Deep Dive: Know More About The NBA Draft Lottery 2024

The NBA draft determines where new prospects will start their careers each year. Yet, not all teams have the same odds at the top picks. That’s where the draft lottery comes in.

The lottery decides the order of the first fourteen picks, assigning better odds to the teams with the worst records. This impactful event happens each spring, shaping rosters for next season.

For hard-luck franchises and eager young prospects alike, the mystery and possibility of what may come on lottery night make this short-term setback a potential long-term gain. Read on to get an in-depth of the lottery, how it works and what may happen in 2024.

How The Lottery is Run

If you’re eager to know more about NBA draft lottery 2024, here’s the breakdown: the lottery is majorly composed of the fourteen teams that were unlucky in the playoffs. Depending on their record, each gets a combination of balls and chances at each pick. The team with the worst record will receive 1,500 total combinations.

In comparison, the team with the 14th worst record will receive 100 total combinations. At the televised event, representatives from each lottery team will attend as the drawing happens. Ping pong balls numbered 1-14 are placed in a lottery machine and stirred.

After stirring, the balls are elevated through a spiral and shoot up through tubes. As the balls exit through the tubes, the numbers are individually revealed on television. The first four picks are assigned based on the number combination drawn. Then, the rest of the lottery order is filled in by reverse standings.

Projecting the Lottery Odds

Even before the college basketball season starts, analysts at sites like The Swish Theory begin predicting how the lottery could unfold. They pore over team rosters, studying which clubs may struggle based on injuries, rookie development, and strength of schedule. From there, forecasts are created for each team’s projected win-loss record over the 82-game season.

Based on these records, complex statistical models calculate early odds for each club’s chances of landing in the coveted top 4 spots. The algorithms update to reflect reality as games are played over winter and spring. By the 2024 NBA draft lottery event in late May, a clear portrait of squads holding the clearest odds to move into top draft position should emerge.

Top Prospects to Watch

While it’s still very early, some leading scouting services and NBA draft analysts are already observing top young talent who may be eligible for the draft in 2024. Two names generating early buzz include big man Michael Foster Jr, who played for the NBA G League Ignite developmental team in 2023, showing great size, touch, and defensive instincts. He projects as a potential top pick.

The other is point guard Ausar Thompson from the overseas NBA, who stands out with tremendous court vision, playmaking ability, and size. Watch how both perform throughout the 2023-24 season to gauge their potential lottery status nine months from now.

Early Mock Draft Boards

Even before the fall college basketball season tips off in November 2023, several websites devoted to NBA draft coverage and analysis publish initial 2024 NBA mock draft boards. Since games have yet to be played, these early educational projections based more on player potential still need to be performed. In the first December 2023 mock from The Swish Theory, Michael Foster Jr led the way as the projected first overall selection to the Detroit Pistons, thanks to his exciting skill set for his size.

Ausar Thompson and James Notalo, an athletic scoring wing from the ACC, rounded out the top three choices. As the college and international seasons get underway, expect much movement on these boards throughout the year as players emerge or stock falls based on how they fare against higher competition.

Recent Lottery Rewards and Surprises

A look back at recent NBA draft lotteries shows luck does not always favor the teams with the top odds. In 2023, despite just a 9% chance, the New Orleans Pelicans won the number one pick over heavy favorites Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. The 2022 event likewise saw the Sacramento Kings jump to fourth despite having a 12.7% chance, lower than any other top-four team.

However, in 2021, the Detroit Pistons, owning the best 25% chance at first, did indeed land the selection they were projected to as the team with the worst record. Reviewing each year’s breakdown reveals the true unpredictability and surprise outcomes that can occur on NBA Draft Lottery each spring.

How Teams Have Reaped Benefits

A team moving up in the lottery can set their franchise up for success. After surprising the league by scooping the overall winner number 1 in 2023, the Pelicans selected projected future star boy Victor Wembanyama. The Kings drafted Keegan Murray fourth in 2022 who would go on to win Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, teams like the Pistons stayed put at #1 in 2021 but still found their main man in Cade Cunningham. No matter where a team picks, making wise decisions with their selection can help lead to winning on the court for many seasons. While draft position is important, how teams evaluate talent and fit is also key.

If front offices identify players that match their long term goals, it allows them to build a sustainable program over time.

What to Watch for in 2024

With an entire season of games still to be played, true 2024 NBA draft lottery odds remain uncertain. However, based on early struggles and injury issues facing teams like the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, and Utah Jazz, they are currently projected to have among the worst records. It will be worth monitoring how players like Bradley Beal and Donovan Mitchell progress in returning to full strength from their injuries.

Also pay attention to whether these teams’ on-court results improve once their rosters are fully healthy. Over the upcoming months, how their seasons play out could impact their draft positioning next June. There is a lot of basketball left to be played, so their final lottery chances remain to be seen.

Come late May 2024, the behind-the-scenes process of the lottery drawings will play itself out again live for all to see. But which lucky club will have their number called first for the privilege to select number one? Only the ensuing months of competition can determine the answer.


While earning a high draft pick through the lottery provides hope by giving bad teams a chance at a franchise-changing player, its real intention, from the league’s perspective, is supporting competitive balance.

By redistributing top young talent to those clubs needing improvement, every franchise is presented with the opportunity to take the next step forward.

Whether through the draft, smart trades after securing a pick, free agency moves, or development from within, savvy decisions following the lottery can begin to translate potential into on-court success.

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