NBA Draft Lottery
Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

“Tanking” is a term for NBA teams purposely losing games to acquire the first overall pick in a certain’s draft. However, that is already a thing of the past. In 2017, the league’s Board of Governors agreed to change the format of the lottery system known as the NBA draft lottery. Due to the hype of the likes of French star, Victor Wembanyama, every fan is left wondering how this system works. Lucky for you, we are here to help you with that conundrum.

Related: NBA: Why every team wants the French superstar Victor Wembanyama?

The NBA Draft lottery and how a team can get the first overall pick

Since September 28, 2017, the NBA has imposed abrupt changes to how the lottery works. With this and the addition of the Play-In tournament, teams will not be tanking very much anymore. Below are all the details about the new draft lottery system:

  • All 14 teams who were not able to reach the playoffs will be participating in the lottery granted that they still have their draft rights.
  • Three of the teams with the worst record will each be given a 14.0% chance for the first pick. The fourth and fifth teams will get 12.5% and 10.0%, respectively. Meanwhile, the following teams (6th to 14th) will be getting lower odds.
  • During the lottery, 14 ping-pong balls will be placed in the lottery machine. There are 1,001 combinations wherein 1,000 of these will be given to the 14 participating teams. The odds of each team are equivalent to the number of combinations they will get. For example, a team with a 14.0% chance will be given 140 combinations. As a result, they could get more chances than the rest of the teams. See the table below for reference.
TEAM ODDS (%) No. of combinations (ODDS x 1000)
1 14.0 140
2 14.0 140
3 14.0 140
4 12.5 125
5 10.5 105
6 9.0 90
7 7.5 75
8 6 60
9 4.5 45
10 3 30
11 2 20
12 1.5 15
13 1 10
14 0.5 5


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  • However, a combination will be discarded/thrown out if the same team comes up more than once or the one unassigned combination comes up in the lottery.
  • Only the top four picks will be drawn in the lottery. Afterward, the 5th through 14th picks will be based according to the teams’ regular season records, but in reverse order (from lowest to highest wins).

Note: The 2023 NBA Draft lottery will be televised on May 16, 2023, presented by State Farm.

Tanking for Victor Wembanyama

The race for the most anticipated rookie, Victor Wembanyama, is getting crazier and crazier. There are already teams that have a higher chance to win the first pick in the upcoming draft.

Related: NBA: New Orleans may be able to draft Victor Wembanyama; Here’s how

NBA Streams Wembanyama Games

Of course, due to the chances mentioned above, teams that are extremely interested to land Wembanyama would want to be in the top 3 – or the 3 worst teams for that matter. As of right now, the four teams with the worst record are the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and Charlotte Hornets. The 2023 NBA draft will take place on June 22, 2023, in Las Vegas.

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Sources: NBA, The Athletic
John Micheal (sometimes called JM or Mike) has been writing various types of professional articles for almost 2 years now. He is an avid sports fan and has been following the NBA since the early 2000s. He also loves playing a lot of video games like DotA 2, Valorant, but MMOs have a special place in JM's heart. Not only is he a huge fan of basketball and video games, he also loves movies and tv shows. He is a huge MARVEL and MCU fan plus he is into a lot of superhero stuff.