When is the NBA Draft Lottery? Date, time, odds, how to watch

This summer, the NBA will welcome a new wave of talented young stars with the NBA Draft. Here is everything to know about the Draft Lottery and how it works.

2023 NBA Draft
2023 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The NBA Draft is one of the most exciting events in the offseason. But before the Draft can take place, there is a Draft Lottery.

The Draft Lottery is always several weeks ahead of the actual Draft, and it is used to determine the order of the Draft. In this piece, we will break down the Draft Lottery and discuss everything you need to know.

Everything to know about the Draft Lottery

This year's Draft Lottery will take place on Mother's Day, which is Sunday, May 12. A time slot has not yet been revealed, but last year's took place an 8 p.m. Eastern Time. The lottery usually takes place in Chicago, and it will be back in the Windy City this year. The Draft Lottery will be aired on ESPN.

The teams eligible for the Draft Lottery are the 14 teams that do not make it to the playoffs. Each team is assigned odds for the first pick based on reverse order of regular season record. The final odds are determined when the regular season ends and once any and all tiebreakers are settled.

As of right now, the team that finished with the worst record of the 14 eligible has a 14 percent chance to secure the top pick. The teams with the second and third worst records also have a 14 percent chance to secure the top pick.

The order is actually determined just before ESPN begins its national coverage of this event. The top four picks are determined in a unique way.

14 ping-pong balls numbered 1-14 are placed inside a lottery machine. The order also depends on certain combinations, of which there are 1,001 possible. Prior to the lottery, 1,000 of those combinations are assigned to the 14 teams.

The balls are mixed for 20 seconds before the first ball is removed. After a 10-second mix, the second ball is drawn. The same procedure for the second ball remains for the third and fourth balls. The team that was assigned the first combination that is shown after the mixing is gifted with the first pick. Following this, the same process is used to determine the next three picks.

Finally, Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announces the order after receiving envelopes with the four combinations used. The team with the final announced combination receives the first pick.

Picks 5-14 are then determined according to reverse order of regular season record. The same process is used for picks 15-30 and the entire second round. Each team typically get one selection in the first round and one in the second.

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