2024 NBA Draft Lottery Winners, Losers: Do the Basketball Gods Hate Detroit?

Winning the NBA draft lottery might matter less this year — this is a draft with some diamonds in the rough but no clear franchise cornerstones. No Victor Wembanyama or Anthony Edwards are at the top of this draft. This project will focus on intelligent assessment and player development.

Still, it’s better to win the lottery than lose it: a GM can get a clear picture and a chance against his guy.

Look at our winners and losers 2024 NBA Draft Lottery Sunday in Chicago.

LOSER: Detroit Pistons

Why do the basketball gods hate Detroit?

For the second year in a row, they had the worst record in the NBA and, with that, the best chance at the No. 1 seed. For the second year in a row, the Pistons have moved back to fifth place – as far back as possible in the NBA system. Two years ago, in the Paolo Banchero/Chet Holmgren draft, the Pistons had the third-worst record in the NBA and…slipped to fifth in the lottery. This June will be three consecutive years at No. 5.

NBA pundits and analysts like to point out the smart draft picks and player development that brought Minnesota and Oklahoma City in the heart of the second round of the playoffs – but both were also lucky. Minnesota won the lottery twice and drafted Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns. Oklahoma City lucked into the lottery with the No. 2 pick and selected Holmgren, a key part of its success this season.

Detroit cannot take a break. They did it with Cade Cunningham a few years ago, but the last two years have been brutal, and it’s a lot harder to build a winner when the breaks are going against you.

WINNER: Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks had a 3% chance of the No. 1 pick and less than a 10% chance of landing in the top three.

Atlanta is now on the clock – and will be until June 27. They got the No. 1 pick for the first time in franchise history.

The timing fits what should be an offseason of roster shake-ups — Atlanta should try to trade Trae Young, and if not him, Dejounte Murray, then retool the roster. Having the No. 1 pick — whether they use it on a wing like Zaccharie Risacher or a five-man center who can protect the rim like Alex Sarr, or someone else — allows the Hawks to have a player quality that can be part of any Quin. Snyder and team will build in Atlanta.

A smart trade that brings back quality players who fit better, plus a good No. 1 draft pick, and suddenly the Hawks’ future looks a lot brighter.

LOSER: Toronto Raptors

Their pick was protected in the top six and they had a 46% chance of keeping it or moving up. They did not do it. The Raptors – after some ugly late-season games looking to improve their chances of retaining the pick – have slipped to eighth overall in the draft, meaning their pick goes to the Spurs this year.

The Raptors will still pick 19th, using the Pacers’ pick.

This leaves Toronto with an interesting choice as they now control their pick for next year (if they had held him this year, the Spurs would have gotten him next year). There’s talent on the roster — Scottie Barnes, RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley — but if things start slow, would the Raptors be better off tanking and getting the best lottery odds possible? The 2025 draft is expected to have franchise players at the top of the rankings.

WINNER: Houston Rockets

Houston does not want to use its selection this year, he intends to trade him for future selections as they use free agency to attract players who can help them more now.

Trading the pick became a lot easier because the Brooklyn Nets’ pick owned by the Rockets moved to No. 3. (The Rockets’ own pick is going to the Spurs this year in a separate transaction.) Dealing a pick in what is not considered a strong draft pick. at the top isn’t ideal, but doing it at #3 is way better than if they had the #8 pick or something later.

WINNER: Washington Wizards

The equation here is simple: the Washington Wizards desperately need more talent on the roster, ideally young athletic talent. Washington now has the No. 2 pick, where they can find someone who fits that mold.

There are many other things that need to change in Washington as well, but this is a good start.