2011 NBA Draft Lottery Primer

Tomorrow at 5:30 PM PT on ESPN, the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery will occur.  So how does the lottery work?

Well for starters, 14 ping pong balls numbered 1-14 are placed in a lottery machine and then 4 balls are drawn.  This is all done behind closed doors earlier in the day, with a representative from each team present for all you conspiracy theorists out there.  The Kings usually send minority owner John Kehriotis as this representative.  

There are 1001 possible combinations and 11-12-13-14 is disregarded while the other remaining combinations are distributed among the NBA teams in the lottery.  The team with the worst record is assigned 250 combinations. The 5th pick  (where the Kings are slated) usually is assigned 88 combinations, but since the Kings and Nets finished with the same record, and the Kings won a tie-breaking coin flip, the Kings have 76 out of 1000 combinations and the Nets (whose pick will go to Utah) have 75.

The lottery is only used to figure out the Top 3 picks while the rest is then sorted by record.  This means that while a team can make a large leap to the Top 3, they can only fall 3 picks.

After the jump, the odds.

Here are the odds for the Kings:

1st: 7.6%

2nd: 8.4%

3rd: 9.5%

5th: 26.1%

6th: 38.6%

7th: 9.3%

8th: 0.4%

Under the current lottery system implemented in 1994, the Kings have been in the lottery 10 times (with this being the 11th).  They have always gotten slotted with the pick that they had the highest chance to get, which this year is the 6th at 38.6%.  Hopefully Mayor Kevin Johnson can work some more of his magic and buck the trend.

Also for tomorrow, here is the order you WANT to hear if you're hoping for the Kings jumping into the top 3:

14. Houston

13. Phoenix

12. Utah

11. Golden St.

10. Milwaukee

9. Charlotte

8. Cleveland 

7. Detroit/Washington

6. Utah/Toronto/Washington

5. Cleveland/Toronto/Washington

If they start announcing team names and one of those teams drop down the list it is VERY likely we either stayed where we were or dropped.  If we see Washington at 7 or Washington/Toronto at 6 without anything above changing, it is VERY likely we jumped.

No matter what happens tomorrow, 1st pick or 8th, I will be happy because I have a team to be happy about.

Go Kings!

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