NBA Draft Lottery: Our Orlando Magic results from one spin per day

The NBA Draft Lottery is quickly approaching and the Orlando Magic are eagerly awaiting the results. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA Draft Lottery is quickly approaching and the Orlando Magic are eagerly awaiting the results. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

The conference finals are set after Sunday’s Game 7s in Boston and Phoenix.

The Boston Celtics are headed to Miami to take on the Miami Heat after they dispatched the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 on Sunday afternoon. And the Dallas Mavericks stunned the NBA by throttling the league-best Phoenix Suns to set up a date with the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

Those will tip off Tuesday in Miami to begin the NBA’s final four.

The other 26 teams are in full offseason mode now. Everyone will have some presence in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine beginning Monday. But the next big event for the NBA will happen just before the Eastern Conference Finals begin.

It is finally time for the Orlando Magic to have their moment in the sun. Or what they hope will be their moment in the sun.

The NBA Draft is finally here. The Orlando Magic will find out where they will pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday. Fate is out of their hands now.

Their offseason is finally about to get some clearer direction. All it will take is the right bounce of a ping pong ball and the right number combination to come up.

It is finally time for the NBA Draft Lottery — airing Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

The Magic finished with the second-worst record in the league, giving them the best odds to win the Draft Lottery — shared with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons. That will give the Magic a 14.0-percent chance to win the NBA Draft Lottery and a 52.1-percent chance to land in the top four.

Breaking things down even further, Orlando has a 13.4-percent chance of landing the second pick, a 12.7-percent chance of landing the third pick, an 11.9-percent chance of landing the fourth pick, a 27.8-percent chance of landing fifth (their best odds) and a 20-percent chance of landing sixth.

Yes, Orlando still has a one in five chance of the worst outcome they could face and land the sixth pick in the draft. It is a very real possibility even with the odds in the Magic’s favor.

It is always helpful too to understand exactly how the Lottery works.

Tankathon has become a popular site for draft junkies with a simple interface to simulate the Lottery (we will lean on them later in the post). But hitting a button and having a computer randomly select the winner of the Lottery based on the odds is not quite how the Lottery actually works.

It is instructive to see the Lottery actually in action:

The process of the Lottery is a bit different than hitting a button. The teams actually compete for a set of number combinations — that is more of the reason why standings position is more important.

The Lottery draw is actually a drawing of four numbers 1 through 14 to get a four-number combination. The team with that four-number combination is the team that wins the Lottery. This is how the Lottery actually works. And for a lot of teams, it is literally the difference of a 2 or a 3 coming out of the hopper last.

Things change very quickly in the Lottery room.

Despite the Magic having a lot of the odds in their favor will be sitting on pins and needles for the result.

Orlando had the best odds to win the Lottery last year and fell to the fifth pick, outside of the Lottery-drawn picks. The Magic have not selected a pick determined by the Lottery since drafting Victor Oladipo second in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Orlando has not improved its draft position in the Lottery since selecting Chris Webber in the miracle Lottery of 1993 (the team traded the pick to the Golden State Warriors for Anfernee Hardaway’s draft rights).

It has been a long time since the Magic have experienced any Lottery luck. They should be happy to land any of the top four picks and consider that a Lottery win.

Even in what is considered a somewhat weak draft class, the Magic could use some luck to cement some things on the roster and hopefully land a star player.

This is still all about chance. And as much as the odds might tilt slightly in the Magic’s favor, one spin can lead to some random results.

To help illustrate that, we have posted a single Tankathon spin every day since the reuglar season ended more than a month ago. The exercise was meant to show how the odds will even out over time, but also the randomness of taking one spin every day.

Our results (with an additional spin coming Monday and a final spin coming Tuesday):

1st – 5
2nd – 6
3rd – 2
4th – 7
5th – 4
6th – 10

It took 15 days before we had our first No. 1 pick spin, with six No. 6 spins coming before it. The Magic then got the first pick in two straight days.

In all, the Magic have won the first pick five times in our 34-day experiment (to date). That is 14.7-percent of the time. The Magic’s odds of winning the Lottery are 14-percent.

The most frequent pick we have gotten within the Lottery is the fourth pick seven times. But the most frequent pick overall is the worst outcome at sixth, getting that 10 times. That is above the expected average of 20-percent for a little more than 29-percent.

The way odds like this work is that over time the odds will play out to their average. But obviously with a smaller sample like 34 spins, there will be some deviations. But it is easy to see how everything is tending toward the Magic picking where the odds tell them if you spin multiple times.

But the trick is, of course, is that there is only one spin that matters. There is only one draw that matters. And that is the one that takes place Tuesday, May 17 shortly before 8 p.m.

And in one spin, anything can happen.

Good or bad, the Magic do figure to be in position to get a solid draft pick in the end.

Fans when asked who they would take seem as evenly split on the top three between Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren as the rest of the NBA. There are good arguments for all three.

After them, Shaedon Sharpe was getting the mst buzz among Magic fans. The Kentucky guard who sat out the year seems to have the star qualities Magic fans seem to want from this draft.

After him came a lot of responses for Bennedict Mathurin, Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murray.

For Magic fans, there is a clear top four preferred players. And the hop is that Tuesday will see the Magic in a position to get one of those players.

We will see whether the Magic agree on June 23.

Next. Making sense of Jonathan Isaac's contract status. dark

Of course, they need to see where they will pick first. And that remains anybody’s guess as the ping pong balls bounce.