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How the Rockets’ lottery odds work

The lottery is coming up. Here’s where Houston’s chances stand.

2018 NBA Draft Lottery Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets worked their tails off for 72 games this season.

While it might not have been the end result that every team would like to have — hey, at least they didn’t play all those games to get bounced as a middle-of-pack seed in the postseason. Nope, we removed all hope and are playing for the future, baby.

Now, how many teams this season that didn’t win a championship will get to have the first pick? That’s what I thought. Chess, not checkers.

Here’s how it all breaks down for the Rockets and their odds of landing that coveted top pick.

The three WORST teams in the league all have equal odds at landing a top-four pick. Houston ended the season with the worst record in the league, but they’re just over-achievers.

The Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and Orlando Magic’s odds at a top-four pick goes as such: 14%, 13.4%, 12.7%, and 11.9%, respectively. The teams with the next-best odds at the top four are the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers at 11.5%, 11.4%, 11.2%, and 11%.

Where the Rockets differentiate from the other teams is that the absolute worst record in the league will not fall below a top-five pick, which would typically be a great thing. But the Rockets, in the Chris Paul trade, sent over a protected top-four first-round pick to the Thunder. That means that anything below (higher? I don’t know) the fourth pick would go to OKC.

Wow, a Rockets team going all-out for an entire season in a high-risk situation that could yield either incredible or devastating results? When’s the last time you heard of the franchise doing THAT?

Seriously, you thought things were tense when the Rockets went small ball? Well, now they’re counting on even smaller balls. Ping-pong balls. Because that’s how the top pick is decided in the NBA. Like playing bingo at a geriatric center.

The drawing will be this Tuesday, June 22 at 8:30 ET.