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Winners and losers of NBA draft lottery: What Hawks' win means for top picks, NBA

The NBA draft offers hope 鈥 hope that better days are ahead for some teams or hope that success can be sustained for other teams.

It鈥檚 hope in a No. 1 pick such as Victor Wembanyama in 2023 or a 13th pick such as Donovan Mitchell in 2017 or a No. 3 pick such as in 2018.

The won Sunday鈥檚 NBA draft lottery against the odds; They had a 3% chance of winning the No. 1 pick and the ping pong balls came up with their numbers. Washington landed the No. 2 pick, followed by Houston at No. 3, San Antonio at No. 4 and Detroit at No. 5.

Here are the winners and losers of the NBA draft lottery:

Winners

Atlanta Hawks

A 3% chance is not Mega Millions odds, but it鈥檚 still unlikely. Heck, the Hawks had just a 13.88% to get a top-four pick and just four teams have won the draft lottery with worse odds than Atlanta. Now, the Hawks have the No. 1 pick for the first time since 1975 when they selected David Thompson. Atlanta general manager Landry Fields and his staff need to figure out who they want to pick in a draft with no consensus No. 1 pick, although Frenchmen Alex Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher are the top two picks in several mock drafts.

San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs have two lottery picks 鈥 No. 4 and No. 8. The fourth pick is because they finished 22-60 and a had a 42.11% chance of winning a top-four pick. The No. 8 pick comes from Toronto. It was a top-six protected pick but because Houston and Atlanta moved into the top four, Toronto was pushed out of the top six, conveying that pick to the Spurs. The pick was traded to San Antonio in the deal that sent Jakob Poeltl and Khem Birch from San Antonio to Toronto at the 2023 trade deadline. They can add talent to help 2023 No. 1 pick and 2024 rookie of the year Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs鈥 generational big man.

Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets have two first-round picks in 2023 (Amen Thompson at No. 4 and Cam Whitmore at No. 20) and made improvement in 2023-24, finishing 41-41 and flirting with a postseason appearance for much of the season. They missed the postseason and were slotted into the ninth pick and 12th pick before the lottery. The No. 9 pick came from Brooklyn (as part of the 2021 James Harden trade) and the No. 12 pick was theirs. With a 20.27% chance to move into the top four with the Brooklyn, the Rockets, like the Hawks, had luck on their side. However, the Rockets had to convey the No. 12 pick to Oklahoma City because it's top-four protected.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder had the league鈥檚 second-best record but they have been stockpiling first-round picks. When they traded Russell Westbrook to Houston in 2019, the Thunder received a 2024 first-round pick from the Rockets that was top-four protected. Because that pick didn鈥檛 move into the top four, the Thunder get the pick, giving a team with a impressive history of strong scouting and drafting an opportunity to add another quality player to a contender.

Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards had the second-best odds to win the No. 2 pick, and that鈥檚 what happened. Team president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins are searching for short- and long-term roster answers. Last year, the Wizards selected forward Bilal Coulibaly of 91影视, and he produced a solid rookie season, averaging 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds and showing potential to become a solid two-way player for the Wizards.

Losers

Detroit Pistons

For the second consecutive season, the Detroit Pistons had the NBA鈥檚 worst record, and for the second consecutive year, the Pistons slid in the draft lottery. The Pistons had a 50-50 shot of landing a top-four pick and fell to the No. 5 pick. The sting lessened a bit because there鈥檚 not a Wembanyama in this year鈥檚 draft, and the Pistons can still draft a productive player at No. 5. But, fact is, the ping pong balls did not bounce the Pistons鈥 way.

Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors just needed to lottery odds to stay true to form. That didn鈥檛 happen when Atlanta and Houston moved into the top four, knocking the Raptors out of the top the No. 6 鈥 and that means they convey that pick to San Antonio as part of the aforementioned Poeltl trade in 2023. Toronto still has a first-round pick (No. 19 from Indiana as part of the deal that sent Pascal Siakam from Toronto to the Pacers at the 2024 trade deadline).

Charlotte Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets, with new ownership (Rick Schnall, Gabe Plotkin), a new vice president of basketball operations (Jeff Peterson) and a new coach (Charles Lee), had the third-best odds to win the No. 1 pick and a 50.28% chance to land a top-four pick. Instead, the Hornets fell to No. 6 as they look to build around LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller.

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