The NBA draft lottery will take place on Tuesday, May 16, where 13 teams will cross their fingers hoping to not hear their name called where it’s supposed to be called.

For those unfamiliar with the event, the NBA uses a lottery system to determine draft order. One thousand lottery balls are placed in a tumbler (I think that’s the term), with teams being assigned lottery balls based on their odds. The Nuggets, at No. 13, have a 2.2 percent chance at a top three pick, which means that they have 22 lottery balls in the mix that could wind up granting them one of the first three picks. The Brooklyn Nets, who finished with the worst record in the league, have 643 lottery balls in the mix.

The order is announced from 14 to one, and things get really exciting if your team’s name isn’t called in the spot where they finished in the standings. Not hearing your name means you’ve won at least a top three pick, and you’ve moved up in the draft order.

This has never happened to the Nuggets.

For this mock draft, which will be the final one I’ll do before the lottery, I used Tankathon to simulate the lottery. I opened a new window in incognito mode, to eliminate any past results, and simulated the lottery once to get the order.

As always, a disclaimer that there is a high probability that all these predictions are wrong. Please comment below if you agree/disagree of have a prospect you’d like me to keep an eye on going forward.

Pick Team Player, Position, Team Notes
1 Orlando Magic Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
2 Philadelphia 76ers Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke from SAC
3 Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
4 Boston Celtics Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas from BRK
5 Phoenix Suns Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State
6 Sacramento Kings Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky from PHI
7 Minnesota Timberwolves Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
8 New York Knicks De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
9 Dallas Mavericks Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State
10 Sacramento Kings Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg from NOP
11 Charlotte Hornets Zach Collins, PF, Gonzaga
12 Detroit Pistons Justin Jackson, SF, UNC
13 Denver Nuggets OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
14 Miami Heat Terrance Ferguson, SF, Adelaide
15 Portland Trail Blazers Justin Patton, C, Creighton
16 Chicago Bulls Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
17 Milwaukee Bucks Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
18 Indiana Pacers Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
19 Atlanta Hawks Ivan Rabb, PF, California
20 Portland Trail Blazers Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State from MEM
21 Oklahoma City Thunder Harry Giles, PF, Duke
22 Brooklyn Nets Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA from WAS
23 Toronto Raptors Luke Kennard, G, Duke from LAC
24 Utah Jazz Tyler Lydon, SF, Syracuse
25 Orlando Magic TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA from TOR
26 Portland Trail Blazers Rodions Kurucs, SF, Barcelona from CLE
27 Brooklyn Nets Hamidou Diallo, SG, HS from BOS
28 Los Angeles Lakers Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky from HOU
29 San Antonio Spurs John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
30 Utah Jazz Josh Hart, SG, Villanova from GSW


Madness at the highest levels! Orlando jumped all the way to the top spot, with Sacramento jumping to the No. 2 spot, only to swap picks with Philadelphia. The Lakers thank their lucky stars they stay at No. 3, leaving the Celtics and Suns cursing their misfortune. While the 76ers would love to bump the Lakers out of the top three, they’ll take the second pick as a consolation prize.

The obvious choice for Orlando is Fultz. He is a magnificent prospect, and offers them the best chance at helping change their trajectory. They can either look to trade Elfriid Payton in the final year of his contract, or use Fultz to help negotiate a lower salary.

For Philadelphia, as long as Jayson Tatum is available, I think he’s their pick. The Colangelo’s have connections with USA Basketball (Tatum played for Team USA), and are close with Mike Krzyzewski (Tatum played for Duke). They’re already talking about playing Ben Simmons at point guard, they have Embiid at center, and Saric can play power forward.

That leaves Lonzo Ball to be selected by the Lakers. This is the only outcome for Ball, all other teams be warned.

If the Kings walk away with Malik Monk and Frank Ntilikina, it has to be considered a successful draft. They might not be ready in their first season, but that’s a great backcourt combination with Buddy Hield.

I would like to see the Nuggets try to trade up with the Knicks or Mavericks so they can take Jonathan Isaac. I think both of those teams could be talked into adding a veteran while still getting a rookie at No. 13, and the Nuggets might even be able to take on a bad contract in someone like Joakim Noah or Dwight Powell.

If they don’t move up, the Nuggets can take OG Anunoby and hope for a full recovery. Anunoby, if healthy, is a unique talent, and along with Isaac, could be a key part of the Nuggets future as contenders.

I think Donovan Mitchell is a great fit for the Bucks, but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. That team could be lethal with another excellent defender to add to their roster. A lineup of Mitchell-Middleton-Antetokounmpo-Parker-Maker is ridiculous.

Portland has a lot of picks, and I could see them try to move up for an earlier selection. If they don’t, they can afford to take a couple guys that can be decent backups, and take a gamble on a foreign player. Patton looked better before Mo Watson Jr. went down with an injury, and Morris is a guard that can run a second unit without turning the ball over.

The Nets don’t have a first round pick next season, owing their pick to the Boston Celtics. As such, they can take a gamble on two of the youngest players in the draft in Anigbogu and Diallo. Kenny Atkinson has shown to be a fine coach, and the Nets can afford to be patient with the talent they have on their roster.

With the Magic adding TJ Leaf and the Lakers adding Bam Adebayo, they give their young guards a player to develop alongside in the frontcourt. They are very different players, but could be good fits with their respective organizations.

Check out the last mock draft for some second round prospects I like.

You know we’ll keep you posted on what the Nuggets do in preparation for the draft here at Denver Stiffs. Be sure to come back as well for updated Big Boards from Ryan Blackburn and myself, as well as a few more mock drafts before that wonderful June evening.