NBA Tank Magic Numbers

2018-19 NBA Tank Magic Numbers

Tank Magic Numbers

Tank GP/R W L W%
NYK 82/0 17 65 .207  
CLE 82/0 19 63 .231  
PHX 82/0 19 63 .231  
CHI 82/0 22 60 .268  
ATL 82/0 29 53 .353  
WAS 82/0 32 50 .390  
DAL 82/0 33 49 .402  
MEM 82/0 33 49 .402  
NWO 82/0 33 49 .402  
MIN 82/0 36 46 .439  
LAL 82/0 37 45 .451  
SAC 82/0 39 43 .475  
CHA 82/0 39 43 .475  
MIA 82/0 39 43 .475  
DET 82/0 41 41 .500  
BKN 82/0 42 40 .512  
ORL 82/0 42 40 .512  
IND 82/0 48 34 .585  
LAC 82/0 48 34 .585  
SAS 82/0 48 34 .585  
BOS 82/0 49 33 .597  
OKC 82/0 49 33 .597  
UTH 82/0 50 32 .609  
PHI 82/0 51 31 .622  
HOU 82/0 53 29 .646  
POR 82/0 53 29 .646  
DEN 82/0 54 28 .658  
GSW 82/0 57 25 .695  
TOR 82/0 58 24 .707  
MIL 82/0 60 22 .731  

What is a Tank Magic Number?

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.

Two-Team Tiebreaker

  1. Division winner
  2. Better record in head-to-head games
  3. Higher winning percentage within division (if teams are in the same division)
  4. Higher winning percentage in conference games
  5. Higher winning percentage against playoff teams in own conference
  6. Higher winning percentage against playoff teams in opposite conference
  7. Higher point differential between points scored and points allowed

Three-Team Tiebreaker

  1. Division winner
  2. Best head-to-head winning percentage among all teams tied
  3. Highest winning percentage within division (if teams are in the same division)
  4. Highest winning percentage in conference games
  5. Highest winning percentage against playoff teams in own conference
  6. Highest point differential between points scored and points allowed

Tiebreaking prodecures from NBA.com

Updated: April 30, 2019 11:00pm ET