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The NBA Draft

NBA DraftWhile most of the excitement and drama in basketball takes place on the court, this is a sport that can deliver an incredible amount of interest in its off the court activities. While the personal lives of the players and the backroom dynamics of the teams is of great interest to many basketball fans, when it comes to important basketball off-court action, nothing comes close to the NBA Draft.

The NBA draft takes place every year and all of the thirty teams in the NBA are involved. The teams draft college players from the US and foreign players who are eligible into the league. The draft takes place during the off-season, traditionally in June. This allows teams to sign up new players in advance of the new season but it also helps to generate some excitement and interest in the NBA during the summer break.

The NBA draft is in two rounds and there is a total of sixty players selected to step up to the big league.

We have also put together a NBA Draft Betting Guide, which we encourage you to read if you want to learn how and where you can bet on the NBA Draft.

The Draft Lottery

NBA Draft Lottery

Before the draft begins, the draft lottery has to take place. Again, this is an annual event but it is only open to teams that missed out on the playoffs from the previous season. The exception to this is that a team that made the playoffs but who holds the draft right of a team that missed out on the playoffs. All of these teams are involved in a lottery to determine the order of the right to pick eligible players in the draft.

The teams involved in this process are referred to as “lottery teams” and at present, only the first three picks are determined by lottery. There is a weighting process to the lottery that gives the team with the poorest record from the previous season the strongest chance of getting first pick in the draft. The first three picks are determined by lottery and then the remaining teams are allocated draws in the inverse order of their record of the previous season. This means that the team who ends the NBA season with the poorest record will know that they will get to pick in the draft somewhere between first, second, third and fourth pick. If they are not drawn during the lottery element of the first three picks, they will definitely receive the fourth pick.

There have been a number of different formats involved with the NBA Draft over the years but the current system has been in place since 1990, making it the only system that many basketball fans have ever known.

In the weighted odds era, the team with the biggest amount of luck in an individual draw is considered to be the Orlando Magic. Back in 1993, the Magic only had one opportunity to be drawn in the lottery but they were drawn as the first pick.

Getting The First Draft Pick

In the lottery, which is undertaken with balls numbered 1 through to 14, there are a total of 1,000 different possible combinations. These combinations are allocated to each team with the largest number of outcomes being allocated to the team that had the poorest record. In the current style of draw, the team with the poorest record is allocated 250 combinations of the 1,000 combinations. This means that they have a 25% chance of being selected at random, a 1 in 4 chance of getting the first pick. The team with the second poorest record is allocated 199 combinations, giving them a 19.9% chance of getting the first pick. The third poorest ranked team receives 156 combinations. The team ranked fourth poorest is allocated 119 chances of 1,000, equating to 11.9%.

NBA Draft LogoThere is then a drop off for the team ranking in fifth, with this team being allocated 88 chances, relating to an 8.8% chance. The team ranking sixth poorest receives 63 combinations, equating to 6.3%. The team ranking seventh poorest receives 43 combinations, equating to 4.3%. The team ranking in eighth with respect to a poor record receives 28 combinations. The remaining teams receive 17, 11, 8, 7, 6 and 5 combinations respectively. This means the 14th ranked poorest team has a 0.5% chance of receiving the first pick.

The lottery balls are selected in private but every team is represented in the room and there is also an independent adjudicator present during the process. The draft lottery traditionally takes place in May, with the 2013 Draft Lottery being held on Tuesday the 21st of May in New York. The draft lottery was televised by ESPN.

In the 2013 draft lottery, the Orlando Magic had the poorest record and were therefore allocated 250 combinations to win. However, they were not picked out first in the lottery; this accolade went to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Magic were picked out second in the lottery draft.

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