It’s the most dramatic and franchise-changing 15 minutes in television annually.
The NBA draft lottery selection takes place Tuesday night, where 14 draft slots will be decided in Chicago for the NBA draft June 23 in Brooklyn.
Of course, the lottery will have already been decided in a separate room by the time results are made public from Chicago just after 8 p.m. on ESPN. Yet only a select few will know before the envelopes are opened and revealed by deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. The NBA will later release video to the public of the entire back-room lottery drawing (here is last year’s with an explainer on how it works).
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In short, 14 ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 are dumped into a lottery machine (there are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14). Before the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 four-digit combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating franchises, based on their records. Teams lower in the standings will receive more combinations than those with better records. When the four balls are selected, the team with the winning combination receives the first pick.
That process is repeated for the second, third and fourth picks, then the 10 remaining lottery teams will be slotted Nos. 5-14 in inverse order of their regular-season record.
A representative from each lottery squad is in the room while this happens. A partner from Ernst & Young, who oversees the process, packs, orders and seals the envelopes before bringing them to the studio for the broadcast. No one outside the room knows the results before the broadcast.
The Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons each have a 14% chance to win the lottery and the No. 1 overall pick, and have equal odds at Nos. 2-4. The Oklahoma City Thunder also have about a 14% chance to win the lottery, thanks to their own pick at No. 4 (12.5%) and an unprotected pick at No. 12 from the Los Angeles Clippers (1.5%) via the Paul George trade. The Pistons won it last June, moving up from the No. 2 spot, then selected Cade Cunningham out of Oklahoma State in July’s draft. Houston picked Jalen Green at No. 2.
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This year’s draft class seems to have a consensus top-three prospects — though none on the level of Cunningham — of freshmen power forwards: Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. and Duke’s Paolo Banchero, with Purdue guard Jaden Ivey the leader to go No. 4, along with the intriguing Kentucky freshman guard who didn’t play in college, Shaedon Sharpe.
Holmgren, believed to be the Pistons’ favorite prospect, is arguably the best two-way player in the draft at 7 feet, though he’ll have to improve his strength at 195 pounds to eventually play center full-time. He can shoot the 3-pointer (39%) and has great instincts, toughness and length on defense. … Smith, 6-10, might be the best shooter in the draft and isn’t affected by contests thanks to his high release. … Banchero, 6-10, isn’t as effective an outside shooter, but has the most skilled offensive game. … Ivey, a 6-4 sophomore, is a nightmare off the bounce and an improving shooter. Read more in our recent mock draft.
The Pistons’ odds at each pick are below; they have a 40.1% chance to pick in the top three, with an average of picking 4.1:
• No. 1: 14%
• No. 2: 13.4%
• No. 3: 12.7%
• No. 4: 12%
• No. 5: 14.8%
• No. 6: 26%
• No. 7: 7%
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How to watch 2022 NBA draft lottery
When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
Where: McCormick Place in Chicago.
Streaming: ESPN.com, ESPN app.
Simulate the lottery on Tankathon.com.
BLUEPRINT:How Pistons can crush offseason, earn ‘A’ grade: From draft to Jerami Grant to free agency
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Draft lottery order, No. 1 pick odds
1. Houston Rockets, 14%
2. Orlando Magic, 14%
3. Detroit Pistons, 14%
4. Oklahoma City Thunder, 12.5%
5. Indiana Pacers, 10.5%
6. Portland Trail Blazers, 9%
7. Sacramento Kings, 7.5%
8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers), 6%
9. San Antonio Spurs, 4.5%
10. Washington Wizards, 3%
11. New York Knicks, 2%
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Clippers), 1.5%
13. Charlotte Hornets, 1%
14. Cleveland Cavaliers, 0.5%
Find more draft pick odds for every team at each spot.
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