Houston Rockets: The difference between the 1st and 4th pick in the draft

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28: (L-R) Anthony Davis, head coach John Calipari and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Kentucky Wildcats pose during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28: (L-R) Anthony Davis, head coach John Calipari and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Kentucky Wildcats pose during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic center Shaquille O”Neal (Credit: ALLSPORT USA /Allsport)

The Houston Rockets are apprehensively waiting for the NBA draft lottery on June 22nd. This lottery will have ripple effects on the franchise for years to come and could set them up for contention or see them lose out on a top-five pick altogether.

As part of the trade that netted the Rockets Russell Westbrook, they gave the Oklahoma City Thunder the right to swap first-round picks in 2021 if it fell out of the top four. At the time, the Rockets were championship contenders with James Harden locked up for years, so the franchise felt it was in no danger of being near the top of the draft.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst as Harden and Westbrook forced trades and the Rockets finished the season with the worst record in the league without the fate of their first-round pick being in their hands. The Rockets are guaranteed to land a pick within the top-five, but they only have a 52.1-percent chance of it landing in the top-four, and holding on to it.

Houston Rockets’ 2021 Draft Lottery Odds

1st           2nd           3rd           4th           5th

14%       13.4%        12.7%      11.9%       47.9%

While the franchise’s chances at a premium prospect remain a coin flip, they do own the best odds of landing the number one overall pick. Assuming the Rockets win that coin flip and land a pick in the top-four, what is the difference between the first pick and the second pick or the third pick and the fourth pick? The answer is both a little and a lot.

Next: The value of the 1st and 2nd pick

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