Explained: How 2023 NBA Draft Lottery works and all you need to know

The NBA 2022-23 season has entered the playoffs and with that, the preparations for the 2023 NBA Lottery Draft and NBA Draft have started. The Draft Lottery process, which was revamped in the 2017 and came into force 2019 onwards, will be held on May 16, 2023 to determine the selection of first 14 picks of the NBA Draft.

Here are all the details about the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery and NBA Draft:

Which teams will be participating in the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery?

14 of the 32 teams which didn’t make it to the NBA Playoffs 2023, including the Playin tournament will be part for the Lottery Draft process. Here are teams which will be part of the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery with their regular-season win-loss record:

Team Regulars-season win-loss record Win %
Detroit Pistons 17-65 0.207
Houston Rockets 22-60 0.268
San Antonio Spurs 22-60 0.268
Charlotte Hornets 27-55 0.329
Portland Trail Blazers 33-49 0.402
Orlando Magic 34-48 0.415
Indiana Pacers 35-47 0.427
Washington Wizards 35-47 0.427
Utah Jazz 37-45 0.451
Dallas Mavericks 38-44 0.463
Chicago Bulls 40-42 0.488
Oklahoma City Thunder 40-42 0.488
Toronto Raptors 41-41 0.500
New Orleans Pelicans 42-40 0.512

What format does NBA Lottery Draft work with?

The current format of the NBA Lottery Draft was introduced in 2019 after the league approved the changes in 2017. As per the current lottery draft rules, the team with the worst win-loss record will get no lower than fourth pick in the NBA draft. Prior to 2019, the team with the worst win-loss record, got no lower than fifth pick in the NBA draft.

Also, post 2019, three teams with the worst regular-season win-loss record have a 14 percent probability of winning the lottery draft. Before 2019, the team with the worst regular-season win-loss record had 25 percent chance of winning the lottery draft while the next two worst teams had 19.9 percent and 15.6 percent chances of winning the lottery draft, respectively.

The rules also state that a drawing will be conducted through a lottery machine to decide the top four picks among the teams with the worst regular-season win-loss record, that is, the 14 teams which did not make it to the playoffs. The draft picks from number 5 to 14 will be picked by the rest of the teams from the bottom 14 in inverse order of their regular-season win-loss record after the top four picks have been assigned through drawing.

How does the NBA Lottery works for the top four picks?

To determine the order of top four NBA Draft picks among the fourteen non-playoff teams, a lottery machine will be used. Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered from 1 to 14 will be put in the lottery machine. After mixing all the balls for 20 seconds, one ball would be drawn. The remaining balls would then be mixed for 10 further seconds and a second ball would be drawn. The procedure would be repeated for the third and fourth ball as well.

Once all the four balls are drawn, the combination, for example, 1,6,9,14 (on ball 1, ball 2, ball 3 and ball 4, respectively) would be matched against the team which has been assigned that particular combination. Whichever team gets the first combination right among the fourteen participating teams, will get to pick the first player in the NBA Draft.

The same process will be repeated for the NBA Draft pick number two to four as well.

How the combination from drawing the balls are assigned?

There are 1001 possible combination which the lottery machine could throw up while drawing the balls. 1000 of these 1001 combinations are assigned to the 14 participating teams before the process of drawing the balls from machine starts.

What if a combination gets repeated or the one not assigned to any team pops up?

If a combination after drawing all the four balls gets repeated then the result will be discarded and the process would be repeated again. The same rule applies if an unassigned combination is thrown by the lottery machine.

Who makes the lottery machines?

Smart Play, one of the top most manufacturers of the of the state lottery machines throughout the United States will be making the NBA Lottery Draft machine. Smart Play will also weigh, measure and certify the ping-pong balls to be used in the process before drawing.

When and where will the drawing take place in 2023?

The lottery drawing procedure will take place on the same day as NBA Lottery Draft, i.e., May 16, 2023 before the official broadcast takes place.

What happens after the NBA Lottery Draft?

After the last fourteen teams have been assigned the picks to select the players at the NBA Draft, the actual draft takes places around a month after. This year, the NBA Draft will be held on June 22.

How the NBA playoff teams will select the players in the NBA Draft?

After the bottom 14 teams have been assigned the NBA Draft pick number, rest of the picks, that is, 15-30, will be picked by the teams which made into playoffs in reverse order of their regular-season record.


How will the teams pick players form 31-60 in second round of NBA Draft?

The picks are allotted to NBA teams in the second round based on their regular-season win-loss record in reverse order, though. It means that that team with most wins will pick last.

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