Los Angeles Lakers: 2016 NBA Draft Lottery FAQ

The 2016 NBA Draft Lottery will be a big day once again for the Los Angeles Lakers after another tough season that saw them finish 17-65. With that day rapidly approaching, there are many that still have questions regarding not only the lottery itself and how it works, but also the Lakers’ situation as well.

Although the circumstances are very similar to a year ago, there are still noticeable differences. Here are a list of frequently asked questions pertaining to the Lakers’ NBA Draft Lottery situation and the answers to them. If you have a question that is not on this list, please contact us on Twitter (@LakersOutsiders), through our Facebook page or simply leave a comment below and we will be sure to add it.

Q: How is the NBA Draft order determined?

The NBA uses a weighted lottery system to determine the order of the top three picks in the draft. They use 14 ping pong balls, numbered 1-14. Four balls are drawn randomly to determine a number combination (Example: 1-2-3-4). There are 1,001 total possible combinations, although one is disregarded to make it an even 1,000. The number of combinations are distributed amongst the 14 non-playoff teams, with the team that finished with the worst regular season record receiving the most possible combinations. The number of combinations then decreases down the line, meaning the franchise with the best season record of these 14 teams will possess the least amount. This process determines the order of the top three picks, and the rest of the draft is determined solely by regular season record in reverse order (Worse record means higher draft selection).

Q: What are the odds of landing the number one overall pick for each pre-lottery position?

1st: 25 percent
2nd: 19.9 percent
3rd: 15.6 percent
4th: 11.9 percent
5th: 8.8 percent
6th: 6.3 percent
7th: 4.3 percent
8th: 2.8 percent
9th: 1.7 percent
10th: 1.1 percent
11th: 0.8 percent
12th: 0.7 percent
13th: 0.6 percent
14th: 0.5 percent

Q: What’s the furthest a team can fall in the lottery?

Since the lottery determines just the top three picks, the farthest any non-playoff team can fall is three positions. Whichever team enters the lottery 12th can only fall a maximum of two spots, while 13th can fall one spot and 14th will either stay put or jump all the way into the top-three.

Q: How many lottery combinations will the Lakers have?

Since Los Angeles finished with the second-worst record, they will have the second-most combinations in the lottery drawing with 199 out of the 1,000 total combinations. This gives them a 19.9 percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Q: When is the NBA Draft Lottery?

The NBA Draft Lottery will be on May 17, starting at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time. It will be televised on ESPN right before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Q: What draft picks will the Lakers have in the 2016 NBA Draft?

Their first-round will be determined by the draft lottery. The Lakers’ first round pick is only top-three protected this season, meaning that if it falls to fourth or fifth — the lowest it can fall — they will lose the pick. This is a result of the 2012 trade for Steve Nash.

The Lakers have the draft rights to the No. 32 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. This selection is the second pick of the second round.

Q: What happens if the Lakers lose their first round pick this year?

If the pick falls to fourth or fifth, it will be conveyed to the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired the rights from the Phoenix Suns through a trade last season. This would officially close out the repercussions of the 2012 trade for Nash. The Lakers would then have full draft rights to their first round pick in 2017.

Q: What happens if the Lakers retain their first round pick this year?

If the pick stays in the top-three selections as a result of the lottery, the Lakers will retain the rights to the pick. This would mean that their 2017 first round pick would again be top-three protected, as they would still owe a first round pick due to the Nash trade.

Q: If the Lakers retain the first round pick, can they trade it to another team?

Yes, but only after they officially make the selection. In theory, they could arrange the parameters of a trade with another team and essentially draft for them, then trade the pick. The Ted Stepien rule prohibits teams from trading away first round picks prior to the selection in two consecutive seasons. In the scenario that the Lakers retain the pick, they could not trade it until after the pick is made because they could potentially lose next year’s first round pick as well.

Q: What are the odds of the Lakers’ pick staying in the top three?

The Lakers have a 55.8 percent chance of staying in the top-three, giving them a 44.2 percent chance of losing the pick.

Q: Who will represent the Lakers at the NBA Draft Lottery?

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak will represent the team on May 17.

Q: If the Lakers retain their pick, who could they end up drafting in the top three?

The two prospects expected to be under heavy consideration for the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft are LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram. Who goes No. 3 overall is up for debate, but the favorite for the Lakers appears to be Croatian big man Dragan Bender.

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