NBA Draft 2021

The complete guide to the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery

The 2021 NBA Playoffs are still in full swing, but for the 14 teams that failed to qualify, the focus shifts to the NBA Draft Lottery, which is set for Tuesday, June 22, at 8:30 p.m. (ET)

MORE: NBA Draft Central

As the 2020-21 season opened later than normal, a number of tentpole events are happening later than usual, with the late June Draft Lottery preceding the 2021 NBA Draft, which is set for Thursday, July 29.

With plenty to keep up with, we've got you covered with all things draft lottery, from odds to top prospects to the biggest storylines ahead of the lottery.

Click below to jump to a topic.

When is the lottery? | Lottery odds | How the lottery works | Who is representing each team | Top prospects | Biggest storylines

When is the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery?

The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery will be on Tuesday, June 22 at 8:30 p.m.

For a second straight year, the lottery will be held virtually.

Which teams have the best lottery odds?

This is the third year of a Draft Lottery system in which each of the league's bottom three teams has an equal chance at obtaining the No. 1 pick.

Team Record Top 4 No. 1 Pick
1 Houston Rockets 17-55 52.1% 14.0%
2 Detroit Pistons 20-52 52.1% 14.0%
3 Orlando Magic 21-51 52.1% 14.0%
4 Oklahoma City Thunder 22-50 45.1% 11.5%
5 Cleveland Cavaliers 22-50 45.1% 11.5%
6 Minnesota Timberwolves → Golden State Warriors* 23-49 37.2% 9.0%
7 Toronto Raptors 27-45 31.9% 7.5%
8 Chicago Bulls → Orlando Magic* 31-41 20.3% 6.0%
9 Sacramento Kings 31-41 20.3% 4.5%
10 New Orleans Pelicans 31-41 20.3% 4.5%
11 Charlotte Hornets 33-39 8.5% 4.5%
12 San Antonio Spurs 33-39 8.0% 1.8%
13 Indiana Pacers 34-38 4.8% 1.7%
14 Golden State Warriors 39-33 2.4% 0.5%

*Minnesota's pick owed to Golden State is top-three protected

*Chicago's pick owed to Orlando is top-four protected

How does the lottery work?

Per the NBA:

"Drawings will be conducted to determine the first four picks in the NBA Draft. The remainder of the "lottery teams" will select in positions five through 14 in inverse order of their 2020-21 regular-season records…

Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a lottery machine. There are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection. Before the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams.

The drawing process occurs in the following manner: All 14 balls are placed in the lottery machine and they are mixed for 20 seconds, and then the first ball is removed. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds, and then the second ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the third ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the fourth ball is drawn. The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the No. 1 pick. The same process is repeated with the same ping-pong balls and lottery machine for the second through fourth picks.

If the same team comes up more than once, the result is discarded and another four-ball combination is selected. Also, if the one unassigned combination is drawn, the result is discarded and the balls are drawn again. The length of time the balls are mixed is monitored by a timekeeper who faces away from the machine and signals the machine operator after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed."

Who is representing each team?

Who are the top prospects?

Ahead of the Draft Lottery, NBA.com Draft Experts Kyle Irving and Eric Fawcett have each provided their big board of top prospects, with mock drafts to follow after the lottery order is revealed. According to both experts, the upcoming draft has a clear-cut top five.

NBA Draft 2021 BIG BOARD: Irving | Fawcett

Below, learn more about the projected top five picks in the 2021 NBA Draft from Irving's scouting reports.

1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State

"Cunningham's size, weight and length have him built more like a forward, but his skill set has him ready to be a jumbo point guard at the NBA level. As a true floor general who commands the pace of the game, Cunningham is fluid and polished in just about everything he does with the ball in his hands."

FULL SCOUTING REPORT

2. Evan Mobley, USC

"Mobley is impressively mobile, athletic and coordinated for a 7-footer. His quick footwork makes him perfect for the defences in today's NBA, more than capable of switching pick-and-rolls on the perimeter, keeping faster guards in front of him. His 7-foot-4 wingspan attributes to him being the best shot blocker in college basketball last season, as his 2.9 blocks per game led the Pac-12 and his 95 total blocks were second-most in the entire NCAA."

FULL SCOUTING REPORT

3. Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga

"The first adjective that can be used to describe Suggs is unselfish. He is a true floor general who makes everyone around him better, always looking to make the extra pass or correct read for the benefit of his team and teammates… He is an elite passer and playmaker - in the halfcourt and especially in transition. He's always looking to push the pace and does so effectively."

FULL SCOUTING REPORT

4. Jalen Green, G League Ignite

"Green is a fluid scorer who can get a bucket in a variety of ways. His jump-out-of-the-gym athleticism pairs nicely with his lightning-quick first step for highlight-reel finishes when he attacks the basket off the dribble. That same leaping ability also makes him a lethal cutter and transition scorer, taking very little time to load up and bounce."

FULL SCOUTING REPORT

5. Jonathan Kuminga, G League Ignite

"At 6-foot-8, 220 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan, Kuminga has an NBA-ready body that perfectly fits the mould of today's playstyle with the tools to truly defend 1-through-4, potentially even 5s down the line. The combination of his size, strength, quickness and athleticism gives him the ability to completely take guards out of the game while also being able to bang bodies in the paint and play physical against bigs."

FULL SCOUTING REPORT

2021 NBA Draft Superlatives: Best shooters | Best scorers | Best passers | Best defenders

What are the biggest storylines?

Ahead of the lottery, NBA.com's Scott Rafferty outlined a few of the biggest storylines to keep an eye on at the draft lottery.

Among the storylines Rafferty touched on are:

  • Will Golden State win Minnesota's pick?
  • Can lottery results accelerate rebuilds in Oklahoma City and Orlando?
  • Is luck on the Raptors' side?

Tune into the NBA Draft Lottery to see which teams the ping pong balls favour.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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