Understanding Draft Lottery Math

In mid-May, representatives from those teams that didn't make the playoffs will gather for the annual ritual of the Draft Lottery. Last year, it didn't matter much to Nets fans since the Jazz controlled the Nets pick from the Deron Williams trade.

This year, it will matter a lot. Under terms of the Gerald Wallace trade, if the Nets come out of the lottery with picks number 1, 2 or 3, they'll keep the pick ... and all will be forgiven. If not, it will go to the Trail Blazers. So how likely is it that the Nets will have a chance at their top prospects, in order, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky and Thomas Robinson of Kansas? As always, it depends on where they land at the end of the season and where the ping-pong balls land on Lottery Night.

Here's a tutorial from anothernetsfan and Net Income.

There seems to be a lot of confusion on the NBA lottery so I've attached Wikipedia table below. The Seeding order is based on Worst Record to Best Record.

As it currently stands for example the Nets are seeded 6 or so. Let's assume we end the season seeded 6-8 (in the lottery not the playoffs --- e.g. we have the 6-8th worst records).

So let's go through it simply:

4th worst record:

Pick 1-3 = 37.1%

5th worst record:

Pick 1-3 = 29.2%

6th worst record:

Pick 1-3 = 21.5%

7th worst record:

Pick 1-3 = 15%

8th worst record:

Pick 1-3 = 10%

Seed Chances 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th
1 250 .250 .215 .178 .357
2 199 .199 .188 .171 .319 .123
3 156 .156 .157 .156 .226 .265 .040
4 119 .119 .126 .133 .099 .351 .160 .012
5 88 .088 .097 .107 .261 .360 .084 .004
6 63 .063 .071 .081 .439 .305 .040 .001
7 43 .043 .049 .058 .599 .232 .018 .000
8 28 .028 .033 .039 .724 .168 .008 .000
9 17 .017 .020 .024 .813 .122 .004 .000
10 11 .011 .013 .016 .870 .089 .002 .000
11 8 .008 .009 .012 .907 .063 .001 .000
12 7 .007 .008 .010 .935 .039 .000
13 6 .006 .007 .009 .960 .018
14 5 .005 .006 .007 .982

Of course, if the Nets make the playoffs --they are 5 1/2 games out with 21 to go-- none of this matters. The pick goest to Portland.

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