Houston Rockets draft odds: What are the chances of landing the #1 pick?

Adam Silver, Houston Rockets (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Adam Silver, Houston Rockets (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

A lot of eyes will be on the May 16th NBA Draft lottery, where the trajectory of several teams is at stake, particularly the Houston Rockets. The Rockets had an ugly season that saw them underachieve relative to their talent. That isn’t unusual for a young team, but they went just 22-60 this season after going 20-62 last season.

It’s not all bad for the Rockets, however. Their struggles could ironically result in them drafting their next superstar. 7’3 center Victor Wembanyama is the likely number-one pick in this year’s draft, and the Rockets, along with the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs, share the top odds to land the number-one overall pick in the draft lottery.

The Rockets did at least finish the season on a fairly high note. They won four of their final five games, though that resulted in the Spurs making up ground and tying them for the second-worst record in the league. That could potentially come back to bite Houston since the tiebreaker procedure for the NBA draft lottery is a random coin flip. That will decide which team has the second-best lottery odds.

Houston Rockets full 2023 NBA Draft Lottery odds

To reiterate, the Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and Spurs all have matching odds for the first four picks. Here, take a look:

  • 1st pick: 14%
  • 2nd pick: 13.4%
  • 3rd pick: 12.7%
  • 4th pick: 12%

Considering the quality of the top four prospects in this draft, each team is in a prime position to select a great young player. Despite that, Houston, Detroit, and San Antonio technically only have a 52.1% chance at a top-four pick, including a 14% chance at #1. Then there is the consequential upcoming coin toss between the Rockets and Spurs. Here is what their chances will look like if the Rockets win:

  • 5th pick-27.8%
  • 6th pick-20%

On the flip side (pun absolutely intended), if the Rockets lose the coin flip, then the odds of Houston selecting five-seven are the following:

  • 5th pick: 14.8%
  • 6th pick: 26%
  • 7th pick: 7%

The difference between the second and third in the draft order is small but notable. After all, finishing third has more downside. If Houston were to win the coin flip, then they’d be guaranteed a top-six pick, with the odds of selecting fifth being the highest. Meanwhile, San Antonio would be guaranteed a top-seven selection and would have higher odds of picking sixth.

Overall, Rockets fans should be hoping that their team wins the coin flip. Although losing wouldn’t affect their chances of picking first overall, it would increase the odds that their selection falls out of the top five.

Update: the Houston Rockets won the tie-breaker and will have the second-best lottery odds.

Next. NBA Mock Draft. dark

Given everything that Houston has gone through this season, anything that would limit the likelihood of a disappointing draft lottery would be welcome. That being said, the draft lottery will come down to random chance, but if luck is on their side, then they could select first in this year’s draft.