NBA Draft Lottery -- Everything you need to know in one place

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery for the NBA Draft 2013. It will be televised (no need to send anyone there) on ESPN at 6:30 pm Utah Time (8:30 PM EST). The Draft Lotto has been around for 28 years and there's some very interesting stuff that we can look into if you are a really terrifying nerd like I am. For example, the #5 "seed" for the lotto has been 5x more successful in winning the lotto than the #4 seed over the last three decades (This was edited to better reflect the English language, and how I don't know it yet). That's not the way the probabilities are supposed to work, but that's how the ping pong balls have bounced over the nearly three decades of this event.

So, let's go over the lotto.

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The Historical Results of the NBA Draft Lotto:

Here is every team who has "won" the lotto, their record that season, their probability to win, the number of teams they jumped to get there -- and the player they selected.

Probability Teams Player
Year Lotto Seed Team W L % To Win Jumped Selected
1 1985 3 New York Knicks 24 58 29.3% 14.3% 2 Patrick Ewing
2 1986 7 Los Angeles Clippers * 32 50 39.0% 14.3% 6 Brad Daugherty
3 1987 4 San Antonio Spurs 28 54 34.1% 14.3% 3 David Robinson
4 1988 1 Los Angeles Clippers 17 65 20.7% 14.3% 0 Danning Manning
5 1989 6 Sacramento Kings 27 55 32.9% 11.1% 5 Pervis Ellison
6 1990 1 New Jersey Nets 17 65 20.7% 16.7% 0 Derrick Coleman
7 1991 5 Charlotte Hornets 26 56 31.7% 10.6% 4 Larry Johnson
8 1992 2 Orlando Magic 21 61 25.6% 15.2% 1 Shaquille O'Neal
9 1993 11 Orlando Magic 41 41 50.0% 1.5% 10 Chris Webber
10 1994 2 Milwaukee Bucks 20 62 24.4% 16.3% 1 Glenn Robinson
11 1995 5 Golden State Warriors 26 56 31.7% 9.4% 4 Joe Smith
12 1996 2 Philadelphia 76ers 18 64 22.0% 33.7% 1 Allen Iverson
13 1997 3 San Antonio Spurs 20 62 24.4% 21.6% 2 Tim Duncan
14 1998 3 Los Angeles Clippers 17 65 20.7% 22.6% 2 Michael Olowokandi
15 1999 3 Chicago Bulls 13 37 26.0% 15.7% 2 Elton Brand
16 2000 7 New Jersey Nets 31 51 37.8% 4.4% 6 Kenyon Martin
17 2001 3 Washington Wizards 19 63 23.2% 15.7% 2 Kwame Brown
18 2002 5 Houston Rockets 28 54 34.1% 8.9% 4 Yao Ming
19 2003 1 Cleveland Cavaliers 17 65 20.7% 22.5% 0 LeBron James
20 2004 1 Orlando Magic 21 61 25.6% 25.0% 0 Dwight Howard
21 2005 6 Milwaukee Bucks 30 52 36.6% 6.3% 5 Andrew Bogut
22 2006 5 Toronto Raptors 27 55 32.9% 8.8% 4 Andrea Bargnani
23 2007 6 Portland Trail Blazers 32 50 39.0% 5.3% 5 Greg Oden
24 2008 9 Chicago Bulls 33 49 40.2% 1.7% 8 Derrick Rose
25 2009 2 Los Angeles Clippers 19 63 23.2% 17.7% 1 Blake Griffin
26 2010 5 Washington Wizards 26 56 31.7% 10.3% 4 John Wall
27 2011 8 Los Angeles Clippers ** 32 50 39.0% 2.8% 7 Kyrie Irving
28 2012 3 New Orleans Hornets 21 45 31.8% 13.7% 2 Anthony Davis
683 1565 30.4% 374.6% 91
24.4 55.9 13.4% 3.25
* LAC gave pick to PHI, who gave it to CLE
** LAC gave pick to CLE

Essentially the team that WINS the lotto usually has a winning percentage in their 30%, and jumps 3.25 spots to get there. That kind of sucks because the #1 and #2 seeds have only won the lotto 8 times in 28 years -- despite having the best chances to win it.

Historical_nba_draft_lotto_winners

Yikes! The probabilities don't seem to give a damn about reality, and vice versa. Probably the biggest "upset" was the Orlando Magic winning the lotto two years in a row -- the second time they only had a 1.5% chance to win it. That's just random enough to make it seem like it truly is random and not that a young expansion team in a big tourist destination didn't just draft an epoch changing bigman and still missed the playoffs.

