NBA Tank Magic Numbers

2020-21 National Basketball Association Tank Magic Numbers

Tank Magic Numbers

Tank GP/R W L W%
HOU 72/0 17 55 .236  
DET 72/0 20 52 .277  
ORL 72/0 21 51 .291  
CLE 72/0 22 50 .305  
OKC 72/0 22 50 .305  
MIN 72/0 23 49 .319  
TOR 72/0 27 45 .375  
NWO 72/0 31 41 .430  
SAC 72/0 31 41 .430  
CHI 72/0 31 41 .430  
CHA 72/0 33 39 .458  
SAS 72/0 33 39 .458  
IND 72/0 34 38 .472  
WAS 72/0 34 38 .472  
BOS 72/0 36 36 .500  
MEM 72/0 38 34 .527  
GSW 72/0 39 33 .541  
MIA 72/0 40 32 .555  
NYK 72/0 41 31 .569  
ATL 72/0 41 31 .569  
POR 72/0 42 30 .583  
DAL 72/0 42 30 .583  
LAL 72/0 42 30 .583  
MIL 72/0 46 26 .638  
LAC 72/0 47 25 .652  
DEN 72/0 47 25 .652  
BKN 72/0 48 24 .666  
PHI 72/0 49 23 .680  
PHX 72/0 51 21 .708  
UTH 72/0 52 20 .722  

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: June 22, 2021 12:00pm ET