Pacers fans were understandably upset. The team should have lost the game to New York yesterday to have the best odds in the lottery. But just how big of a deal was it?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
We have the data to actually analyze how big of a loss this was using two sets of data. The first is the odds we have at every lottery pick in the top four. The second is the data of how often each pick in the draft produces an all-star player. So let’s first look at the odds the Pacers had if they lost versus the odds they have with the win.
In a loss the Pacers would have had a 37.2% chance at a to- four pick in the NBA draft and would have most likely picked at the 6.5th spot in the draft. The Pacers secured a 29% chance at a top-four pick in the NBA draft in a win. So in total, the Pacers lost nearly 8.3% of a chance of securing a top-four pick in the NBA draft.
Now if we assume that the Pacers are going to pick with the 7.5th pick in the NBA draft (given they are currently tied with Washington), we can look at the odds of picking an All-Star level player at their current draft position against the odds of picking an All-Star level player in the first four.
Here are the odds of being an All-Star by pick number (source here).
So I actually used both of these datasets in order to do the math on just how much of a chance at an All-Star in a loss yesterday the Pacers lost.
So at the 6.5th spot in the draft, given the lottery odds at the 6.5th spot in the draft, the Pacers would have had a 23% chance at drafting a future All-Star.
At the 7.5th spot in the draft? The Pacers are sitting at a 16% chance of drafting a future All-Star. They actually lost nearly 7% of their odds at drafting an All-Star by winning the final game of the season.
Some might say that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but All-Star players aren’t found everyday. The poor team management of the franchise could have cost us big in the long run.