2023 NBA Draft & Lottery Odds

2023 NBA Draft & Lottery Odds
Nicholas Berault
Written by Nicholas Berault
April 10, 2023

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While the top teams in the NBA get the spotlight during their chase for playoff seeding and an NBA title, there’s an equally competitive race at the bottom of the standings in preparation for the 2023 Draft Lottery. The annual tradition of tanking your season in favor of more ping pong balls with your team’s logo is in full swing for 2023.

The teams not making the postseason are entered into the lottery to determine the draft order for picks 1-14. The three teams with the worst records have a 14% chance of receiving the #1 pick, the highest odds among lottery contestants. The lottery system determines the top four picks, and the rest of the draft order is set based on team records in the previous season.

Teams will learn their fate on May 16, which typically falls around the midway point in the postseason for those still involved. The draft will take place on June 22. We’ll preview the favorites and long shots to win the top pick, review the top prospects, and discuss how to approach placing bets during the build-up to the 2023 NBA Draft.

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First, let's take a look at the odds from over at FanDuel Sportsbook as of April 10.

Current Odds - 1st Overall Pick in 2023 NBA Draft

Latest Odds from FanDuel SportsBook

Player Odds
Victor Wembanyama -20000
Scoot Henderson +2500
Brandon Miller +12000
Amen Thompson +20000
Gregory Jackson +20000
Cam Whitmore +20000
Marcus Sasser +20000
Gradey Dick +20000
Kris Murray +20000
Anthony Black +20000
Kyle Filipowski +20000
Nick Smith +20000
Cason Wallace +20000
Ausar Thompson +20000
Leonard Miller +20000
Keyonte George +20000

Recapping the 2022 Draft

The Orlando Magic were awarded the first pick in 2022 after finishing 22-60 last season. Oklahoma City was two games ahead of Orlando in the standings, fourth-worst overall, and they drew the second slot. The Houston Rockets, the basement-dwellers in last year’s standings, were awarded the third pick, followed by the Sacramento Kings in fourth.

The Magic selected Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the first pick. The 6’10” power forward averages nearly 20 pints per game and is the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year. The Thunder drafted Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga second overall, but the lanky rookie suffered a season-ending injury in August during a pro-am event in Seattle.

Auburn Tiger Jabari Smith Jr. was selected third by the Rockets, with Iowa’s Keegan Murray going forth to Sacramento. Jaden Ivey from Purdue stayed in the midwest as the Detroit Pistons took him fifth.

Smith was the favorite to go first overall for most of the time between the lottery and draft night, and Orlando surprised many NBA insiders with the Banchero pick. The Kings taking Murray fourth and allowing Ivey to fall to Detroit at the fifth spot was also an unforeseen outcome, with the Boilermaker guard considered a lock to go in the top four.

Teams with the Best Chance to Win the Lottery

Houston, Detroit, and San Antonio are beginning to separate themselves for those coveted spots at the top of the lottery board. The combined record for these three teams in January and February this season was 11-63, including just four wins in 32 February games. The tank is undoubtedly on.

Charlotte was among this group until that abysmal stretch for the bottom three teams in February. They’ve now settled into the fourth-worst record in the league, and there is a healthy margin between them and teams like Orlando, Indiana, and Oklahoma City.

Top Prospects

Not since LeBron James in 2003 has there been a clearer option at the top of an NBA draft class. France’s Victor Wembanyama has been touted as one of the best prospects in years, and even LeBron James weighed in last summer with his take on the rising phenom.

“Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, well he’s more like an alien,” was James’ quote during last year’s Summer League in Las Vegas. The 7’4” 19-year-old has since had multiple games on ESPN networks while playing for French club Metropolitans 92, and the hype has only continued to grow. As a result, he is a comically large favorite to be taken with the first pick in June.

The players around Wembanyama at the top of the draft include non-college players like G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson and two brothers that play for Overtime Elite, Amen, and Ausar Thompson. These three players will all likely hear their names called within the top five picks on draft night.

According to ESPN's Best Available Players, Arkansas teammates Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black are considered lottery picks. They’re joined by other top college players such as Houston’s Jarace Walker, Baylor’s Keyonte George, Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, and Brandon Miller of Alabama. Including those six, the top dozen or so draft prospects at the collegiate level are all freshmen.

2023 Long Shots

The best example of a recent surprise in the NBA Draft Lottery dates back to 2008, when the Chicago Bulls won the right to pick first despite having just a 1.7% chance. They selected Derrick Rose from Memphis, who became the youngest MVP in league history during the 2010-11 season.

The Bulls had the ninth-best odds in that 2008 lottery, a position they could once again occupy in 2023 based on their record with 20 games to go. Chicago is among a group of teams that includes the Lakers, Jazz, Trailblazers, and Wizards in the bottom half of the draft lottery.

The Orlando Magic will be around the fifth-best odds to win the lottery this season. According to an NBC Sports piece, they became the first team to win back-to-back lotteries in 1992-93.

Their improbable win in 1993 came with the longest odds of any team to get the first pick, just 1.5%. The only other team to win consecutive lotteries is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who did so in 2013-14.

2023 Best Bets

Sportsbooks have expanded their wagering options for the upcoming NBA Draft, including offering odds for the team to win the lottery and players to go first, second, and third on draft night. One thing that has remained constant over the last few months is Victor Wembanyama’s name being synonymous with the top pick in the draft, regardless of which team is at the front of the line.

