NBA Tank Magic Numbers

2020-21 National Basketball Association Tank Magic Numbers

Tank Magic Numbers

Tank GP/R W L W%
HOU 66/6 16 50 .242   3 2 1 1 1
DET 66/6 19 47 .287 NC   5 4 4 4
MIN 66/6 20 46 .303 NC NC   5 5 5
CLE 66/6 21 45 .318 NC NC NC   6 6 1
OKC 66/6 21 45 .318 NC NC NC 6   6 1
ORL 66/6 21 45 .318 NC NC NC 6 6   1
CHI 65/7 26 39 .400 NC NC NC NC   6 4 3 3 3 2 1
TOR 66/6 27 39 .409 NC NC NC NC   4 3 3 3 2 1
SAC 66/6 29 37 .439 NC NC   5 5 5 4 3 2 2
WAS 66/6 30 36 .454 NC NC NC 6   6 5 4 3 3 1 1
NWO 66/6 30 36 .454 NC NC NC   6 6 5 4 3 3 1 1
IND 65/7 30 35 .461 NC NC NC 7 7   6 5 4 4 2 2
SAS 65/7 31 34 .476 NC NC NC NC NC NC   6 5 5 3 3 1 1 1 1 1
CHA 65/7 32 33 .492 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC   6 6 4 4 2 2 2 2 2
GSW 66/6 33 33 .500 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC   6 4 4 2 2 2 2 2
MEM 65/7 33 32 .507 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC 7   5 5 3 3 3 3 3
MIA 66/6 35 31 .530 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC   6 4 4 4 4 4
BOS 66/6 35 31 .530 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC 6   4 4 4 4 4
ATL 67/5 37 30 .552 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC   5 5 5 5
POR 66/6 37 29 .560 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC 6   6 6 6 1
NYK 66/6 37 29 .560 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC 6 6   6 6 1
DAL 65/7 37 28 .569 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC 7 7 7   7 2 1
LAL 65/7 37 28 .569 NC NC NC NC NC NC NC 7 7 7 7   2 1
MIL 66/6 42 24 .636 NC NC NC NC NC   5 4 4 3 1
BKN 66/6 43 23 .651 NC NC NC NC NC   5 5 4 2 1
DEN 66/6 44 22 .666 NC NC NC NC 6   5 3 2
LAC 66/6 44 22 .666 NC NC NC NC   6 5 3 2
PHI 66/6 45 21 .681 NC NC NC NC   4 3
PHX 66/6 47 19 .712 NC NC NC NC NC   5
UTH 66/6 48 18 .727 NC NC NC NC NC NC  

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 6, 2021 10:00am ET