Why is the NBA Draft Lottery on a Sunday this year?

The NBA Draft Lottery has historically been held in the middle of the week. Here's why the 2024 iteration will be on a Sunday.
2023 NBA Draft
2023 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

In years past, the NBA hosted its annual draft lottery on Tuesday nights before an ESPN playoff game broadcast. But this time, NBA commissioner Adam Silver decided to change it to Sunday afternoon for the 39th annual NBA Draft Lottery.

The lottery will take place on Sunday, May 12, at 3 p.m. EST, before ABC's broadcast of Game 4 of the second-round series between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

Why did it change?

Many are speculating that the league sees more value in having the lottery on over-the-air television than strictly cable. It seems to be beneficial to the league and possibly its fans to change it to Sunday afternoon.

How does the NBA draft lottery work?

It is a weighted lottery system that determines the top four order among the 14 first-round picks that initially belong to non-playoff teams. From No. 5 onward, the order is allotted by record from worst to best.

Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered one through 14 will be placed in a lottery machine. When four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection, there are 1,001 possible combinations. Before the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams.

NBA Draft lottery odds

The Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards are tied in the odds for the No. 1 pick with 14 percent. However, both have a 52.13 percent chance of getting a top-four pick. The Charlotte Hornets are right behind with 13.3 percent for the No. 1 pick and 50.28 percent for a top-four pick. The Portland Trail Blazers are next with 13.2 percent for No. 1 and 50.01 percent with a top-four pick.

But the Houston Rockets have two chances to grab one of the four lottery picks: one via the Brooklyn Nets, which have the No. 9 odds slot, and also their own, which is at No. 12. The Rockets will keep possession of the pick from the Nets no matter what but the Rockets will lose their pick to the Thunder unless it lands in the top four.

The former No. 1 pick team last year, the San Antonio Spurs, have a 10.5 percent chance of going back-to-back with the first pick. After securing the 2024 Rookie of the Year Victor Wembanyama with their first overall last year, they still have a 42.11 percent of getting a top-four pick in this year's draft.

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