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The NBA Draft

The NBA Draft can be traced back to 1947, but has gone through some major changes throughout the years. From '47-'65, there were "territorial picks" in which a team could select someone from their immediate area instead and give up their first round pick (to help build a fan base). From 1966-1984, a coin flip between the worst teams in each division determined the first and second pick, and then the rest with the worst teams picking highest. The 1979 coin flip between the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls had the Bulls lose the coin flip, and the Lakers selected Magic Johnson number one. Had Bulls won, Magic probably heads to Chicago and the Bulls wouldn't have drafted Michael Jordan years later.

The NBA moved to a Lottery system in 1985, in which all non-playoff teams' draft order was selected "lottery style" with a ball being drawn with the team for each pick (for the 1st round). This is very similar to the NBA draft today...

The NBA Draft Today

The NBA Draft consists of two rounds of 30 picks each (one for each NBA team). The Draft today is still done with Lottery Picks, but only for the top 3 picks. Non-playoff teams are entered into the Lottery, with the team with the worst record having the hightest chances of winning the Lottery. Once the first three teams are determined, the remaining teams select in order of worst record to best. So essentially the team with the worst record will always pick at least as high as #4.

NCAA and other college players that have completed their four years of eligibility are automatically eligible for the NBA Draft. Those that have not must declare their eligibility for the Draft (and give up their remaining college eligibility). Players can no longer come directly out of high school, though, as they must be at least 19 years old at the end of the year of the draft and aren't eligible until 1 year after their high school graduation. International players are also eligible, automatically at age 22 or through declaring on their own under that age.

2011 NBA Draft
The Cleveland Caveliers recently won the NBA Draft Lottery. This was actually through the pick acquired from the L.A. Clippers. They also have the 4th Overall Pick as they had the second worst record this year. The top 2 picks this year are believed to be Duke's Kyrie Irving, and Arizona's Derrick Williams. Below is the order of the 2011 NBA Draft:

2nd Round:
  1. Miami Heat (from Minnesota)
  2. Cleveland Caveliers
  3. Detroit Pistons (from Toronto)
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Sacramento Kings
  6. New Jersey Nets
  7. LA Clippers (from Detroit)
  8. Houston Rockets (from LA Clippers)
  9. Charlotte Bobcats
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
  11. LA Lakers (from Golden State via New Jersey)
  12. Indiana Pacers
  13. Chicago Bulls (from Utah)
  14. Golden State Warriors (from Phoenix via Chicago)
  15. New Orleans Hornets (from Philadelphia)
  16. LA Lakers (from New York)
  17. LA Clippers (from Houston)
  18. Atlanta Hawks
  19. Memphis Grizzlies
  20. Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans)
  21. Portland Trailblazers (may be conveyed to Detroit)
  22. Denver Nuggets (may be conveyed to Portland)
  23. Orlando Magic
  24. Cleveland Caveliers (from OKC via Miami)
  25. Boston Celtics
  26. LA Lakers
  27. Dallas Mavericks
  28. LA Lakers (from Miami)
  29. San Antonio Spurs
  30. Sacramento KIngs (from Chicago via Milwaukee)
1st Round:
  1. Cleveland Caveliers (from LA Clippers)
  2. Minnessota Timberwolves
  3. Utah Jazz
  4. Cleveland Caveliers
  5. Toronto Raptora
  6. Washington Wizards
  7. Sacramento Kings
  8. Detroit Pistons
  9. Charlotte Bobcats
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
  11. Golden State Warriors
  12. Utah Jazz
  13. Phoenix Suns
  14. Houston Rockets
  15. Indiana Pacers
  16. Philadelphia 76ers
  17. New York Knicks
  18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta)
  19. Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans via Portland)
  20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Utah)
  21. Portland Trailblazers
  22. Denver Nuggets
  23. Houston Rockets
  24. Oklahoma City Thunder
  25. Boston Celtics
  26. Dallas Mavericks
  27. New Jersy Nets (from LA Lakers)
  28. Chicago Bulls (from Miami via Toronto)
  29. San Antonio Spurs
  30. Chicago Bulls

NBA Draft info from
Check out's coverage of the 2011 NBA Draft, including Mock Drafts

NBA Draft Trivia

  • Miami's 3 Stars: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, were all drafted in 2003.
  • Michael Jordan was selected 3rd Overall (behind (H)Akeem Olojuwan and Sam Bowie.
  • The 1984, 1996, and 2003 Drafts are considered the best in NBA Draft History.
  • Up until 1985, a coin flip determined which teams would pick #1 and #2.
  • The Chicago Bulls lost a coin flip to the LA Lakers for the #1 pick in the 1979 NBA Draft. The Lakers selected Magic Johnson.
  • The 1st NBA Draft Lottery was held in 1985. The New York Knicks won the Lottery and selected Patrick Ewing.
  • The NBA Draft used to be more than two rounds, but went to two rounds in 1989. All remaining prospects are free to try out for any team in free agency.
  • Ben Wallace and Brad Miller are the only undrafted players to make the NBA All-Star team.
  • Only the 1st 3 picks are determined by the Draft Lottery.
  • The team with the worst record has the highest chance of winning the Lottery, at 25%

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