FAQ: How the NBA Draft Lottery Works

by Cody Cunningham

When is the draft lottery?

This year’s draft lottery will be held on May 15, 2018.

Which teams participate in the draft lottery?

There are 14 teams that participate in the lottery every year as it is only for those who did not qualify for the postseason.

Which picks are decided by the lottery?

Although 14 teams participate in the lottery, only the top three picks are up for grabs.

Which team gets the best odds?

The team that finished with the worst win-loss record has the best odds to get the first overall pick in the draft. The percentages decrease from worst record to best record amongst the 14 teams. If two teams finish with the same record, then they split their odds (such as Dallas and Atlanta this year).

How is the lottery determined?

Ping pong balls are numbered 1 through 14. There is a four-number combination randomly selected from the lottery machine. The order that the numbers are drawn, does not matter. Each team participating in the lottery is assigned specific combination outcomes. There are a total of 1,001 combinations (although if 11-12-13-14 is drawn, it is ignored as it is the only combination not assigned to any team). They continue this process to determine the second and third pick as well.

What are the Suns chances at winning the draft lottery this year?

The Suns finished with the lowest winning percentage and therefore have 250 combinations assigned to them, giving them a 25 percent chance of receiving the first overall pick in this year’s draft.

Their percentages continue as:

First pick: 25%

Second pick: 21.5%

Third pick: 17.7%

Fourth pick: 35.8%

What are the odds for each team receiving the first overall pick?

Phoenix: 250 combinations, 25.0% chance of receiving the No. 1 pick

Memphis: 199 combinations, 19.9% chance

Dallas: 138 combinations, 13.8% chance

Atlanta: 137 combinations, 13.7% chance

Orlando: 88 combinations, 8.8% chance

Chicago: 53 combinations, 5.3% chance

Sacramento: 53 combinations, 5.3% chance

Brooklyn (Traded to Cleveland): 28 combinations, 2.8% chance

New York: 17 combinations, 1.7% chance

LA Lakers (If 1 or 10 traded to Boston. If 2 or 3, traded to Philadelphia): 11 combinations, 1.1% chance

Charlotte: 8 combinations, 0.8% chance

Detroit (If not top 4, pick traded to LA Clippers): 7 combinations, 0.7% chance

LA Clippers: 6 combinations, 0.6% chance

Denver: 5 combinations, 0.5% chance

Suns Draft Lottery Party:

4:00 PM – May 15, 2018 – Talking Stick Resort Arena

RSVP at http://www.nba.com/suns/lottery