The annual NBA’s draft lottery allows teams that missed the playoffs the previous year to participate in a lottery process to create the new order of the NBA draft. During the draft, teams obtain rights to prospect basketball players, with the winner of the lottery getting the first pick.
Only three top seven picks are decided by the lottery out of 14 teams in total. The team with the worst record the previous year has the best chances of winning the lottery.
When the draft was first created, it was also ordered by worst to best record, but teams had the option to use a “territorial pick” in which the team could draft a player from its local area, but would also forfeit its first pick in the draft. Later, the NBA introduced a coin flip that would determine which team could pick first, the loser getting the second pick. After a major controversy in 1984 in which fans believed teams would purposely lose their regular season games to obtain the worst record and first pick in the draft, the lottery system was created.
While the draft has been continuously modified throughout the years to give all teams an equal chance, many still criticize the lottery as rigged by the NBA. In 2016, former player Dikembe Mutombo tweeted a congratulatory message to the Philadelphia 76ers on winning the draft lottery hours before it had even occurred. In 2017, Laker’s executive Magic Johnson assured head coach Luke Walton that the Lakers would acquire a top three pick 12 days before the lottery in which the Laker’s obtained the second pick.
The lottery itself is not broadcasted, and is in fact conducted in private, which only fuels the argument that the process is fixed. While this year’s lottery did not stir up anything major, there is still dispute over the gap between super teams and everyone else in the process.
The three big winners of this year’s draft lottery came out to be the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics claimed the first pick, meaning they are surrounded by great players that could easily boost the team’s ability. Fans now look toward point guards Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and De’Aaron Fox as possible draft picks.
Many rumors surround the Lakers, who might use their prospects and second pick opportunity to pick up LA native and basketball superstar Paul George from the Indiana Pacers.
The 76ers, who were able to receive the third pick instead of the fifth after a deal made with the Sacramento Kings in 2015, are also looking at Washington’s Fultz, who would work great as an additional ball handler with Ben Simmons and as a shooter. The Sixers may also end up in a competition with the Celtics over Ball and Fox, or could be looking at Duke swingman Jayson Tatum.
Junior Sara Popper says, “I’m so happy that the Celtics did so well in the lottery because they’ve had a hard season and I can’t wait to see how they do.”
Finally, draft losers the Brooklyn Nets, the Phoenix Suns, and Orlando Magic had a rough night. The Nets, who gave up their first round pick until 2018 to the Celtics in order to acquire Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, have lost more games than any other team this season and could have really used a top pick.
The Suns, who have also had a much tougher season than the winners of the draft, are still behind after trading important players for failed prospects.
Lastly, Magic was in desperate need of another great player, especially without their superstar Shaquille O’Neal.
In the wake of this year’s lottery, it is interesting to observe the choices each team will make in the draft and how their choices will work out for them in the following season.
Junior Hugh McCabe says, “I was really worried about how this lottery would work out for my favorite teams, but I’m pretty satisfied in the end!”
Who do you think each player should draft for a successful season in the upcoming draft and why?