NBA Board of Governors approves changes to draft lottery system

NBA also agrees on policy for resting healthy players during games

Official release

Sep 28, 2017 6:20 PM ET


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver touches on the changes to the draft lottery system at the Board of Governors news conference.

NEW YORK -- The NBA Board of Governors today approved changes to the NBA Draft Lottery system that will reduce the odds so that the teams with the three worst records will share the same chance of receiving the No. 1 overall draft pick.  The modifications to the NBA Draft Lottery will be implemented for the 2019 NBA Draft.

Under the revamped format, the NBA Draft Lottery will ensure that the team with the worst record will receive no worse than the fifth pick.  In the current lottery system, which will remain in place for the 2018 NBA Draft, the team with the worst record picks no lower than fourth.

“NBA Draft Lottery reform is a meaningful step in our continuous effort to enhance the quality of our games,” said NBA President, League Operations Byron Spruell.  “These changes were necessary to improve the competitive incentives for our teams.”

The new system will level the odds at the top of the NBA Draft Lottery so that the teams with the three worst regular-season records will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery.  In the current structure, the top seed has 25 percent of the lottery odds, the second seed has 19.9 percent and the third seed has 15.6 percent.

The odds for the remaining participants in the 14-team lottery will be reduced gradually after the top three.  For instance, the difference in lottery odds between the first three seeds (14 percent) and the fourth seed (12.5 percent) will be 1.5 percent.  The difference between the fourth seed and the fifth seed (10.5 percent) will be 2 percent, and the difference between the fifth seed and the sixth seed (9 percent) will be 1.5 percent.

After drawings are conducted for the first four picks of the NBA Draft, the other lottery teams will continue to pick in inverse order of their regular-season record.

Under the modified NBA Draft Lottery format, each team will be assigned the following odds:   

TeamNo. 1 Pick
Team 114.0%
Team 214.0%
Team 314.0%
Team 412.5%
Team 510.5%
Team 69.0%
Team 77.5%
Team 86.0%
Team 94.5%
Team 103.0%
Team 112.0%
Team 121.5%
Team 131.0%
Team 140.5%

Player Resting Policy

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discusses the new policy for resting healthy players.

Also today, the NBA Board of Governors agreed on a policy for resting healthy players.  The policy, effective with the 2017-18 season, is below:

  • Teams are prohibited from resting healthy players for any high-profile, nationally televised game.  Any violation of this provision will constitute conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the NBA and result in a fine of at least $100,000.
  • Absent unusual circumstances, a team should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game or rest healthy players when playing on the road.
  • In situations when teams decide to rest healthy players, the players should be visible and available to interact with fans.
  • Any team that violates this policy, or otherwise rests a healthy player in circumstances that are prejudicial or detrimental to the league, is subject to discipline by the NBA.

The NBA’s Competition Committee recommended the NBA Draft Lottery reform and the player resting policy to the Board of Governors.

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