How the Lottery Works

The 30th annual edition of the NBA Draft Lottery takes place Tuesday night and will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Here's how it works.

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 of those 1,001 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams.

The Lakers own 63 of these. That gives the purple and gold a 21.5% chance of jumping into the top three picks.

(For reference, the Milwaukee Bucks, who finished the season with the NBA’s worst record (15-67), will be assigned the first 250 combinations and the Phoenix Suns, the team with the best record in the lottery at 48-34, will have only five combinations.)

Lakers Lottery Odds

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. Meaning the lowest pick the Lakers can have is number nine.

The actual Lottery procedure will take place in a separate room just prior to the national broadcast on ESPN with select media, NBA officials and representatives of the participating teams and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young in attendance. Lakers Vice President of Public Relations, John Black, will represent the team in the drawing room, while NBA Hall-of-Famer James Worthy will be on hand for the ESPN broadcast.

Following the drawing, team logo cards will be inserted into envelopes marked 1 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 Mark Tatum. 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 2014, to be held on Thursday, June 26 at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Recent Stories on