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How the NBA Draft Lottery works: Each team’s odds of winning the No. 1 pick in 2024, who will be on the stage

The future of the Pistons, Wizards and the other 12 teams involved in the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery will be determined at 3 p.m. ET Sunday in Chicago. Results of the lottery will be conducted privately in a room and coordinated by the firm Ernst & Young, then shared publicly shortly thereafter on ESPN where the drawing will be unveiled in reverse order from No. 14 down to No. 1 for the 2024 NBA Draft on June 26-27. 

Odds to win the draft lottery are led by the Pistons and Wizards at 14.0% after each posted the worst and second-worst win-loss record in the 2023-24 NBA regular season. Lottery odds decrease marginally thereafter with Charlotte’s chances to win the No. 1 pick at 13.3%, Portland’s odds at 13.2% and San Antonio’s odds at 10.5%. 

Lottery odds drop 1.5% for the next five teams — Toronto, Memphis, Utah, Houston and Atlanta — before falling off to 2.0% for the Chicago Bulls at the 11th-best spot. The odds trail all the way down to 0.7% for Golden State’s whose pick is owed this year to the Trail Blazers. Some of those picks could be conveyed to other teams based on where they are slotted. 

Sunday marks the sixth year of the NBA’s new lottery system, so if all of this sounds foreign, we’ve got a detailed explainer for what to know and when to know it below. 

When is the NBA Draft Lottery?

The 2024 NBA Draft Lottery will take place on Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m. ET before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference playoff showdown between the Knicks and Pacers. It will air on ESPN and be streaming on fubo (try for free).

Eight current NBA players will be on the stage for the lottery. Here’s the full list of team representatives:

How does the lottery work?

The previous draft lottery system prior to 2019 awarded a 25% chance that the team with the worst record would win the No. 1 overall pick. The second and third-worst teams by record were given 19.9% and 15.6% chance of winning the No. 1 pick. The new format approved in 2017 and enacted in 2019 reduced the odds the teams with the three worst records would win the lottery and flattened the odds across the board. 

The three teams with the worst record are awarded a 14% chance then odds decrease thereafter by 1.5% points down to 0.5%. However, due to numerous tiebreaker scenarios this year, only Detroit and Washington have a 14% chance of securing the No. 1 pick and percentages for several other teams are marginally different.

What’s the selection process for the lottery?

A draft lottery conducted through drawings will be held to determine the first four picks in the NBA Draft. The remaining 10 lottery teams will select in positions five through 14 in inverse order of their 2023-24 regular season records.

The lottery process is conducted privately with representatives from the NBA, participating teams and the accounting firm Ernst & Young in attendance. 

A total of fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a lottery machine. There is a total of 1,001 possible combinations when the four balls are drawn. All 14 balls are placed into the lottery machine and mixed for 20 seconds before the first ball is removed. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds and another ball is drawn. The team with the assigned combination receives the No. 1 pick. 

That process is then repeated until the order for picks Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are set.

Here’s more on that from the NBA:

The drawing process occurs in the following manner: All 14 balls are placed in the lottery machine and they are mixed for 20 seconds, and then the first ball is removed. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds, and then the second ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the third ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the fourth ball is drawn. The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the No. 1 pick. The same process is repeated with the same ping-pong balls and lottery machine for the second through fourth picks.

If the same team comes up more than once, the result is discarded and another four-ball combination is selected. Also, if the one unassigned combination is drawn, the result is discarded and the balls are drawn again. The length of time the balls are mixed is monitored by a timekeeper who faces away from the machine and signals the machine operator after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed.

What are the odds for the draft lottery?

The Pistons finished with the NBA’s worst record (by five games) in 2023-24 for a second consecutive season, thus earning the 14% chance to win the lottery. Washington had the second-worst record and has a 14% chance as well. The full odds board for each team to win the No. 1 pick and the chances each pick lands in the top four is below.

Team Record Winning % Top-four pick (%) Top overall pick (%)

Detroit Pistons

14-68

.171

52.1%

14.0%

Washington Wizards

15-67

.268

52.1% 

14.0%

Charlotte Hornets

21-61

.256

50.3%

13.3%

Portland Trail Blazers

21-61

.256

50.0%

13.2%

San Antonio Spurs

22-60

.268

42.1%

10.5%

Toronto Raptors-x

25-57

.305

37.2%

9.0%

Memphis Grizzlies

27-55

.329

32.0%

7.5%

Utah Jazz-x

31-51

.378

26.3%

6.0%

Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn)

32-50

.390

20.3%

4.5%

Atlanta Hawks

36-46

.439

13.9%

3.0%

Chicago Bulls

39-43

.476

9.4%

2.0%

Houston Rockets-x

41-41

.500

7.1%

1.5%

Sacramento Kings

46-36

.561

3.8%

0.8%

Golden State Warriors-x

46-36

.561

3.4%

0.7%

x – Pick may be conveyed to another team

  • Toronto’s pick will be conveyed to San Antonio if not among the top 6 picks.
  • Utah’s pick will be conveyed to Oklahoma City if not among the top 10 picks.
  • Houston’s pick will be conveyed to Oklahoma City if not among the top 4 picks.
  • Golden State’s pick will be conveyed to Portland (via Boston and Memphis) if not among the top 4 picks.

Which players will be picked in the lottery?

These will chane before the NBA Draft, but here are the current top NBA Draft prospects on Kyle Boone’s NBA Draft Big Board with full board available here.

RK PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR POS HT
1 Alex Sarr France C 7-1
2 Stephon Castle UConn Fr PG 6-6
3 Nikola Topic Serbia PG 6-6
4 Rob Dillingham Kentucky Fr PG 6-3
5 Zaccharie Risacher France SF 6-9
6 Matas Buzelis G League Ignite PF 6-8
7 Donovan Clingan UConn Soph C 7-2
8 Reed Sheppard Kentucky Fr SG 6-3
9 Ron Holland G League Ignite PF 6-6
10 Isaiah Collier USC Fr PG 6-5
11 Dalton Knecht Tennessee Sr SG 6-6
12 Kyle Filipowski Duke Soph C 7-0
13 Jared McCain Duke Fr PG 6-3
14 Tidjane Salaun France SF 6-9

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