The NBA draft tiebreaker took place today, determining the Mavs’ preliminary order ahead of the May 14 lottery.
Dallas, New Orleans, and Memphis were all tied with a 33-49 record. The Pelicans won the tiebreaker, the Grizzlies finished second, and the Mavs third. It doesn’t really affect things all that much though, and here’s why.
Each team has a 26.3 percent chance to finish in the top-4, and a 6.0 percent chance at the number one pick. However, New Orleans will have one extra combination. There are 1,001 combinations, so that extra one is incredibly unlikely to make a difference.
The lottery rules changed this year, flattening the odds at the top and slightly increasing the likelihood of lower-ranked teams moving up. Additionally, the lottery has expanded from three teams to four, meaning the Knicks, who finished with the worst record in the league and sit No. 1 overall as it stands now, can draft as low as fifth on June 20.
Should neither of the teams move up on lottery night, as well as none of the teams beneath them, they will select in this order at seventh, eighth, and ninth respectively: New Orleans, Memphis, and Dallas.
Dallas traded its top-5 protected 2019 first-round pick to Atlanta last June as part of the trade for Luka Doncic, who just completed his season sweep by winning his fifth straight Western Conference Rookie of the Month award. If the Mavs move up on lottery night, they will keep the pick. If they do not, the pick will go to Atlanta at No. 9 overall. Had Dallas won the tiebreaker but not the lottery, it would have meant Atlanta would receive the seventh pick instead. So losing this time isn’t all that bad.
This result also likely affects the Mavs’ position in the second round. As it stands now, Dallas is currently slotted for the 37th pick overall, the seventh of the second round. However, if the team moves up on lottery night, Dallas could pick 39th overall instead. Last season, Dallas moved up from 34th to 33rd when Atlanta won a lottery spot, and with the 33rd pick the Mavericks selected Jalen Brunson.