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When is the NHL Draft lottery? Best odds for No. 1 pick in 2021 NHL Draft



When is the NHL Draft lottery? Best odds for No. 1 pick in 2021 NHL Draft

Now that the 2021 NHL regular season is officially over, the 15 teams not competing in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs can set their sights on finding their next NHL star. But they won’t be the only franchises looking to the future; the Seattle Kraken are now officially official and the NHL’s 32nd franchise will be selecting its first draft class this summer.

Before the draft commences in July, there’s the NHL Draft lottery to determine which team will snag the all-important No. 1 spot. Unlike the past few years, who that will be in 2021 is anyone’s guess despite the draft being just a little over two months away. (Sadly, there was no “Lose for Hughes” campaign in 2021). Will it be the United States’ Matty Beniers or Luke Hughes? Or will Canada’s Owen Power go first overall? Those three are just a sliver of the guys who can take the top spot.

MORE: Beniers, Power playing at 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship

Although we don’t know who will go first overall, or which team will be the one to make that tough decision, now that the Flames and Canucks have finished their slate of regular-season games we know the lottery odds. The Sabres, who selected Rasmus Dahlin first in 2018, have the best odds to be the first team to make a virtual selection. Granted, as we’ve seen — remember the Rangers sneaking into the first spot in 2020 and snagging Alexis Lafrenière? — odds are not always in the favor of the team with the best ones. 

When is the 2021 NHL Draft lottery?

The NHL Draft lottery drawing will take place Wednesday, June 2, from NHL Network’s studios in Secaucus, N.J. On Friday, July 23, the NHL Draft will begin with the first round, followed by Rounds 2-7 on Saturday, July 24. As in 2020, the 2021 draft will be virtual.

How many draws will there be?

This year’s draft lottery will have two draws:

  • Draw 1: To determine who will select first overall
  • Draw 2: To determine who will select second overall

The Kraken were given the same odds as the third-worst team in the 2021 season, which is similar to the odds the Golden Knights received when they entered the league in 2017. Vegas ended up picking sixth overall and selecting Cody Glass. Seattle cannot select lower than fifth in 2021.

MORE: Hall of Famer Mike Modano chats Auston Matthews, USA Hockey and … interior design

What happens if the Coyotes are selected?

The Coyotes had to forfeit their first-round pick in 2021 after violating NHL rules regarding the draft combine by conducting physical testing on 2019 draft-eligible players prior to the combine. Commissioner Gary Bettman ruled that the Coyotes had to forfeit their second-round pick (49th overall) in 2020 and their first-round pick in 2021.

MORE: Why did the Coyotes have to forfeit their pick?

If the Coyotes are selected in either lottery draw, there will be a redraw.

Odds to win the 2021 NHL Draft lottery

1. Buffalo Sabres 37 16.6
2. Anaheim Ducks 43 12.1
3. Seattle Kraken 10.3
4. New Jersey Devils 45 10.3
5. Columbus Blue Jackets 48 8.5
6. Detroit Red Wings 48 7.6
7. San Jose Sharks 49 6.7
8. Los Angeles Kings 49 5.8
9. Vancouver Canucks 50 5.4
10. Ottawa Senators 51 4.5
11. Arizona Coyotes 54 3.1
12. Chicago Blackhawks 55 2.7
13. Calgary Flames 55 2.2
14. Philadelphia Flyers 58 1.8
15. Dallas Stars 60 1.4
16. New York Rangers 60 1.0

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Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers



Chris Paul, NBA Twitter react to Deandre Ayton's game-winning dunk in Suns vs. Clippers

Deandre Ayton was the hero for the Suns in their Game 2 win over the Clippers.

With less than a second left on the clock, the Suns were down one point and had just 0.9 seconds to get a shot off. Jae Crowder inbounded the ball on the baseline under the Suns’ basket and found Ayton cutting to the hoop.

Ayton threw it down. The play took just 0.2 seconds off the clock and sealed the 104-103 win for the Suns.

Here’s a look at the amazing finish.

Ayton and Crowder deserve a bulk of the credit, but Devin Booker had an impact on the finish as well. His physical screen on Ivica Zubac — who is seven inches taller and 35 pounds heavier than Booker — gave Ayton just enough space to get open off the cut and throw down the dunk.

And Booker put his body on the line despite playing with a bloodied nose that required stitches after an inadvertent hit from Patrick Beverley earlier in the game.

