Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NBA Draft Lottery Primer

The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery will be held at the New York Hilton Midtown tonight. ESPN will televise the lottery beginning at approximately 8:05 p.m. ET. The order of selection for the top 14 picks will be unveiled starting at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET.

The 2015 NBA Draft will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 25 at 7 p.m. ET.

HOW THE LOTTERY WORKS

The lottery process will take place in a separate room just before the national broadcast. Select media members, NBA officials and representatives of the participating teams and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young will be in attendance for the drawing.

Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a lottery machine. There are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection. Before the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams.

The team with the worst record (Minnesota) will be assigned the first 250 combinations and the best team in the lottery (Oklahoma City) will have five combinations out of 1,000.

All 14 balls are placed in the lottery machine and they are mixed for 20 seconds; then the first ball is removed. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds, and then the second ball is drawn. This process continues for the third and fourth balls. The team assigned that combination will receive the No. 1 pick. The second and third picks are then decided using this same method with the ping-pong balls and lottery machine.

LOTTERY NOTES

Each team will have one on-stage representative for the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery. Nerlens Nowl will represent the Sixers.

Since the present lottery format was instituted in 1994, the team with the best odds has won three of 21 lotteries: Philadelphia in 1996 (drafted Allen Iverson No. 1), Cleveland in 2003 (LeBron James) and Orlando in 2004 (Dwight Howard).

In the last 18 drawings, teams with the ninth-best chance of getting the top pick have won the lottery as often as teams with the best chance (twice apiece). The 2007-08 Bulls (who drafted Derrick Rose No. 1 in 2008) and the 2013-14 Cavaliers (Andrew Wiggins in 2014) both won the lottery after starting in the ninth slot.

The Cavaliers have won two consecutive lotteries and three of the last four, but they are not entered in this year's drawing after making the playoffs.

Every team has appeared in the draft lottery (based on their own performance) at least once since 2007 except the Spurs. San Antonio hasn't been in the lottery since 1997, when it got the No. 1 pick and drafted Tim Duncan.

The winningest lottery teams of all time have finished 48-34: the Warriors in 2007-08 and the Suns in 2013-14. 

PROBABILITIES

The teams entered in the lottery are as follows. The first three picks in the draft will be determined by the lottery as described above and the remainder of the "lottery teams" will select in positions 4 through 14 in inverse order of their consolidated standings at the end of the regular season.

TEAM REC CHANCES 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 5TH
MIN 16-66 250 .250 .215 .178 .357 -
NYK 17-65 199 .199 .188 .171 .319 .123
PHL 18-64 156 .156 .157 .156 .226 .265
LAL 21-61 119 .119 .126 .133 .099 .351
ORL 25-57 88 .088 .097 .107 - .261
SAC 29-53 63 .063 .071 .081 - -
DEN 30-52 43 .043 .049 .058 - -
DET 32-50 28 .028 .033 .039 - -
CHA 33-49 17 .017 .020 .024 - -
MIA 37-45 11 .011 .013 .016 - -
IND 38-44 8 .008 .009 .012 - -
UTA 38-44 7 .007 .008 .010 - -
PHO 39-43 6 .006 .007 .009 - -
OKC 45-37 5 .005 .006 .007 - - 
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