SAN FRANCISCO — Now that the Dallas Mavericks have been officially eliminated from the NBA playoff race, some of their attention turns to evaluating how the young players on their roster can help them beyond this season.
More importantly, the attention turns to the NBA Draft Lottery, aka the Zion Williamson Sweepstakes.
Williamson is the ultra-talented 6-7, 285-pound power forward from Duke who is guaranteed to become the No. 1 overall pick in the June NBA Draft. Analysts are also predicting that Williamson is a lock to become a franchise-type player for many years to come along the likes of a LeBron James.
Of course, the Mavs are hoping to be the team that will win the draft lottery so they can select Williamson and pair him with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis and become one of the NBA’s dynamic trios. And under the new lottery system that the NBA Board of Governors approved in September of 2017, the playing field has been leveled so that the teams with the three worst records in the regular season will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery.
The team with the fourth-worst record has a 12.5 percent chance of winning the lottery, the fifth-worst team has a 10.5 percent chance at winning the lottery, and the team with the sixth-worst record has a nine percent chance of winning the lottery.
The Mavs, who play the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday at Oracle Arena at 7:30 p.m., currently have the sixth-worst record at 28-44. However, their draft lottery status comes with a twist.
On the night of last summer’s draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Doncic third overall and the Mavs drafted Trey Young fifth overall. The Mavs then acquired the rights to Doncic in a trade with the Hawks for the rights to Young and a top-five protected No. 1 pick in this coming June’s NBA Draft.
Basically, that means if the Mavs’ selection in this year’s draft lottery isn’t among the top five picks, that draft spot will go directly to the Hawks. But if it is among the top five picks, then the Mavs will get the keep it and Atlanta will receive the Mavs’ first-round pick in 2020, regardless of where it falls in the draft lottery.
The NBA Draft Lottery will be held May 14 in Chicago and the NBA Draft will take place on June 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.