The Suns’ finish thrilled Phoenix fans as well as the team’s star point guard Chris Paul, who missed his second straight game in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He took time to celebrate the victory on Twitter and praised coach Monty Williams for his “big-time play call.”

Indeed, it was a nice play call, and Williams made sure Ayton was prepared to dunk immediately after catching the ball.

“DA — if he throws it, you gotta try to dunk it,” Williams said. “Okay?”

Ayton was ready and obliged. As a result of his make, NBA Twitter erupted and celebrated the exciting end to yet another tightly-contested playoff battle. 

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How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn’t apply on Deandre Ayton’s dunk



How Suns perfectly executed game-winning play — and why goaltending didn't apply on Deandre Ayton's dunk

Back in December 2017, the Suns and Grizzlies found themselves in a down-to-the-wire contest. Phoenix had the ball with just 0.6 seconds on the clock and the game tied at 97.

So what did then-Suns coach Jay Triano do? He unveiled a play that he had kept in his back pocket for years.

MORE: Chris Paul reacts to Deandre Ayton’s game-winning dunk

While standing on the sideline near the Grizzlies’ bench, Dragan Bender threw a pass toward Tyson Chandler that floated directly above the rim, giving Chandler the opportunity to slam it through the bottom of the net. Wait, you can do that?

“You cannot goaltend a ball that isn’t going to count,” Triano told reporters after the game.

More than three years later, Triano’s words were once again ringing throughout Phoenix Suns Arena. Coach Monty Williams drew up a similar play on Tuesday night, and his players executed it perfectly to give the Suns a stunning 104-103 win over the Clippers and a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Look at this beauty:

OK, let’s break down what NBA TV’s Matt Winer called “The Valley Oop.” (Great work, Matt).

First, notice the positioning of DeMarcus Cousins. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue made a smart move by putting Cousins on Jae Crowder in order to make an inbound pass more difficult, but Cousins is squared up to Crowder, opening up the passing lane Crowder needs.

As for the action in the paint, Devin Booker sets a terrific screen on Ivica Zubac, allowing Deandre Ayton to break free. Could Nicolas Batum have bumped Ayton and recovered? Possibly, but he is understandably concerned with leaving Booker.


Once Ayton gets a step on Zubac running toward the basket, it’s on Crowder to put the ball in a spot in which Ayton can score. As you can see from the angle below, Crowder just narrowly avoids the backboard. The placement here is simply incredible.

“That’s definitely Jae’s game-winner,” Ayton said after the game.

deandre ayton suns play

Now, you may still be asking, “But why isn’t that a goaltending violation?”

As the NBA explained in its Last Two Minute Report from that December 2017 game, “Goaltending rules do not apply because (Chandler) makes contact with the ball off of a throw-in and not a live ball that has already legally been touched on the playing court.” Scott Foster, who served as the crew chief on Tuesday, offered the same explanation when asked about Ayton’s dunk.

Sometimes less than a second can be all the time in the world. Just ask any Suns fan.

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Clippers’ Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns



Clippers' Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns

The box score from Tuesday’s Suns-Clippers game — a pivotal Game 2 win for Phoenix in the Western Conference finals — will show Paul George had a decent game.

Twenty-six points, on 10-of-23 shooting; six assists; six rebounds; and 5-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. He also scored his team’s last six points, all within the last minute, to help the Clippers to a 103-102 lead with just 8.2 seconds remaining.

The only stats that ultimately mattered in the Clippers’ 104-103 loss, however, were the final two free throws George — a career 84.7-percent free throw shooter — missed. They ultimately allowed Phoenix a chance at an unbelievable comeback victory, which may prove costly even as the series heads back to LA.

NBA MOCK DRAFT 2021: Who will Pistons, Rockets take with top picks?

Had George sunk both of those shots, the Suns would have needed a 3-pointer just to send the game to overtime. Had he sunk even one shot, they would have needed a 2-pointer. But he missed both, allowing the Suns to win on an inbound dunk with less than a second remaining:

Credit to Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and the Suns. That play will go down as one of the top plays in NBA playoffs history. But every heartbreaking loss needs a goat, and no one fits the bill better than “Playoff P,” who could have secured a win for his team with the simplest of basketball scoring plays.

Here’s the bright side for the Clippers, if there is one: They have already overcome 2-0 deficits in each of their first two series against the Mavericks and Jazz, respectively. That’s likely a cold comfort as George and Co. head back to LA, however. The scathing Twitter comments aimed at George likely won’t do anything to help, either:

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