Heading into the annual NBA Draft Lottery set to take place prior to the start of Tuesday night’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup, there is no top consensus, LeBron James, Zion Williamson, or otherwise top-regarded No. 1 prospect in the incoming class.
Instead, there are several players who help compose a strong top half of the lottery.
Whether it’s Chet Holmgren’s length and skill that impress, or Jabari Smith’s scoring prowess that intrigues, there’s plenty of talent to go around.
Despite not having a generational prospect everyone agrees should be the first player off the board, teams are still as eager as ever to land the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Here are the five teams who are in the most desperate need of either winning or improving their lottery standing later tonight.
Detroit Pistons add more horsepower
Detroit Pistons’ odds to win lottery: 14% – Third-best odds
Although their 2021-22 season didn’t get the results the Detroit Pistons wanted, they head into the offseason with a strong chance to improve their roster. Aside from the expected growth from Cade Cunningham (20 years old) and Saddiq Bey (23), they also have the second-most cap space in the NBA.
The Pistons will be better than their 23-59 record next year, but winning the lottery, and pairing Cunningham and Bey with a player like Holmgren could put them on an entirely new future path that gives them a chance to quickly become one of the better teams in the East. They’d be an extremely popular NBA League Pass choice heading into next season.
Sacramento Kings find their star
Sacramento Kings’ odds to win lottery: 7.5% – Seventh-best odds
Despite many chances, the Sacramento Kings haven’t been able to find a franchise cornerstone capable of elevating the squad to the playoffs. Trading Tyrese Haliburton was not a popular choice among the fanbase, but they did at least land a proven NBA All-Star, getting Domantas Sabonis in return.