2004 NBA Draft Lottery: How It Works

The 2004 NBA Draft Lottery, where ping-pong balls supplant basketballs as the tools of determining supremacy, will be held on Wednesday, May 26, at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The 20th annual edition of the NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of 2004 NBA Draft.

LOTTERY CHANCES
TEAM
NO. 1
NO. 2
NO. 3
Orlando
25.00%
21.53%
17.81%
Chicago
20.00%
18.89%
17.19%
Washington
15.70%
15.83%
15.67%
L.A. Clippers
10.50%
11.31%
12.22%
Atlanta
10.40%
11.22%
12.14%
Phoenix
6.40%
7.21%
8.24%
Toronto
3.70%
4.28%
5.05%
Philadelphia
3.60%
4.17%
4.93%
Cleveland
1.80%
2.12%
2.55%
Golden State
0.90%
1.07%
1.30%
Seattle
0.90%
1.07%
1.30%
Portland
0.60%
0.71%
0.87%
Utah
0.50%
0.59%
0.73%
Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a drum. There are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection. Prior to the Lottery, 1,000 combinations will be assigned to the 13 participating Lottery teams by a computer.

The Charlotte Bobcats have already been assigned the fourth selection in the 2004 NBA Draft and will not participate in the 2004 NBA Draft Lottery. The results of the lottery will therefore determine selections 1-3 and 5-14.

The Orlando Magic finished the season with the NBA's worst record (21-61), so they will be assigned 250 combinations. Utah, the best team in the lottery at 42-40, will have five combinations out of 1,000.

Four balls will be drawn to the top to determine a four-digit combination. The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the number one pick. The four balls are placed back in the drum and the process is repeated to determine the number two and three picks. (Note: If the one unassigned combination is drawn, the balls are drawn to the top again.)

The order of selection for the teams that do not win one of the top three picks will be determined by inverse order of their regular season record. Thus, Orlando can pick no lower than fifth, Chicago (23-59) no lower than sixth and Washington (25-57) no lower than seventh. The actual Lottery procedure will take place in a separate room prior to the national broadcast with NBA officials and representatives of the participating teams and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young in attendance.

Following the drawing, team logo cards will be inserted into envelopes marked 1 through 3 and 5 through 14 by an Ernst & Young representative. These envelopes then will be sealed and brought on-stage, where the announcement of the Lottery results will be made by NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik. A second representative from each participating team will be seated on-stage. Neither the Deputy Commissioner nor the team representatives will be informed of the Lottery results prior to the opening of the envelopes.

The team whose logo is in the last envelope opened will pick first in NBA Draft 2004, to be held on Thursday, June 24, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.