The first official event preceding the NBA Draft is the NBA Draft Lottery, one of the most anticipated moments in the NBA market by basketball fans worldwide, as it influences the fate of the new talents who will play in the league.
The NBA Draft Lottery represents a crucial moment for NBA teams, as it determines each franchise’s chances of securing new players and can have a significant impact on their future.
What is the NBA Draft Lottery?
The NBA Draft Lottery is an event that takes place every year just before the NBA Draft and determines the order in which NBA teams will select their new players during Draft night.
The odds of winning the first pick in the NBA Draft are assigned based on the team’s position in the standings at the end of the regular season. However, sometimes teams can trade their draft picks with other teams in exchange for players or future draft picks.
The first pick is often considered the most important as it allows a team to select the best available player. However, there have been cases where players selected with lower picks have become NBA superstars, proving that the selection is not always crucial to success (here are the 10 Worst First Picks in the NBA Draft).
Over the years, there have also been some controversies and criticisms regarding the NBA Lottery system. Some franchises have accused the league of favoring some teams more than others, while others have suggested that the system should be changed to more significantly favor teams with worse records.
In any case, the NBA Lottery remains a highly anticipated event in the NBA and one of the most important moments of the seasons for teams looking to improve their roster. This is demonstrated by the birth of Mock Drafts, through which the NBA’s leading experts try to determine which players will be chosen and with which pick.
Furthermore, starting in 2019, the NBA introduced a new rule that the first three draft picks would be decided through the lottery. Previously, only the first pick was assigned through the lottery, while the other picks were assigned based on the standings.
How does the NBA Draft Lottery work?
During the NBA Draft Lottery, the 14 teams with the worst records from the previous regular season participate in the lottery. These franchises are assigned probabilities of obtaining the first pick in the draft based on their position in the standings: the team with the worst position receives the highest probability of obtaining the first pick, while the team with the best position has the lowest probability.
At this point, the drawings are made through a special urn in which each ball is numbered and represents one of the 14 teams participating in the draw. The balls, which are white, have the NBA logo printed on them and are about 4 cm in diameter, are drawn one by one.
The first three balls drawn determine the order of the first three draft picks, while the remaining teams follow the reverse order of the standings so that the team that has obtained the worst placement has the fourth pick, the next one has the fifth pick, and so on.
When is the NBA Draft Lottery 2023?
The NBA Lottery 2023 is scheduled for May 16, 2023 at 8 p.m ET on ESPN and will be broadcast live on television in the United States and many other countries. Generally, the Lottery is always held in May, a few weeks before the NBA draft, which usually takes place at the end of June.
When was the NBA Draft Lottery introduced?
The NBA Lottery was introduced in 1985 to reduce the so-called “tanking,” the practice of teams intentionally losing to improve their chances of obtaining the first pick in the draft. Since then, the system has been modified several times to improve the fairness and transparency of the draft selection process.
NBA Draft Lottery Odds
The NBA Lottery works by assigning 1.001 different combinations of numbers between 1 and 14 to the fourteen lottery teams. The franchise receives more combinations the lower their Regular Season record is.
The NBA draws four different combinations of four numbers. The first gets the absolute number 1 pick, and so on until the first four picks are assigned. Picks from 5 to 60 are assigned based on the record.
With the regular season now over, we know which 10 teams will receive 950 of the 1,001 available combinations:
- The Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs will each receive 14% of the available combinations. These are the highest odds available at the Lottery. Detroit, by virtue of having the worst record in the NBA, will not have a call below pick number 5. San Antonio and Houston finished with the second-worst record in the NBA at 22-60, so a coin toss will determine which of the two will have the n°2 pick (which cannot be lower than n°6) and which will be relegated to n°3 (which cannot be lower than n°7).
- The Charlotte Hornets will have a 12.5% chance of getting the number 1 pick.
- The Portland Trail Blazers will have a 10.5% chance of getting the number 1 pick.
- The Orlando Magic will have a 9% chance of getting the number 1 pick.
- The Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers will both have a 6.8% chance of getting the number 1 pick. Normally, the 7th team has a 7.5% chance while the 8th team has a 6% chance. However, since the two teams finished tied, they will split the total number of lottery combinations that would normally go between the two positions, and a coin toss will determine who gets the n°7 and who gets the n°8 pick between them.
- The Utah Jazz will have a 4.5% chance of getting the number 1 pick.
- The Dallas Mavericks will have a 3% chance of getting the number 1 pick.
The remaining 5% will be assigned to the four teams that did not make it past the Play-In (Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, and New Orleans Pelicans). The actual combinations are not assigned until the night of the lottery.
Each of the 14 teams will send a representative to witness the draw, which will take place in private before Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum publicly draws the results.