NBA Draft lottery 2021, explained: Updated odds for every team to win the No. 1 overall pick


As the few remaining title contenders in the 2021 NBA playoffs battle for the right to hold the Larry O’Brien trophy, other teams are turning their attention to the league’s annual NBA Draft lottery.

Regardless of which franchise lands at the top of the 2021 NBA Draft board, the No. 1 selection will likely be Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham, who has an elite combination of size, shooting and playmaking ability. There are other terrific prospects available beyond Cunningham, though, including Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs.

How will this year’s lottery drawing play out?

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2021 NBA Draft lottery, including the latest odds for every team involved.

MORE: How Nuggets landed Nikola Jokic in draft-day steal

When is the NBA Draft lottery in 2021?

  • Date: June 22, 2021
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: Watch ESPN app

The 2021 NBA Draft lottery drawing will be conducted on Tuesday, June 22. You can watch the 2021 NBA Draft lottery on ESPN or stream it via the Watch ESPN app.

NBA Draft lottery odds 2021

Under the 2021 format, the three worst teams (Rockets, Pistons and Magic) will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery.

Here are each team’s lottery odds with the percent chances to land each pick (via Tankathon).

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 AVG
Rockets 14.0 13.4 12.7 11.9 47.9                   3.7
Pistons 14.0 13.4 12.7 11.9 27.8 20.1                 3.9
Magic 14.0 13.4 12.7 11.9 14.8 26.0 7.1               4.1
Thunder 11.5 11.4 11.9 11.0 7.4 27.1 18.0 2.4             4.6
Cavaliers 11.5 11.4 10.6 11.0 2.9 18.2 25.5 8.6 0.6           4.8
Timberwolves 9.0 9.2 9.4 9.6   8.6 29.7 20.6 3.8 0.2         5.5
Raptors 7.5 7.8 8.1 8.5     19.8 33.9 13.0 1.4 >0.0       6.2
Bulls 4.5 4.8 6.7 5.7       34.5 36.2 8.5 0.5 >0.0     7.5
Kings 4.5 4.8 5.2 5.7         46.4 29.4 3.9 0.1 >0.0   8.1
Pelicans 4.5 4.8 3.6 5.7           60.6 17.9 1.2 >0.0 >0.0 8.7
Hornets 1.8 2.0 2.4 2.5             77.6 13.4 0.4 >0.0 10.4
Spurs 1.7 1.9 1.6 2.4               85.2 6.6 0.1 11.3
Pacers 1.0 1.1 1.5 1.4                 92.9 2.3 12.5
Warriors 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7                   97.6 13.7

How does the NBA Draft lottery work?

The NBA Draft lottery will determine the order of the top four draft picks this year. After the first four teams are locked in, the rest of the lottery order goes by inverse regular-season record. The actual lottery drawing procedure will occur before the ESPN broadcast, and the 2021 NBA Draft order will be announced shortly after.

Here’s the in-the-weeds explanation for the pingpong-ball drawing method, straight from the NBA:

Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a lottery machine. There are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection. Before the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams. The lottery machine is manufactured by the Smart Play Company, a leading manufacturer of state lottery machines throughout the United States. Smart Play also weighs, measures and certifies the ping-pong balls before the drawing.

The drawing process occurs in the following manner: All 14 balls are placed in the lottery machine and they are mixed for 20 seconds, and then the first ball is removed. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds, and then the second ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the third ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the fourth ball is drawn. The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the No. 1 pick. The same process is repeated with the same ping-pong balls and lottery machine for the second through fourth picks.

If the same team comes up more than once, the result is discarded and another four-ball combination is selected. Also, if the one unassigned combination is drawn, the result is discarded and the balls are drawn again. The length of time the balls are mixed is monitored by a timekeeper who faces away from the machine and signals the machine operator after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed.

2021 NBA Draft lottery team representatives

Here are the representatives who will appear on camera for each lottery team.

(This list will be updated.)

Team Representative Position
Golden State Warriors Rick Welts President
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon Former player

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