SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz got some good news Friday when they won a tiebreaker with the Boston Celtics to earn sole possession of the fourth position heading into the NBA's draft lottery.
The Jazz and Celtics finished the regular season tied for the league's fourth-worst record of 25-57. In such situations, the NBA divides the lottery chances (ping-pong balls) and conducts a tiebreaker to determine drafting order in case the eventual lower-positioned team doesn't move up.
This means the Jazz will have 104 chances out of 1,000 (compared to the Celtics' 103 chances) to win the No. 1 position in the lottery. Utah has a 33.7 percent chance of winning a top-three pick after the fortunate draw at the NBA Board of Governors' meeting in New York City.
Strangely, the Jazz only have 43.6 percent odds of finishing in the top four, but Utah's chances of picking in the first five are now 80.9 percent.
By virtue of winning this tiebreaker, the Jazz will pick 35th overall and Boston will have the 34th selection as the NBA reverses the order of tied teams for the second round.
The Jazz also own the rights to the 23rd pick overall as part of last offseason's trade with Golden State.
If Utah had lost Wednesday's double-overtime game in Minnesota, which the Jazz won 136-130, the team would have had an 11.9 percent chance at the top pick for owning sole possession of the fourth-worst record.
The NBA will conduct the draft lottery on May 20. The draft is June 26.
Here are the current team positions heading into the lottery:
1. Milwaukee (250 of 1,000 chances); 2. Philadelphia (199); 3. Orlando (156); 4. Utah (104); 5. Boston (103); 6. Los Angeles Lakers (63); 7. Sacramento (43); 8. Detroit (28); 9. Cleveland (17); 10. New Orleans (11); 11. Denver (8); 12. New York (7); 13. Minnesota (6); 14. Phoenix (5). (Note: Several picks will be taken by other teams because of trade obligations.)