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Thunder take tiebreaker over Cavs, cherish fourth-best lottery odds

The third-most important date of Oklahoma City’s offseason came and went after a couple of turns on a lottery machine — it was good news.

Oklahoma City walked out of Tuesday’s lottery drawing as the big winner, strolling away with the top odds left on the table at four. For Cleveland, their major blow against pushed themselves back to fifth in lottery odds.

As addressed in Sunday’s primer for the drawing, the tiebreaker created zero separation in the top 4 picks as both teams enter lottery night with a 45.1% shot at a top 4 selection, and an 11.5% chance at the top pick. In following suit with the first pick, the Thunder and Cavs will match 11.4%, 11.2%, and 11.0% slices at the second, third, and fourth spot respectively.

The major breaks for Oklahoma City came outside of the top 4 selections as their advantage becomes obvious as you run down the board.

Pick limitations have been set for both franchises, they point in the Thunder’s favor. In claiming the fourth-best odds, Oklahoma City has capped out their worst possible outcome at pick no. 8, Cleveland has a 0.6% chance at falling to no. 9. This statistic may look irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, 0.6% is near impossible, but you what actually IS impossible — the Thunder selecting at 9.

To add even more comfort in Oklahoma City’s favor, in the off 2.4% cut the Thunder slip to no. 8 in the draft, they are guaranteed to select at picks 5 and 8 as Houston’s selection would drop to 5 as a byproduct. Oklahoma City controls Houston’s pick if it drops to pick 5, that occurrence appears 47.9% of the time.

At pick 8, Oklahoma City’s ground is covered even more as their 2.4% shot at falling to 8 is nothing in comparison to Cleveland’s 8.6% chance at selecting there. That 6.2% gap towards moves straight ahead to the top 7, and with 0.6% harnessed at 9, even more odds are bolstered up top.

Picks 6 and 7 provide sweet spots for both teams as there most likely individual outcomes come in this category. Oklahoma City has the same odds (45.1%) at taking a pick at 6 or 7 as they do in the top 4, in over a quarter of outcomes (27.1%) they pick at 6. Cleveland’s shot at 6 or 7 are a hair down at 43.7%, but their biggest takeout from Mark Tatum is pick no. 7, there odds sit at 25.5%.

Oklahoma City’s lack of odds at 8 and 9 play at a major part at pick 5 as they have a 7.4% slice at picking here, Cleveland only has a 2.0% shot at selecting at this spot.

Based on simulations from Tyler Carroll, Oklahoma City’s odds of snagging one top 5 pick post-tiebreaker is a staggering 51.7%, for two? try 24.6% of outcomes. These chances are far higher than any individual franchise in thanks to Houston’s potential dropoff.

The NBA Draft Lottery will be held June 22.

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