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Phoenix Suns 2013 NBA Draft Preview: Lottery Odds

As the NBA Draft Lottery selection draws near, the teams are anticipating finding out where they will be drafting. The Suns are currently slotted in the 4th spot, but that can, and likely will change depending on how the lotto balls bounce. Here is a look at the complete odds, and the history of the 4th slotted pre-lottery position; and where those teams actually ended up drafting.


Today, the Phoenix Suns find themselves in nearly uncharted territory for this proud franchise. The Suns have only picked 7th or lower (the range we fall in this year) a total of seven times since the franchise began in 1968. So what can the Suns realistically expect to happen being in the fourth slot? Here is a brief history of what has happened to the other teams in that position prior to the lottery selection over the past 29 years:

  • The number FOUR pre-lottery slotted team has retained its position twice, last in 2004 (Charlotte).
  • Has moved up to the 1st overall pick three times, last in 2012 (New Orleans).
  • Has moved up to the 2nd overall pick two times, last in 2000 (Vancouver).
  • Has moved up to the 3rd overall pick five times, last in 2009 (Oklahoma City).
  • Has moved down to the 5th overall pick eight times, last in 2008 (Memphis).
  • Has moved down to the 6th overall pick eight times, last in 2011 (Washington).
  • Has moved down to the 7th overall pick once in 1993 (Sacramento).

*Chart taken from

Now, lets compare this with the actual lottery odds for each pick:


*Table taken from Wikipedia

This shows that the Suns who are currently slotted in the 4th position of the lottery have a 11.9% chance of winning the first pick, and only a 9.9% chance of staying put in the 4th spot. In fact, the odds of moving up to the 2nd (12.6%) or 3rd (13.3%) spots are both higher than our odds of drafting 4th overall as well.

So that's good news...kind of.

However, the bad news is the Suns have the highest odds of moving down to the 5th pick, at 35%. Not only that, but the odds of moving down to the 6th pick (16%) are also higher than their chances of landing either of the first three picks.

In fact, if you add up the Suns' odds of moving up into the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd spot, you get total combined odds of nearly 38%. If you factor in the possibility of staying put at 4th (9.9%), it brings the total odds to around 48%. But, the odds of moving down to either the 5th, 6th, or 7th spot add up to around 52%.

So basically there is a better chance that the Suns end up with a later pick than an earlier pick, with the smart money on the 5th spot.

But don't despair. The New Orleans Hornets struck gold with the 4th lottery slot just last year, winning the first pick which they used to draft Anthony Davis.

Maybe lightning can strike twice in a row?

We won't know for sure until May 21st.

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