The NBA Draft may not get nearly the media or fan attention that the NFL Draft gets, but the one thing that makes everyone pay attention is the NBA Draft Lottery.
Instituted in 1985, the NBA Draft Lottery is where teams who missed the playoffs that year participate in a lottery process to determine who the teams are that will make the first picks in the June Draft.
Obviously, whoever wins the lottery, gets the first selection. Under current rules, only the top three picks are decided by the lottery, chosen from the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs.
The team with the worst record, or the team that holds the draft rights of the team with the worst record have the best chance to get the higher (or lower, depending on how you look at it) selection. Think Boston Celtics this year. They will play the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals, but could also walk away with the top selection because they own the rights to the Brooklyn Nets first pick as a result of the 2013 trade that sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Nets.
Brooklyn gets Boston’s pick, which is No. 27. It doesn’t sound fair on paper, but the Nets also own the 22nd selection, and they are the ones that agreed to it.
Celtics Had The Best Record In The East, But Own The Nets’ Pick
After the top three positions are selected from the lottery slotting system, the rest of the first-round draft order goes by teams’ records in the order of loss-wins, or the teams’ records that originally had the lottery rights if they were traded away.
In other words, the worse your record, the higher you will select your player.
Ben Simmons Was The No. 1 Overall Pick Last Season
It’s a more sophisticated system that it sounds. It isn’t just 14 teams picking numbers out of a hat. Here’s a look at how the lottery system works, starting with Team 1 who had the worst record to Team 14, who just missed the playoffs. Here are this year’s lottery chances:
- Boston Celtics, 25%
- Phoenix Suns, 19.9%
- Los Angeles Lakers, 15.6%
- Philadelphia 76ers, 14.7%
- Orlando Magic, 8.8%
- Minnesota Timberwolves, 5.3%
- New York Knicks, 5.3%
- Sacramento Kings, 0%
- Dallas Mavericks, 1.7%
- New Orleans Pelicans, 1.1%
- Charlotte Hornets, 0.8%
- Detroit Pistons, 0.7%
- Denver Nuggets, 0.6%
- Miami Heat, 0.5%
Now that you know the 14 teams that are participating, let’s take a look at the team representatives tonight. Some are current stars and some are past stars, but they should all make for an interesting lottery.