NBA Draft Lottery: The Basics

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Kevin Pelton, SUPERSONICS.COM | May 21, 2007
What: The Draft Lottery determines the top three picks in the 2007 NBA Draft, which will be held on June 28. The 14 non-playoff teams are eligible, with the likelihood of getting each pick determined by the team’s 2006-07 record. The Memphis Grizzlies, who finished with a 22-60 record, have the best shot at getting one of the top three picks. The Sonics enter with the fifth-best chance of landing one of the top picks.

When: The Lottery will be held on Tuesday, May 22, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific on ESPN. The lottery has become a 30-minute prime-time special leading into a conference finals game - in this case, Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between San Antonio and Utah.

How: The Lottery’s mechanism is similar to that of an actual lottery. Four balls numbered 1-14 are drawn to produce one of 1001 possible combinations (without regard to order). 1000 of those combinations of numbers are assigned to the eligible teams, whose number of combinations is based on 2006-07 record. After the order is determined backstage, it is revealed on air when envelopes with each team’s logo underneath their pick are opened.

The Sonics have been assigned 88 combinations:


Where: The Lottery is held at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, N.J.

Who: Each team sends one representative. The Sonics will be represented by President of Basketball Operations Lenny Wilkens.

Breaking Down the Lottery for the Sonics:
The Sonics have their best shot ever of earning one of the top three picks (which they did do in 1990, taking Gary Payton second overall). They have an 8.8% chance of getting the first pick, a 9.7% chance of finishing with the second pick and a 10.7% chance of picking third for a total 29.2% chance of moving up. If they are unable to move up, the Sonics will be hoping that the top three spots go to the teams ahead of them, meaning they stay where they are right now (fifth). It's actually slightly more likely that the Sonics pick sixth than fifth because of the possibility of other teams moving up.

Here are each team’s odds of winning each pick in the lottery:

NBA Draft Lottery Odds
Team
Combinations
1st Pick
2nd Pick
3rd Pick
Any Top 3 Pick
Memphis
250
25.0%
21.5%
17.7%
51.6%
Boston
199
19.9%
18.8%
17.1%
46.1%
Milwaukee
156
15.6%
15.7%
15.6%
46.9%
Atlanta
119
11.9%
12.6%
13.3%
37.8%
Sonics
88
8.8%
9.7%
10.7%
29.2%
Portland
53
5.3%
6.0%
7.0%
17.2%
Minnesota
53
5.3%
6.0%
7.0%
17.2%
Charlotte
19
1.9%
2.2%
2.7%
6.8%
New York
19
1.9%
2.2%
2.7%
6.8%
Sacramento
18
1.8%
2.1%
2.5%
6.4%
Indiana
8
0.8%
1.0%
1.2%
2.9%
Philadelphia
7
0.7%
0.8%
1.0%
2.5%
New Orleans
6
0.6%
0.7%
0.9%
2.2%
L.A. Clippers
5
0.50%
0.6%
0.7%
1.8%
Complete Sonics Lottery Odds
1st Pick
2nd Pick
3rd Pick
5th Pick
6th Pick
7th Pick
8th Pick
8.80%
9.65%
10.67%
26.15%
35.92%
8.44%
0.38%