Nuggets seeking to beat long odds at NBA Draft Lottery

Denver can become fourth team in history to move from double-digits to top-three
by Aaron Lopez

In 1990, the Seattle SuperSonics vaulted from the 10th overall pick in the NBA Draft to No. 2, via the draft lottery.

Three years later, the Orlando Magic hit pay dirt by jumping from 11th to first.

And in 1999, the Charlotte Hornets beat the odds, going from No. 13 to No. 3.

In less than two weeks, the Denver Nuggets will be seeking to become the fourth team in NBA history with the good fortune of swapping a double-digit draft position for a top-three pick.

The Nuggets currently sit at No. 11 on the draft board and the probability chart gives them a 90.74 percent chance of staying in that slot when the draft lottery is held on May 20.

In most years, the Nuggets would have a 0.8 percent chance of landing the top overall pick, but it jumps to 1.5 percent this year because they also own the rights to the New York Knicks’ seven lottery combinations as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011.

Denver will send the worse of its two first-round picks to Orlando as part of the Dwight Howard-Andre Iguodala-Arron Afflalo trade in 2012.

If the Nuggets don’t land the top pick, they still have a 1.78 percent chance of jumping to second and a 2.16 percent chance of picking third – thanks, once again, to their ownership of New York’s lottery combinations.

Long odds, yes. Impossible, no.

Other examples include Chicago (No. 9 to No. 1 in 2008), Portland (No. 7 to No. 1 in 2007) and New Jersey (No. 7 to No. 1 in 2000).

But since Charlotte caught lightning in a bottle in 1999, no team slotted 10th or higher has landed a top-three pick, which leads to another theory of probability.

It’s due to happen again soon.