptors in 2021 have won the coveted No. 1 overall pick. Here's a look back to show that getting that lucky is, indeed, possible.
|2019||New Orleans Pelicans||6.00% (T-7th)||Zion Williamson|
|2014||Cleveland Cavaliers||1.40% (9th)||Andrew Wiggins|
|2011||Los Angeles Clippers (conveyed to Cavaliers)||2.80% (8th)||Kyrie Irving|
|2008||Chicago Bulls||1.70% (9th)||Derrick Rose|
|2007||Portland Trail Blazers||5.30% (6th)||Greg Oden|
|2005||Milwaukee Bucks||6.30% (6th)||Andrew Bogut|
|2000||New Jersey Nets||4.40% (7th)||Kenyon Martin|
In 2019, the Pelicans finished with an identical record to the Memphis Grizzlies, meaning the seventh-best odds were split to 6.00 percent for each team. Coincidentally, both New Orleans and Memphis moved up, with the Pelicans winning the No. 1 pick to select Williamson and the Grizzlies using the No. 2 pick to take eventual Rookie of the Year Ja Morant.
Last year, the Bulls were owners of the seventh-best odds and won the fourth pick, which was used to select All-Rookie Second Team forward Patrick Williams.
|Year||Team||Top-four probability (Rank)||Pick||Selection|
|2020||Chicago Bulls||31.9% (7th)||4||Patrick Williams|
|2019||New Orleans Pelicans||26.2% (T-7th)||1||Zion Williamson|
|2019||Memphis Grizzlies||26.2% (T-7th)||2||Ja Morant|
So far, the new lottery system has been beneficial for the teams with the seventh-best odds.
As Toronto owns the seventh-best odds in 2021, will this string of luck continue? While the franchise has only owned the No. 1 overall selection once, the Raptors have actually won the NBA Draft Lottery twice.
In 2006, the Raptors won the Draft Lottery with the fifth-best (8.80 percent) odds. In 1996, Toronto won the Draft Lottery with the third-best (15.7 percent) odds but could not select first due to a stipulation that the Raptors and Grizzlies - the two expansion franchises in the 1995-96 season - could not get the No. 1 overall pick during their first three seasons of existence.
With the Raptors' first two lottery wins spaced out by 10 years, perhaps a 15-year break from the last lottery win will bring luck to the franchise. That, coupled with the recent string of luck for teams with the seventh-best odds, makes for a few good omens ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery.
We'll see how it pans out.
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