2014 NBA Draft: Previewing the Lottery

By Carlton Chin
NBA Bucks-Raptors
John Sokolowski – USA TODAY Sports

The NBA regular season ends tomorrow. While 16 teams prepare for the playoffs, the rest of the 14 NBA teams are checking out their odds of winning the top overall pick and preparing for the 2014 NBA Draft.

In a previous article, I looked at the inner workings of the NBA Draft Lottery. A combination of four balls are selected for each of the first three draft picks. The combinations are associated with the 14 non-playoff teams to give the team with the worst record a 25 percent chance of winning the first draft pick. This method is repeated three times to determine the winners of the top three picks.

The remainder of the 14 teams are then allocated picks in reverse order of their regular season record.  Thus, the exciting part of the draft is really those first three combinations.

At the time of writing this article, the teams with the best chances of winning the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft are the: Milwaukee Bucks (25 percent), Philadelphia 76ers (19.9 percent), Orlando Magic (15.6 percent) and Utah Jazz (11.9 percent).

While the Bucks have the best chance of winning the No. 1 draft pick at 25 percent, it is worth noting that the worst team also has a 75 percent chance of not receiving the top pick! However, based on the NBA lottery system where only the top three picks are randomly awarded, the team with the worst record is at least guaranteed one of the top four picks in the draft.

Similarly, the team with the second-worst record is guaranteed a pick in the top five. Here’s a look behind the scenes at last year’s lottery drawing.


Some of this year’s marquee players include Andrew WigginsJabari ParkerJoel EmbiidJulius Randle and Dante Exum.

Carlton Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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