A look at the history of teams with the second-best NBA lottery odds

May 15, 2017, 5:00 PM | Updated: May 16, 2017, 11:28 am


UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball (left), University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz (center) and University of Kansas small forward Josh Jackson (right) are widely considered the top three prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft. (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

One of the few bright sides to the Phoenix Suns’ 24-58 season is that the team now has the second-best odds to secure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

However, this doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone that the Suns will land the second overall selection.

In fact, since the current NBA Draft lottery odds were established in 1993, only two of the 22 teams with the second-worst record in the league have actually picked second. It happened most recently in 2016, when the Los Angeles Lakers selected Duke small forward Brandon Ingram, with the other time coming in 2006, when the Chicago Bulls chose Texas power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

This surprisingly low hit rate of 9.1 percent for teams with the second-worst record is less than half of the 18.8 percent actual odds of finishing with that spot.

Getting a pick other than No. 2 may not be a bad thing for the Suns, however, as the last All-Star drafted second overall was Texas small forward Kevin Durant in 2007. Every other slot in the top seven has produced at least one All-Star since 2008.

Recent disappointing No. 2 picks include Arizona power forward Derrick Williams (2011), Ohio State small forward Evan Turner (2010), Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet (2009) and Kansas State power forward Michael Beasley (2008).

However, those hoping the Suns will be the last logo to be revealed Tuesday might also be disappointed come lottery time, as only two teams with the second-highest odds to move up to the No. 1 slot have done so, most recently in 1998, when the Los Angeles Clippers selected University of the Pacific center Michael Olowokandi. The other instance came the year before, when the San Antonio Spurs selected Wake Forest power forward Tim Duncan.

As a matter of fact, teams with the fourth, seventh and ninth-highest odds have also made two selections at No. 1, while teams with the first (6), third (5) and fifth-best (4) odds have more.

There is always the chance that the Suns get replaced in the top three by a lottery team with the fourth-highest odds or lower, which would mean the Suns would pick fourth if they are the only team eclipsed or fifth if the Boston Celtics’ pick from the Brooklyn Nets is also knocked out of the top three.

In fact, there is a 31.9 percent chance the Suns get the fourth selection and a 12.3 percent chance they move down to five, which is the lowest they could go.

Because of this, it’s quite possible the Suns may have to get used to the idea of picking fourth, as 11 clubs with the second-best odds have wound up there. Since 2010, more teams with the second-best odds of picking first have drafted fourth than anywhere else.

But this shouldn’t necessarily worry the Suns, as some great players have recently been taken fourth overall, such as Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis in 2015, UCLA point guard Russell Westbrook in 2008, Ohio State point guard Mike Conley in 2007, Wake Forest point guard Chris Paul in 2005 and Georgia Tech power forward Chris Bosh in 2003.

Even though the Suns have the second-worst record, it’s far from a guarantee that Phoenix will end up with the chance to draft what many consider to be the three blue-chip prospects in Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball and Kansas small forward Josh Jackson, as the likelihood that the team gets a top-three pick is just higher than that of a coin flip.

History of teams with second-best odds: Where and who they picked

2016: Los Angeles Lakers (2) Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke

2015: New York Knicks (4) Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia

2014: Philadelphia 76ers (3) Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

2013: Charlotte Bobcats (4) Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

2012: Washington Wizards (3) Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

2011: Cleveland Cavaliers (4) Tristan Thompson, C, Texas

2010: Minnesota Timberwolves (4) Wesley Johnson, SF, Syracuse

2009: Minnesota Timberwolves (via Washington Wizards) (5) Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain

2008: Seattle SuperSonics (4) Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA

2007: Boston Celtics [traded to Seattle SuperSonics] (5) Jeff Green, PF, Georgetown

2006: Chicago Bulls (via New York Knicks) [traded to Portland Trail Blazers] (2) LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Texas

2005: New Orleans Hornets (4) Chris Paul, PG, Wake Forest

2004: Chicago Bulls (3) Ben Gordon, SG, Connecticut

2003: Tie for No. 1 odds: Cleveland Cavaliers (1) LeBron James, SF, St. Vincent-St. Mary HS / Denver Nuggets (3) Carmelo Anthony, SF, Syracuse)

2002: Tie for No. 1 odds: Golden State Warriors (3) Mike Dunleavy, SF, Duke / Chicago Bulls (2) Jay Williams, PG, Duke

2001: Golden State Warriors (5) Jason Richardson, SG, Michigan State

2000: Chicago Bulls (4) Marcus Fizer, PF, Iowa State

1999: Los Angeles Clippers (4) Lamar Odom, PF, Rhode Island

1998: Los Angeles Clippers (1) Michael Olowokandi, C, U of Pacific

1997: San Antonio Spurs (1) Tim Duncan, PF, Wake Forest

1996: Milwaukee Bucks [traded to Minnesota Timberwolves] (4) Stephon Marbury, PG, Georgia Tech

1995: Washington Bullets (4) Rasheed Wallace, PF, North Carolina

1994: Tie for No. 2 odds: Detroit Pistons (3) Grant Hill, SF, Duke / Minnesota Timberwolves (4) Donyell Marshall, PF, Connecticut

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A look at the history of teams with the second-best NBA lottery odds