NBA Tank Magic Numbers

2021-22 National Basketball Association Tank Magic Numbers

Tank Magic Numbers

Tank GP/R W L W%
HOU 82/0 20 62 .243  
ORL 82/0 22 60 .268  
DET 82/0 23 59 .280  
OKC 82/0 24 58 .292  
IND 82/0 25 57 .304  
POR 82/0 27 55 .329  
SAC 82/0 30 52 .365  
LAL 82/0 33 49 .402  
SAS 82/0 34 48 .414  
WAS 82/0 35 47 .426  
NWO 82/0 36 46 .439  
NYK 82/0 37 45 .451  
LAC 82/0 42 40 .512  
ATL 82/0 43 39 .524  
CHA 82/0 43 39 .524  
CLE 82/0 44 38 .536  
BKN 82/0 44 38 .536  
MIN 82/0 46 36 .561  
CHI 82/0 46 36 .561  
TOR 82/0 48 34 .585  
DEN 82/0 48 34 .585  
UTH 82/0 49 33 .597  
PHI 82/0 51 31 .622  
BOS 82/0 51 31 .622  
MIL 82/0 51 31 .622  
DAL 82/0 52 30 .634  
MIA 82/0 53 29 .646  
GSW 82/0 53 29 .646  
MEM 82/0 56 26 .682  
PHX 82/0 64 18 .780  

The NBA uses a lottery system to determine which teams get the best picks in the upcoming draft. The worse a team finishes in the standings, the better the chance the team gets a higher draft pick.

Every year a few teams seem to throw in the towel and tank in hopes of getting a higher draft pick.

The Tank Magic Number is the number of games a team needs to lose in order to secure a worse seed in the traditional standings.

Basically, it's the exact opposite of a traditional magic number.

We've taken the traditional standings and flipped them upside down, so in our table, it's still a race to the "top".

Assuming the "better" seed is actually a worse record (#1 seed is the worst record, #2 is the second worst, etc), here are the odds of getting the first pick for next years NBA draft:

  1. 14.0% chance of receiving the No. 1 pick
  2. 14.0% chance
  3. 14.0% chance
  4. 12.5% chance
  5. 10.5% chance
  6. 9.0% chance
  7. 7.5% chance
  8. 6.0% chance
  9. 4.5% chance
  10. 3.0% chance
  11. 2.0% chance
  12. 1.5% chance
  13. 1.0% chance
  14. 0.5% chance

When a team is guaranteed a reverse top three seed, they are highlighted in green. When they are guaranteed a lottery pick, they are highlighted in yellow. When a team clinches a playoff spot, they are no longer a lottery pick, and are highlighted in red.

Updated: May 12, 2022 1:00am ET