Draft Lottery day arrives, with the NBA about to learn where Wembanyama is going
CHICAGO (AP) — Draft Lottery day has arrived, and the NBA is about to learn which team will win the chance to select Victor Wembanyama next month.
The lottery will be held Tuesday night in Chicago, where 14 teams will have a chance to win the No. 1 pick for the June 22 draft. Detroit, Houston and San Antonio all have the best chance of winning, at 14% apiece.
The Indiana Pacers have a 6.8% chance of taking the top pick, with the No. 8 pick being the most likely. Guard Tyrese Haliburton will represent the Pacers at the draft.
The lottery involves 14 ping-pong balls going into a machine, and the first four balls that come out will be matched to predetermined combinations assigned to each team.
Results will be aired on ESPN, though the lottery itself takes place about an hour before in a secure room. Each team will have a representative in the room, and league officials, lottery observers and some reporters will also be present — but none will be allowed to leave the room or communicate with anyone until the results are shown on television.
The lottery goes back to 1985. In the first five years, the lottery teams — seven in 1985 through 1988, nine in 1989 — all had an equal chance of winning.
Odds began being weighted in 1990. In those 33 years, the team with the best odds of winning prevailed only 11 times, or 33.3%. But the team holding (or tied for) the best odds entering the lottery won the No. 1 pick seven times in the last eight years.
Wembanyama is a 7-foot-3, 19-year-old phenom from France who is wrapping up his third professional season there and has been the consensus top pick for months. He has the height of a center, the shooting touch of a wing and the passing ability of a point guard.