Fewer and fewer fan bases have a horse in the NBA playoff race, with the conference finals about to tip off and more teams going home. But in the NBA Draft, every team has a horse, and the big day for lottery teams has arrived. Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery is underway.
With Duke sensation Zion Williamson expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, there’s plenty at stake this year. Every team would be thrilled to win the right to take the big man, who is one of the best prospects to come along in years.
The Draft Lottery — held annually since 1985 — determines the order in which teams who did not make the playoffs will select in that year’s NBA Draft. Technically, the first four picks are the only ones decided by the lottery system. After the first four picks, the remaining teams will be ordered by the inverse of their regular season records.
CBS Sports will be with you throughout the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery. If you are unable to view the live application below, please click here.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 edition:
How to watch the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery
- Date: Tuesday, May 14
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Chicago, Illinois
- TV channel: ESPN
- Online streaming: WatchESPN
Which teams are in the Lottery this year?
* Owed picks:
- The Cavaliers owe the Hawks a first-round pick via the Kyle Korver trade, and it is protected 1-10 this year.
- The Grizzlies owe the Celtics a first-round pick via the Jeff Green trade, and it is protected 1-8 this year.
- The Mavericks owe the Hawks a first-round pick via the Luka Doncic trade, and it is protected 1-5 this year.
- The Kings‘ first-round pick, which was owed to the Sixers via the Nik Stauskas trade, is now owed to the Celtics via the Markelle Fultz trade, and is protected No. 1 overall.
Are there any changes to the format this year?
Yes. In an attempt to discourage teams from tanking, the league implemented a new set of lottery odds. Previously, the team with the worst record had a 25 percent chance at getting the top pick. Now, the teams with the three worst records all have an equal 14 percent chance at the top pick. Likewise, the odds were smoothed across the board, giving teams in the middle of the lottery a better chance at moving up into the top-four slots.
Additionally, the team with the worst record used to be guaranteed to receive no worse than the fourth pick. That was because the first three picks were the only ones determined by the lottery. After those picks, the remaining teams were ordered in the inverse of their regular season records. Now, the first four picks will be decided by the lottery draw. Thus, the team with the worst record will receive no worse than the fifth pick.
When did the lottery begin?
The lottery was approved in 1984 and went into effect for the first time in the 1985 NBA Draft. The New York Knicks — who finished with the worst record this season — won the lottery that year and selected Patrick Ewing. It wasn’t without controversy though, as many still believe that year’s Draft Lottery was fixed by the league.
Who are the top prospects?
There’s no question that the best prospect heading into the draft is Duke forward Zion Williamson. The 18-year-old was a viral sensation in his high school days, and became the best player in college basketball in his freshman season. Regardless of which team wins the No. 1 pick, he’s expected to be the first player selected.
Beyond that, however, there are plenty of questions. Here are the top five players off the board in the most recent mock draft from CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone:
- Zion Williamson — F, Duke
- RJ Barrett — F, Duke
- Ja Morant — G, Murray State
- Coby White — G, North Carolina
- De’Andre Hunter — F, Virginia