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Looking at the scenarios facing the Warriors in tonight’s Draft Lottery

© Patrick Gorski | 2019 May 14

Trying to figure out what’s at stake for the Warriors in tomorrow’s NBA Draft Lottery can give you a headache.

In addition to their draft pick, Golden State also holds the rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves pick, with one pretty large catch. That pick is top three protected, meaning that if Minnesota’s pick ends up being either No. 1, 2 or 3 overall, they get to keep it, and the Warriors will get their pick next year.

That’s the main thing you need to know for tomorrow. The next thing to look at is the odds of how different scenarios involving the two picks are likely to play out. Let’s start by looking at the Warriors pick.

Warriors pick

Every team that did not make the playoffs will have ping pong balls in tomorrow’s draft lottery. The better your team did in the regular season, the less likely you are to get a high pick. Golden State finished with the best record of all the teams who did not make the playoffs, 14th best among the 14 teams in the lottery.

This means the Warriors are overwhelmingly likely pick No. 14 in this year’s draft. In fact, the odds that the Warriors pick ends up being No. 14 overall is 97.6 percent. If something extremely unlikely happens and the Warriors pick doesn’t convey at No. 14, that would be incredibly good news for the Warriors. Why? Because if their pick doesn’t convey at 14, it means it will be in the top four, as every single team in the draft lottery has a chance of their pick being in the top four.

Yes it’s a little strange that it’s more likely the Warriors pick at No. 1 (0.5 percent chance) overall than at No. 13 (0 percent chance), but that’s how the NBA does it. Here’s what the odds are for how the Warriors pick could convey:

No. 14: 97.6 percent
No. 4: 0.7 percent
No. 3: 0.6 percent
No. 2: 0.6 percent
No. 1: 0.5 percent

Wolves pick

Okay, so the Warriors are going to have a pick at No. 14 unless they get extremely lucky, but their path to having a high draft pick becomes much likelier when you take the Wolves pick into account.

Minnesota finished with the sixth worst record in the league. They are most likely to get the seventh pick (29.7 percent chance) or the eighth pick (20.6 percent). If the pick conveys in either of those spots, the Warriors would get it.

The best case scenario for the Warriors is that the pick conveys at No. 4 (9.6 percent chance) because remember, if the pick conveys in the top three, the Wolves get to keep it. The odds of the pick landing in the top three are are 27.6 percent. Here are the full odds for where the Wolves pick could land, along with the teams ahead of them:

To recap

The most likely scenario is that the Warriors pick lands at No. 14, and the Warriors get the Wolves pick which lands at No. 7 or 8.

An even better scenario is that the Warriors pick lands at No. 14 and they get the Wolves pick which lands at No. 4.

The best case scenario, which is very unlikely, is that the Warriors pick lands at No. 1, and they keep the Wolves pick which lands at No. 4.

The worst case scenario is easy to figure out. The Warriors pick lands at No. 14 and the Wolves pick is in the top three, meaning the Warriors don’t get it this year, and will have hope the Wolves stink again next season when they’d get it.


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