The NBA draft lottery has been kind to some.
And not so kind to others.
Since the event debuted in 1985, a total of nine franchises have never won the draft lottery: the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.
However, that number could shrink to eight by the end of Tuesday night.
The Thunder and Pacers are both in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery and have some of the best odds to win the No. 1 pick. Oklahoma City trails the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons – all of whom have a 14% chance at the top pick – with the fourth-best odds at 12.5%. And OKC’s odds are boosted by 1.5% thanks to the unprotected first-round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers they own via the Paul George trade.
This is the Thunder’s second straight draft lottery appearance, as Sam Presti continues to oversee an aggressive rebuild in OKC. The Thunder were tied for the fourth-best odds in last year’s lottery and landed sixth, where they selected the promising prospect Josh Giddey.
Not only have the Thunder never won the draft lottery, they’ve also never selected first overall in the franchise's 55-year history. The Thunder have picked second overall twice, getting Gary Payton in 1990 and Kevin Durant in 2007 when the franchise was still the Seattle SuperSonics. The highest the franchise has picked since relocating to Oklahoma City was when the Thunder nabbed James Harden third overall in 2009.
Meanwhile, the Pacers are also back in the lottery for a second straight year, but have much better odds this time around. Indiana had just a 1% chance at the top pick last year and wound up staying put in the No. 13 draft slot, where they picked Chris Duarte. Now, the Pacers are right behind the Thunder as the fifth and final team with at least a 10% chance at the No. 1 pick, sitting at 10.5%.
Like OKC, Indiana has never picked first overall in the franchise’s 46-year NBA history. The Pacers have drafted second overall three times, selecting Steve Stipanovich in 1983, Wayman Tisdale in 1985 and Rik Smits in 1988. The highest Indiana has picked since the lottery format was changed to a weighted system in 1990 was 10th, where they drafted Erick Dampier in 1996 and Paul George in 2010.
So will Lady Luck finally be on the side of the Pacers or Thunder? We’ll find out Tuesday.