Today’s the day that fans of all the NBA teams that weren’t so good this season find out whether or not they need to start lining up to purchase their Zion Williamson jerseys.
In other words, the NBA draft lottery is this afternoon. Fans who didn’t have much to cheer for all season will be going bananas Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 PDT as the order for this summer’s NBA draft is announced on ESPN.
Here’s how it works. All 14 teams that did not make the playoffs are entered into the lottery. Each of those teams have a chance at getting the top overall pick, which pretty much everyone assumes will be used to draft Duke superstar Williamson.
The league has a complicated system involving ping-pong balls that is used to determine which team will the No. 1 pick. The teams with the three worst records — this year it’s the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns — each have a 14% chance of winning the lottery. The other 11 lottery teams have an incrementally smaller chance of coming out on top, with the Lakers having a 2% chance.
The same “weighted” system is used three more times to determine picks 2 through 4; after that, the draft order is determined by remaining teams’ records from the 2018-19 season, from worst to best. Therefore, the Knicks can’t drop any lower than No. 5, the Cavaliers won’t pick any lower than No. 6, etc.
All of that fun stuff happens before the broadcast though. The results are placed in sealed envelopes to be revealed on TV by NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum.