Dan Feldman

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2017 NBA draft lottery odds, visualized


The Celtics are the most likely team to land the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

They’re also more likely to select fourth.

The NBA will hold its annual lottery tomorrow, a process for assigning the top three picks in the upcoming draft. Non-playoff teams are assigned four-number combinations, the number of combinations weighted inversely by standings. Then, four of 14 ping-pong balls are randomly drawn. Whichever team has its combination drawn is assigned the first pick. The process is repeated for picks two and three, and every other team is then slotted after in reverse order of record.

But just how likely is each team to land each pick? The calculations are complicated by a few trades:

  • Celtics swap first-round picks with Nets
  • 76ers receive Lakers’ first-round pick if it falls outside top three
  • 76ers can swap first-round picks with Kings
  • Kings receive Pelicans’ first-round pick if it falls outside top three
  • Bulls receive Kings’ first-round pick if it falls outside top 10

Thankfully, a couple people smarter than me – Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren and director of basketball analytics David Sparks – determined the actual odds. I turned those into these hopefully handy charts.

Only picks that a team could possibly get are displayed. If a team has a “0.0%” chance listed for a certain pick, it means landing the pick is possible but the odds are less than 0.05% and rounded down.

Boston Celtics


Phoenix Suns


Los Angeles Lakers


Philadelphia 76ers


Orlando Magic


Minnesota Timberwolves


New York Knicks


Sacramento Kings


Dallas Mavericks


New Orleans Pelicans


Charlotte Hornets

Detroit Pistons


Denver Nuggets


Miami Heat


Chicago Bulls


SMU’s Semi Ojeleye staying in 2017 NBA draft

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Semi Ojeleye looked like a man among boys as a 22-year-old in the American Athletic Conference.

How would the SMU forward handle the NBA?

We’ll find out.


Ojeleye is a borderline first-round pick. He dominated his competition last year, but he spent two nondescript seasons at Duke then transferred to SMU. He’s far from a lock to translate to the NBA.

Mostly a face-up power forward, Ojeleye has ideal strength for a forward. But he’s just 6-foot-7, and that’ll cause problems. With a solid jumper and ball-handling ability, he might offset those disadvantages. But his range might not yet extend beyond the NBA 3-point arc, and he’s not a very creative driver. Another big question: Will he raise his defensive intensity when not the primary offensive option – and with his height, how much will that matter?

There’s probably nothing more Ojeleye could prove in the AAC, so turning pro makes sense. But he’ll have numerous questions to answer in the NBA – though also a chance to do so successfully.

Kawhi Leonard joins +20/-20 on/off club in Spurs’ loss to Warriors

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It’d be an oversimplification to say the Spurs lost Game 1 of the Western Conference finals yesterday because Kawhi Leonard got hurt.

But not much of one.

San Antonio outscored the Warriors by 21 with Leonard on the court and got outscored by 23 when he sat.

That puts Leonard in a rare class – helping his team outscore a playoff opponent by 20 with him on the court and still losing. There are just 11 such cases since 2001 (as far as Basketball-Reference records go back):

Player Date Score On Off
Kawhi Leonard 5/14/2017 GSW 113, SAS 111 +21 -23
Mike Muscala 4/16/2017 WAS 114, ATL 107 +20 -27
J.J. Barea 4/24/2015 HOU 130, DAL 128 +22 -24
Kendrick Perkins 5/11/2014 LAC 101, OKC 99 +21 -23
Mirza Teletovic 4/30/2014 TOR 115, BRK 113 +31 -33
Joe Johnson 4/30/2014 TOR 115, BRK 113 +22 -24
Brian Scalabrine 5/4/2009 ORL 95, BOS 90 +22 -27
Sam Cassell 6/15/2008 LAL 103, BOS 98 +23 -28
Brent Barry 5/27/2008 LAL 93, SAS 91 +24 -26
Carlos Delfino 4/22/2008 ORL 104, TOR 103 +23 -24
Todd MacCulloch 5/25/2002 BOS 94, NJN 90 +27 -31

This wasn’t a team getting blitzed in the few minutes its star sat, the Thunder/Russell Westbrook special. This wasn’t a reserve who just happened to be on the court during two big runs.

This was the plan coming to fruition then a total disruption of that plan.

The Spurs led by 23 when Leonard got hurt in the third quarter, and they surely would’ve ridden him much more if he remained healthy. He left with 26 points on 7-of-13 shooting, eight rebounds and three assists – one of the most productive playoff games ever in such limited minutes – and a major “what if?”

Donatas Motiejunas denies suing Rockets

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Donatas Motiejunas had a rough free agency – a matched offer sheet, skipped physical and failed physical turning what was presented as a four-year, $37 million deal with the Nets into a prorated minimum salary from the Pelicans.

What’s next for the former Rockets restricted free agent?

Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

Now he is seeking legal restitution, sources told Sporting News. Motiejunas is in the midst of an arbitration action against the Rockets and the NBA that is close to wrapping up.

The conclusion of Motiejunas’ ordeal is nearing an end, expected to be a settlement, a source said, possibly coming next week.


A month ago we with the NBA Players Association and the Houston Rockets found an agreement and solved everything. There are no court proceedings between us. The information which was published on media is false.

The issue seems to be the headline of Deveney’s article: “Pelicans’ Donatas Motiejunas suing Rockets, NBA over contract saga, SN sources say.” Nothing within the article refers to a lawsuit. This appears to be a case of an editor mis-headlining an article.

I’d also guess there was an agreement between Motiejunas and the Rockets about a month ago, but that agreement hadn’t been finalized. Hence, Motiejunas was done a month ago and definitely not filing a lawsuit while Deveney still reports the arbitration will wrap up soon.

Cavaliers center Walter Tavares breaks hand in practice

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cavaliers backup center Walter Tavares broke his right hand during practice this week.

While the injury isn’t expected to hurt Cleveland going forward, it reinforced coach Tyronn Lue’s plan not to scrimmage while the defending champions await an opponent in the Eastern Conference finals.

The 7-foot-3 Tavares, who was signed on the final day of the regular season, broke his hand during an informal scrimmage Thursday. An X-ray and bone scan confirmed the injury. The team said the rookie is out indefinitely.

Lue said the Cavaliers, who swept their first two series, won’t scrimmage before playing either Washington or Boston in the conference finals starting Wednesday. The Wizards and Celtics play Game 7 of their semifinal series Monday.

Cleveland has had a rash of injuries to centers, with Chris “Birdman” Andersen and Andrew Bogut suffering season-ending knee injuries.