As we covered in the original piece, three teams will have a 14% chance to win the right to select first on draft night. The Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs are the lucky three who did their part during the regular season to ensure they’re well-positioned to land Wembanyama. Each team has +550 odds of accomplishing that goal. Charlotte (+650), Portland (+800), and Orlando (+1000) are the other teams with odds of +1000 or shorter and have the best chance of upsetting the top three.

At the second overall pick, G League Ignite’s Scoot Henderson is the odds-on favorite over Alabama forward Brandon Miller. Miller is the plus-money favorite to go third, though the competition with players like Amen and Ausar Thompson from Overtime Elite and Houston’s Jarace Walker is tighter.

After abstaining from making best bets last time, we’ve got a pair of picks for the upcoming lottery and draft nights:

  • To Win the Lottery: San Antonio +550
  • Player to be Taken 2nd Overall: Scoot Henderson -290 (FanDuel)

A Look at Previous #1 Picks in the NBA Draft

Are you an NBA history buff? If so, you'll love the following list. We've compiled all No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft from 2005 to 2022.

Year Player Team
2005 Andrew Bogut Milwaukee Bucks
2006 Andrea Bargnani Toronto Raptors
2007 Greg Oden Portland Trail Blazers
2008 Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls
2009 Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers
2010 John Wall Washington Wizards
2011 Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers
2012 Anthony Davis New Orleans Hornets
2013 Anthony Bennett Cleveland Cavaliers
2014 Andrew Wiggins Cleveland Cavaliers (traded to Minnesota Timberwolves)
2015 Karl-Anthony Towns Minnesota Timberwolves
2016 Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers
2017 Markelle Fultz Philadelphia 76ers
2018 Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns
2019 Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans
2020 Anthony Edwards Minnesota Timberwolves
2021 Cade Cunningham Detroit Pistons
2022 Paolo Banchero Orlando Magic


Have questions about the NBA Draft or the Lottery process? We've got answers! The following section was created to give you a quick way to find the info you need.

How long has the NBA Draft been in existence?

The NBA Draft has been in existence since 1947, which means it has been a part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for over 75 years. The first NBA Draft consisted of 11 rounds and was held on April 30, 1947, at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. Clifton McNeely, a guard from Texas Wesleyan University, was the first player ever selected in the NBA Draft, going first overall to the Pittsburgh Ironmen. Over the years, the NBA Draft has undergone numerous changes, including the number of rounds, the eligibility rules for players, and the methods used to determine the draft order. However, the basic concept of the draft, which allows teams to select amateur basketball players to join their roster, has remained the same.

What NBA team has had the most #1 overall draft picks?

The team with the most #1 overall draft picks in NBA history is the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a total of four #1 overall picks. The Cavaliers selected Austin Carr in 1971, Brad Daugherty in 1986, LeBron James in 2003, and Kyrie Irving in 2011. The Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards are tied for the second-most #1 overall draft picks, with three each. Other teams with multiple #1 overall picks include the Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, and Houston Rockets.

What #1 overall NBA draft pick is considered the biggest bust in history?

There have been several #1 overall NBA draft picks who did not live up to expectations and were considered busts, but one of the most frequently cited is Greg Oden. Oden was selected as the #1 overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 NBA Draft, ahead of players like Kevin Durant and Al Horford. Oden was a highly-touted prospect due to his size, strength, and skill, but he struggled with injuries throughout his career and was never able to fulfill his potential. Oden played in just 105 games over five seasons in the NBA, averaging 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. Meanwhile, Durant, who was selected second overall in the same draft, has become one of the best players in NBA history, winning four scoring titles, two NBA championships, and an NBA Most Valuable Player award.

How does the NBA lottery work?

The NBA Draft Lottery is a process used by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to determine the draft order for the teams that did not make the playoffs in the previous season. The lottery is designed to discourage teams from intentionally losing games in order to secure a better draft pick.

Here's how the NBA Draft Lottery works:

Fourteen teams that did not make the playoffs are entered into the lottery. The teams are assigned a certain number of lottery balls based on their record; the team with the worst record gets the most lottery balls (14), while the team with the best record of the non-playoff teams gets the fewest (1).

The lottery is conducted in private by an independent accounting firm, with representatives from all 14 teams present. The lottery balls are placed in a machine and randomly drawn to determine the order of the top three picks.

The remaining 11 teams are then slotted in reverse order of their regular-season record. The team with the worst record of the non-playoff teams will receive the fourth overall pick, followed by the fifth-worst team, and so on.

The draft order is used for the first round of the NBA Draft, with the team that wins the lottery receiving the first overall pick. The order for the second round is based on the reverse order of the first round, with the team that had the last pick in the first round receiving the first pick in the second round.

The NBA Draft Lottery has been in place since 1985, and it has undergone a few changes over the years to prevent tanking and promote competitive balance. However, it remains a popular and exciting event for NBA fans and teams alike.

When did the NBA draft switch to a two-round format?

The NBA draft switched to a two-round format in 1989. Prior to that, the draft had multiple rounds, with the number of rounds varying from year to year. The number of rounds ranged from three in the early years of the draft to as many as 21 in 1974. However, starting in 1989, the draft was reduced to two rounds, which remains the format used today. The change was made in an effort to make the draft more efficient and to reduce the number of players selected who would not make NBA rosters. By limiting the number of rounds, teams are forced to be more selective with their picks, and the overall quality of the players selected tends to be higher.

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