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2024 NBA Draft Lottery: Top prospects, teams with the best odds and how the lottery works

In Sports
May 10, 2024

This weekend’s NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order for the first 14 picks of the 2024 NBA Draft. Unlike last year’s lottery — which featured the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, with the San Antonio Spurs landing the No. 1 pick — this year has no sure-fire No. 1 prospect.

A pair of French players are projected at the top: Alex Sarr, a 7-foot-1 center, played in Australia’s National Basketball League this season and 6-9 wing Zaccharie Risacher, one of the best perimeter shooters in this draft class, is still finishing up his season in France.

The Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards have the best odds to land the No. 1 pick this year with a 14% chance each. The Pistons had the No. 1 pick in 2021 and drafted point guard Cade Cunningham. Last year, they took Ausar Thompson with the fifth overall pick and will be looking to add to their rebuild. The Wizards haven’t had a No. 1 pick since 2010 when they drafted John Wall. Last year, they drafted Wembanyama’s French teammate, Bilal Coulibaly, with the seventh overall pick.

Below is everything you need to know about the NBA Draft Lottery and upcoming NBA Draft.

Date: Sunday, May 12
Time: 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Location: McCormick Convention Center in Chicago

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 28: Zaccharie Risacher of Bourg en Bresse Basket takes a jump shoot during the Betclic Elite match between Paris and Bourg en Bresse Basket at Adidas Arena on April 28, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Zaccharie Risacher is a potential top pick in the 2024 NBA draft. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Alex Sarr
Sarr, who elected to play for the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s NBL for one season, commanded the attention of NBA scouts and executives in the fall during a pair of exhibition games in Las Vegas against the G League Ignite. He showcased a much improved motor and elite rim protection, and solidified himself as a potential top pick after dominating the paint against other projected lottery talent in Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland. During his one season for the Wildcats, Sarr averaged 9.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18 minutes per game.

Zaccharie Risacher
Risacher is still playing in his season for JL Bourg-en-Bresse in the LNB Pro A French League. The 6-9 wing — whose dad, Stéphane, was a six-time French League All-Star and won a silver medal with France at the 2000 Summer Olympics — has played over 60 games this season, more than any other prospect, and shown significant improvement since he played for Team World at the Nike Hoop Summit last spring. One of the best catch-and-shoot wings in the draft, Risacher is shooting 39% from 3-point range on 3.5 attempts per game and has added better decision-making in the lane and facilitating for others.

Stephon Castle
Castle was incredible during the NCAA tournament. The 6-6 guard delivered under pressure on the biggest stage in college basketball, particularly in the Final Four. In his last two games against Alabama and Purdue, Castle averaged 18 points and five rebounds. He is one of the best defending guards in this draft class and consistently smothered some of the best guards as a freshman this past season. He was one of the biggest risers during the tournament and is now a projected top 5 pick in the upcoming draft.

Nikola Topić
Topić was sidelined for over three months with a knee injury, but he’s back playing for KK Crvena Zvezda in Serbia. The 6-6 point guard is one of the best passing guards in the draft, averaging 5.9 assists per game. In a recent win on May 3, his second game back from injury, Topić put up eight points, six assists and two steals in 18 minutes off the bench. He has recorded 10 assists twice this season and is only averaging two turnovers per game as the team’s primary ball-handler.

Donovan Clingan
Clingan dealt with injuries all season long, but he was at full strength during the postseason and helped lead UConn to back-to-back titles. The 7-2 center held his own in the paint against 7-4 Zach Edey, the most dominant player in college basketball, and solidified himself as the next big off the board after Sarr. In a tournament win over Northwestern, Clingan flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks in 27 minutes. He moves well laterally for his size and has the footwork to defend the pick-and-roll and recover to the block.

The draft lottery results will be broadcast live with NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum revealing the sealed envelopes, announcing the draft lottery results in descending order. Prior to the broadcast, the actual lottery to determine picks 1 through 4 takes place in a separate room with NBA officials, representatives of participating teams, select media and the accounting firm Ernst & Young, which oversees the drawings.

For the actual lottery, 14 ping-pong balls are dropped in a lottery machine while a league representative randomly selects four balls, revealing a four-number combination. There are 1,001 possible combinations with 1,000 of those combinations being assigned to 14 participating lottery teams. If the same team’s combination comes up more than once, the result is discarded and another four-ball combination is drawn.

After the first four picks are determined, the remaining picks are ranked in inverse order, based on win/loss record.

The 14 teams that did not make the playoffs have a chance to land the No. 1 pick, depending on their regular-season records. Below are the odds for every team in the draft lottery and how they finished the regular season. The teams with the worst records are seeded at the top of the lottery.

1. Detroit Pistons: 14%, 140 combinations
2. Washington Wizards: 14%, 140 combinations
3. Charlotte Hornets: 13.3%, 133 combinations
4. Portland Trail Blazers: 13.2%, 132 combinations
5. San Antonio Spurs: 10.5%, 105 combinations
6. Toronto Raptors: 9%, 90 combinations
7. Memphis Grizzlies: 7.5%, 75 combinations
8. Utah Jazz: 6%, 60 combinations
9. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn): 4.5%, 45 combinations
10. Atlanta Hawks: 3%, 30 combinations
11. Chicago Bulls: 2%, 20 combinations
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Houston): 1.5%, 15 combinations
13. Sacramento Kings: 0.8%, 8 combinations
14. Golden State Warriors: 0.7%, 7 combinations
Note: Golden State will send the pick to Portland if it lands outside of 1-4

This is the first year the NBA has split up the draft into two nights. The first round will be on Wednesday, June 26, at the Barclays Center in New York (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). The second round will be on Thursday, June 27, at ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in New York (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).

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