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NBA Draft Lottery

NBA Draft Lottery

  • Premiered: 
    May 12, 1985
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: CBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Special, Annual
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Sports
  • Tags: basketball (pro)

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Plot Synopsis

Each year since 1985, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has held a lottery to determine the order of non-playoff teams in the NBA DRAFT, which is held one month after the lottery. Prior to 1985, the NBA flipped a coin to award the first pick of the draft to one of the two teams with the worst record during that year's regular season. From 1985-1989, the league selected envelopes to determine the order of all non-playoff teams (1985 & 1986) or just the top three selections (1987-1989). Since 1990, the NBA has used ping-pong balls to award the top three selections in the draft to non-playoff teams, weighting the teams' odds based on their regular-season records, with the worst team having the best odds of winning the first pick. After the first three draft slots are filled, the remaining picks are determined based on regular-season record, with the fourth pick awarded to the remaining team with the worst regular-season record and the last pick given to the team with the best regular-season record. The NBA DRAFT LOTTERY first appeared on television on Sunday, May 12, 1985, when CBS showed NBA Commissioner David Stern picking envelopes during halftime of the Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers playoff game. Networks (CBS: 1985-90; NBC: 1991-02) continued to air this event during halftime of a nationally-televised playoff game -- until 2003, when ABC presented a 30-minute, standalone program that featured the lottery. Since 2004, ESPN has aired the NBA DRAFT LOTTERY as a 30-minute program, preceding a nationally-televised playoff game.
The 2015 NBA DRAFT LOTTERY -- hosted by Mark Jones with analysis from NBA Draft expert Jay Bilas -- was broadcast live by ESPN on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT from New York Hilton Midtown, just before Game 1 of the Wetern Conference Finals between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors. For the 2015 NBA DRAFT LOTTERY, the odds were:
Minnesota Timberwolves (25.0% chance of winning first pick)
New York Knicks (19.9%)
Philadelphia 76ers (15.6%)
Los Angeles Lakers^ (11.9%)
Orlando Magic (8.8%)
Sacramento Kings (6.3%)
Denver Nuggets (4.3%)
Detroit Pistons (2.8%)
Charlotte Hornets (1.7%)
Miami Heat^^ (1.1%)
Indiana Pacers (0.8%)
Utah Jazz (0.7%)
Phoenix Suns (0.6%)
Oklahoma City Thunder (0.5%)
*The Philadelphia 76ers will receive the Lakers' pick if it fall outside the top five.
*The Philadelphia 76ers will receive the Heat's pick if it fall outside the top 10.


Other Titles

  • Also known as NBA Lottery


  • New York Hilton Midtown (2015) - Manhattan, New York USA - Map It!