Of note are that the #10, #12, #13, and #14 seeds have never won the lotto. And that's fine. We've only had 28 different lotteries. Not every team is likely to win it in such a small sample size. That said, there are 14 lotto teams, and 28 years -- so if you like round numbers, if everything was even each "seed" could have won it twice already. Of course, that's grade school track and field day math, and not actual probabilities. Some teams are just luckier (Cleveland), and some seeds have been shafted (#4 seed).

But those are the fates.

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The 2013 NBA Draft Lottery:

This is how the probabilities shake down for this season

Chances Full Probabilities
Seed Team * Win Top 3 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th
1 Orlando Magic 25.0% 64.4% 25.0% 21.5% 17.9% 35.7%
2 Charlotte Bobcats 19.9% 55.8% 19.9% 18.8% 17.1% 31.9% 12.3%
3 Cleveland Cavaliers 15.6% 46.9% 15.6% 15.7% 15.6% 22.6% 26.5% 4.0%
4 Phoenix Suns 11.9% 37.8% 11.9% 12.6% 13.3% 9.9% 35.1% 16.0% 12.0%
5 New Orleans Pelicans 8.8% 29.2% 8.8% 9.7% 10.7% 26.1% 36.0% 8.4% 0.4%
6 Sacramento Kings 6.3% 21.5% 6.3% 7.1% 8.1% 43.9% 30.5% 4.0% 0.4%
7 Detroit Pistons 4.3% 15.0% 4.3% 4.9% 5.8% 59.9% 23.2% 1.8% 0.0%
8 Washington Wizards 2.8% 10.0% 2.8% 3.3% 3.9% 72.4% 16.8% 0.8% 0.0%
9 Minnesota Timberwolves 1.7% 6.1% 1.7% 2.0% 2.4% 81.3% 12.2% 0.4% 0.0%
10 Portland Trail Blazers 1.1% 4.0% 1.1% 1.3% 1.6% 87.0% 8.9% 0.2% 0.0%
11 Philadelphia 76ers 0.8% 2.9% 0.8% 0.9% 1.2% 90.7% 6.3% 0.1% 0.0%
12 Toronto Raptors * 0.7% 2.5% 0.7% 0.8% 1.0% 93.5% 3.9% 0.0%
13 Dallas Mavericks 0.6% 2.2% 0.6% 0.7% 0.9% 96.0% 1.8%
14 Utah Jazz 0.5% 1.9% 0.5% 0.6% 0.8% 98.2%
Chicago Bulls receive the Bobcats 2013 1st round pick (Top 12 protected)
Charlotte Bobcats receive the Kings 2013 1st round pick (Top 13 protected)
Charlotte Bobcats receive the Pistons 2013 1st round pick (Top 14 protected)
Charlotte Bobcats receive the Blazers 2013 1st round pick (Top 12 protected)
Miami Heat receive 76ers 1st round pick (Top 14 protected)
Oklahoma City Thunder receive Raptors 2013 1st round pick (Top 3 protected)
Oklahoma City Thunder receive Mavs 2013 1st round pick (Top 20 protected)
Yeah, I just wrote that all down, but only the OKC / TOR deal is valid for this yr

While it looks bad for the low teams (the teams that aren't good enough to make the playoffs, and aren't lucky enough to lose the RIGHT amount of games (Like an oreo cookie, if you don't have enough milk you can't win the lotto or the playoffs) The #14 seed (the Jazz) only have a 0.5% chance to win the lotto, but we don't care about that. We have a 1.9% chance to be Top 3 -- which would happen for the second time in three seasons for us. Is that likely to happen? Not likely. The probability is only 1.9% for us -- but this is the same system (The NBA Draft) where the Magic won the lotto two years in a row, the second time they only had a 1.5% chance of doing so.

Stranger things have happened.

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What's going to happen tonight?

By the probabilities, one of the top three teams will win the lotto. What does history tell us? A team from #3 to #6 will win the lotto. (15 lotto wins in 28 years, much higher than the 14 lotto wins in 28 years for picks #1 to #3) It would not be a surprise to see the Kings (#6) win the lotto this year. For a variety of reasons. Or the Pelicans / Hornets (#5).

What do you guys think?

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