Tonight the stakes cannot be higher for the Houston Rockets. When the NBA’s draft lottery begins at 7:30 pm central time, the future of the entire franchise will hinge on the balance and bounces of ping-pong balls.
Why the Houston Rockets’ future hinges on the NBA draft lottery
When the Rockets traded for Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2019 they sent the Oklahoma City Thunder Chris Paul, their 2024 and 2026 first-round picks, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025 with all of the picks and swaps being top-four protected. While a straight swap between the Thunder and Rockets wouldn’t be the end of the world, as the Thunder finished near the bottom of the league as well, the Thunder can swap the Miami Heat’s 2021 first-round pick with the Rockets instead of their own.
The Heat are set to have the 18th pick, which is what makes this draft lottery one of the most consequential in the history of the Rockets franchise. Unfortunately for the Rockets, the chances they keep their pick are almost as good as their chances of entirely sliding out of the lottery.
What the Houston Rockets chances are at the NBA Draft Lottery
The chances that the Rockets hold onto their pick, by virtue of it landing in the top-four, are set at 52.1-percent. While that is slightly better than a coin’s flip chance at landing a premium prospect, it also means there is an almost 48-percent chance that the Rockets rebuild is extended by at least another year.
Due to the NBA’s draft lottery odds the worst pick the Rockets, by virtue of having the worst record in the league, can land is the fifth pick but they have the same chances of securing picks one through four as the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic. In a cruel twist of fate, the most likely place for the Rockets to land in the draft is at number five.
However, the Rockets currently have a 14-percent chance to land the number one overall pick, a 13.4-percent chance at number two, a 12.7-percent chance at number three, and an 11.9-percent chance to snag the fourth pick. The Rockets’ future hinges on chance right now.
If they’re lucky they’ll walk away from the NBA draft lottery with the number one overall pick and a shot at the prospect of their choosing. Even if the Rockets lose out on the top pick, anything but the fifth pick has to be viewed as a victory.
There will be a justified amount of anxiety surrounding the Rockets franchise until the draft lottery concludes. The wait is over almost. Tonight the future of the franchise will be solidified with everything left to chance.