The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery is less than a week away and, if you are like me, the whole process is still kind of confusing. For that reason, this piece is here to help explain it more and determine what the Dallas Mavericks odds are of getting each pick.
The NBA Draft Lottery is simultaneously one of the most exciting and most confusing events of the offseason every year. The idea of the lottery itself is simple and has a clear cut purpose: to discourage tanking in the NBA.
Clearly that idea hasn’t panned out yet.
However, aside from that unsuccessful goal, the lottery does make the time before the draft much more exciting for the teams that didn’t make the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks are one of those excited teams, especially considering their very limited lottery experience in recent memory.
Come May 16th, the Mavs and the other 13 teams that missed the playoffs, will know exactly what position they will be drafting from. However, many people don’t know that Dallas actually only has a handful of picks that they could obtain. Let’s dive into that a little bit.
The NBA Draft Lottery began in 1985 but didn’t take its current format until 1990. From 1985 to 1990, the NBA lottery was a completely random pick, where all the non-playoff teams had an equal shot at getting the first overall pick. Obviously, this system did not work out very well as a team who lost every game could have the same potential as a team that missed playoffs by a tiebreaker.
In the early years of the new lottery format after 1990, the teams were given decreasing odds from worst to best, divided between 66 odds. After the Orlando Magic won the lottery in 1993, despite only having a 1 out of 66 chance to get the first pick, the NBA changed the odds even more and began the system in place today. This was especially frustrating considering the Mavs had the best odds that season.
At that point, the NBA decided to make a big change and went from 66 total odds to 1000 odds to choose from, giving the worse teams a better chance of getting the first pick and the better teams much lower odds than before. As more NBA expansion teams have been added, the formula has remained the same but going from 11 to 14 teams.
The way this all works is very interesting. The actual lottery basket has 14 balls in it numbered from 1 to 14. With those balls, there are 1001 total combinations of numbers that can be drawn. The NBA randomizes those 1001 numbers before the lottery, taking one combination out for an even 1000 options. Those are then dispersed across the 14 teams in decreasing order.
The odds are based around the top team receiving a 25% chance to get the first overall pick. From there, each of the 14 teams have decreasing odds down to only a 0.5% chance for the Miami Heat. With the Mavericks sitting at the 9th worst record of the regular season, their odds at the number one overall pick are set at 1.7%.
Now one thing that people who have never paid much attention to the lottery may not know, (Mavs fans, Spurs fans, etc.), is that the first three picks are the only ones actually put through the lottery. After those three, the remaining 11 picks are given in order of who is remaining. Odd strategy in my opinion, but good that the Mavs can’t go too far down the line.
That being said, here are the odds for the Mavericks by pick: 1st pick: 1.7%, 2nd pick: 2.0%, 3rd pick: 2.41%, 4th-8th pick: 0%, 9th pick: 81.31%, 10th pick: 12.3%, 11th pick: 0.38%, 12th pick: 0.002%, 13th-14th pick: 0%. Obviously the Mavericks are most likely to fall to the 9th pick in the draft, but it sure is fun seeing some odds that Dallas could move up to the top 3 in the draft.
With a stacked draft class like the one we have this year, the Mavericks should get a great deal on a player no matter where they fall. The NBA Draft Lottery will be on May 16th at 7:00 CT.