Home Sports Orlando Magic land the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery, with the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2

Orlando Magic land the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery, with the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2

by staff

CHICAGO — The Orlando Magic won the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night and landed the No. 1 pick for the first time since they got Dwight Howard in 2004.

It’s the fourth time lottery luck struck for the Magic, who won in back-to-back years in 1992 and 1993, taking Shaquille O’Neal and then trading the rights to Chris Webber for Penny Hardaway.

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The Magic finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 22-60 and missed the playoffs for the eighth time in 10 years. But they got a huge win in the lottery, which they had a 14% chance of winning.

Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey and Auburn’s Jabari Smith are considered the most likely candidates to be taken first. The draft is June 23 in New York.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder got the second pick, followed by the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings.

The Detroit Pistons pick fifth, with the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards rounding out the top 10. The rest of the lottery results had the New York Knicks, the Thunder, the Charlotte Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The lottery, with 14 ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 placed into a hopper, sets the first four picks. The remainder of the non-playoff teams go in reverse order of finish.

The Rockets, Magic and Pistons had the best odds of winning the lottery at 14%. All three had young teams that finished at the bottom of the NBA.

The Magic are committed to building through the draft after trading veterans Nikola Vučević and Aaron Gordon in March 2021 for first-round draft picks in 2023 and 2025. But this past season they were missing two of the young players they are trying to build around with Jonathan Issac and Markelle Fultz recovering from knee injuries.

The Pelicans might be one of the biggest winners as the lone playoff team with a lottery pick. They got it in the 2019 trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the Lakers struggling to a 33-49 record, eighth-worst in the NBA, that put the Pelicans in position to cash in. They needed the pick to fall in the top 10 in order to keep it, and there was a 99.6% chance of that.

Now they’re in position to add a lottery pick to go with All-Star Brandon Ingram.

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Banchero, Holmgren and Smith decided to turn pro after one college season, while Ivey spent two years at Purdue.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Banchero was viewed as a likely one-and-done player before he arrived at Duke from Seattle as part of a talented recruited class. He lived up to it, helping the Blue Devils reach now-retired coach Mike Krzyzewski’s record 13th Final Four before losing to archrival North Carolina.

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