Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (2024)

Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery

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    Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (1)

    Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

    The order of the 2024 NBA draft is set.

    After Sunday's lottery, the Atlanta Hawks are locked into the No. 1 pick, with the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs rounding out the top four.

    Now that we know the full order, we can talk a bit more definitively about who fits where, which player should go first and how the draft will generally play out.

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    In the wake of that being established, there are several winners and losers from around the league. And the biggest in each category can be found below.

Loser: Detroit Pistons

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    The Detroit Pistons have been dreadful for half a decade.

    Over the last five years, they've won just 24.5 percent of their games. That's dead-last in the league over that span, and the gap between them and 29th place is about the same as the gap between 29th and 16th.

    In 2023-24 alone, the Pistons were 14-68, giving themselves the worst record in the league and the best odds to secure the No. 1 pick.

    But the Atlanta Hawks jumped nine spots in the lottery to wind up with the first pick despite having the 10th-best odds. The Houston Rockets jumped six spots to third, and the San Antonio Spurs snuck up one spot to fourth.

    That pushed Detroit to the fringe of the top five. And its recent history there is tough to get excited about.

    The jury is still out on Ausar Thompson (chosen fifth last summer) and Jaden Ivey (fifth the year before). The same can probably be said of Cade Cunningham, who was the top overall pick in 2021. The two first-rounders taken before him, Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya, are both currently out of the NBA.

    After all these years of bad basketball, the Pistons still don't have a single sure-fire star. And though this class may not have had one, either, it would've been nice to look from the top spot rather than the fifth.

Winner: San Antonio Spurs

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    Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (3)

    Victor WembanyamaPhotos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

    The San Antonio Spurs already won what was likely the lottery of the decade in 2023, when they secured the right to take Victor Wembanyama first overall.

    Somehow, that wasn't quite enough good fortune from the basketball gods. They smiled upon one of the most successful franchises in league history again on Sunday, nudging them up one spot from fifth to fourth.

    That may not sound like a huge move. In a lot of years, it wouldn't be. But there are summers when that little jump can make a huge difference.

    In 2005, Chris Paul was taken with the fourth overall pick. Raymond Felton, Martell Webster, Charlie Villanueva, Channing Frye and Ike Diogu were the next five. They combined for less than a third of the career value over replacement player that CP3 piled up.

Loser: Charlotte Hornets

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    Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (4)

    LaMelo BallVaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

    The Charlotte Hornets' situation isn't quite as dire as Detroit's. LaMelo Ball has already made an All-Star team, and Brandon Miller showed plenty of three-and-D-plus upside as a rookie in 2023-24.

    If Ball and rim-protector Mark Williams can stay healthy going forward, the Hornets will have the makings of a pretty strong guard-wing-big combo.

    Still, it would've been nice to add to that mix with a top-three pick. And after Sunday, despite having the third-best odds to wind up first, Charlotte finds itself outside the top five.

    There's always a chance to find a star with the sixth pick, but those chances get a little slimmer with each spot you fall. The Hornets dropped three.

Winner: Houston Rockets

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    Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (5)

    Alperen Şengün and Jabari Smith Jr.Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

    There were a couple stretches this season when it looked like the Houston Rockets would have a real shot to make the postseason.

    Offseason additions of veterans like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks made a difference in that pursuit, but the bigger factors were new coach Ime Udoka and a young core that looks way ahead of schedule.

    Alperen Şengün had a fringe All-Star case as a scoring and playmaking big. Jalen Green broke out as a volume scorer down the stretch of the season. Jabari Smith Jr. looks like he'll at least be a rotation-level three-and-D forward who can play some small-ball 5. And rookies Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore brought multi-positional defense and a lot of grit to the second unit.

    Even without a top-five pick, Houston was almost certainly going to be in the mix for a playoff (or at least play-in) spot for 2024-25. Now, the Rockets get to add a top-three pick to this core, thanks to a six-spot jump in the lottery and the 2021 trade that turned James Harden into this selection (among other things) in the first place.

Loser: Toronto Raptors

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    Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (6)

    Scottie BarnesCole Burston/Getty Images

    At the 2023 trade deadline, the Toronto Raptors traded Khem Birch, a 2023 second-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and a 2024 top-six protected first-round pick for Jakob Poeltl.

    A year and a few more trades later (OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam were moved this season), Toronto looked primed to plummet down the standings over the rest of the season and hang onto that protected first.

    And that's exactly what the Raptors did.

    From the deadline to the end of the season, Toronto had the fourth-worst record in the NBA. And that was bad enough to move the Raptors to the sixth spot in the pre-lottery draft order. All the basketball gods had to do for them to keep their pick was hold them steady at sixth.

    Instead, the Raptors slipped to eighth, which dropped the protection on that pick and sent it to the Spurs (which, of course, adds to the reason San Antonio is listed as a winner here).

    Toronto still has a first-round pick thanks to a trade with the Indiana Pacers, but two bites at the draft apple (or a bit more ammo for potential trades) are better than one.

Winner: Atlanta Hawks

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    Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (7)

    Trae Young and Dejounte MurrayTodd Kirkland/Getty Images

    This one's pretty obvious. Despite projections that this might not be the strongest NBA draft class, moving from 10th (where they had a three percent shot to land the top pick) to first makes the Atlanta Hawks Sunday's biggest winner.

    If they're set on breaking up the Trae Young-Dejounte Murray backcourt (they probably should be), this pick (or the player chosen) could be used to juice the trade package sending either one out. The player selected could also be a part of whatever foundation is left after a trade.

    If Atlanta is particularly high on some wing or big it thinks could make the Murray-Young pairing more palatable, it might just make the pick and add it to last season's core.

    The point is that the Hawks suddenly have a lot more options than they did before winning the lottery. And they go beyond just those prospects who figure to be in the mix for the No. 1 pick.

Biggest Winners and Losers from 2024 NBA Draft Lottery (2024)
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