2023 NBA Draft Lottery: How to watch, odds, Knicks potential pick, more

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Victor Wembanyama is a lock to be the top pick in the NBA Draft
Boulogne-Levallois’ Victor Wembanyama looks on during the Elite basketball match Boulogne-Levallois against JDA Dijon at the Palais de Sports Jean-Michel Geoffroy in Dijon, central France, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. On Sunday, May 7, 2023, he played before a crowd of about 15,000 fans in Paris as part of his farewell tour before coming to the NBA. Wembanyama is about a week away from learning which team will be picking him in the NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

The lottery for the 2023 NBA Draft is Thursday night and NBA fans are anxious to see where Victor Wembanyama will go.

The 7’4″ French phenom is the best prospect in the NBA Draft since LeBron James and is the lock of all locks to be the first overall pick. He is a generational talent who is currently playing for the Metropolitans 92 in the French Betclic Élite league where he leads all players in points (21.8), rebounds (10.3), and blocks (3.1) per game. He can handle the ball like a guard, shoot from deep, and block shots like Rudy Gobert. Which is exactly why numerous teams were tanking to get a shot at drafting him.

So who will get Wembanyama and when will we find out?


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How to Watch the NBA Draft Lottery:

  • Date: Tuesday, May 16th
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Channel: ESPN

How the NBA Draft Lottery Works:

The draft lottery results will be broadcast live with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum revealing sealed envelopes that announce the NBA Draft lottery results in descending order. The league uses ping-pong balls to determine the lottery itself. 14 ping-pong balls are dropped in a machine then four balls are selected which reveal a four-number combination that is connected to a specific team. The worse the team’s record was in the regular season, the more combinations are attached to their name, which means the more chances they have of being given the top pick. 

Victor Wembanyama is a lock to be the top pick in the NBA Draft
FILE – Boulogne-Levallois’ Victor Wembanyama celebrates after a dunk against Lyon-Villeurbanne during a basketball game in Levallois, France, Jan. 9, 2023. On Sunday, May 7, 2023, he played before a crowd of about 15,000 fans in Paris as part of his farewell tour before coming to the NBA. Wembanyama is about a week away from learning which team will be picking him in the NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

The Favorites for the Top Pick

Detroit Pistons (14% chance at the #1 pick)

The Pistons also had the top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and selected Cade Cunningham. Now they finished with the worst record in the league and gave themselves the best chance to add Wembanyama as their other central building block. 


Houston Rockets (14% chance at the #1 pick)

While the Pistons had the worst record, the Rockets’ 2022-23 season was arguably more of a mess. The team seems directionless at times, so having Wembanyama to build around could at least help them establish an identity. They recently hired new coach Ime Udoka, who was dismissed as coach of the Celtics less than a year ago for an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, so, you know, a mixed bag of an offseason already. 


San Antonio Spurs (14% chance at the #1 pick)

Given what Gregg Popovich did with Tim Duncan and David Robinson, NBA fans should want to see Wembanyama play for the legendary coach. 


Contenders for the Top Pick

Charlotte Hornets (12.5% chance at the #1 pick)

Michael Jordan sold the Hornets after overseeing a pretty poor era of basketball in Charlotte. Adding Wembanyama to LaMelo Ball would be a good way to right the ship. 


Portland Trail Blazers (10.5% chance at the #1 pick)

Damian Lillard could use a break. He has remained one of the top players in the league despite being on a Portland team that can’t seem to build a winner around him. Giving him Wembanyama may allow for Dame to get a few last cracks at a title. 


Will the Knicks make a pick?

The Knicks traded their own first-round pick to Portland as part of the Josh Hart trade, so the only chance for the Knicks to make a pick is if they are allowed to take the Dallas pick which was sent to them in the Kristaps Porzingis deal. However, that pick is top-10 protected, which means if Dallas lands one of the top-10 picks, they will keep their pick, but if they land outside the top-10 then the pick transfer to New York. 

Mark Cuban knew this, which is why the Mavericks actively tried to lose games down the stretch and the team was fined $750,000 by the NBA in April for “conduct detrimental to the league” for sitting out top players in their last two games in order to miss the play-in tournament in the Western Conference and ensure the pick would not convey to the Knicks.

After the game, Dallas coach Jason Kidd called the move “an organization decision” but NBA VP and Head of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars said, “The Dallas Mavericks’ decision to restrict key players from fully participating in an elimination game last Friday against Chicago undermined the integrity of our sport. The Mavericks’ actions failed our fans and our league.”

However, that chastisement won’t matter to Dallas, which now has a 79.8% chance of getting a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft, which means the Knicks only have a 20.2% chance of getting the Dallas pick. 

If the Knicks don’t receive the Mavericks’ pick this year, it will remain top-10 protected in 2024 or 2025. If it doesn’t convey in either of those years, it would just become a second-round pick for the Knicks.

For more NBA coverage, like this NBA Draft Lottery article, visit amNY Sports


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