2021 NBA draft lottery: Schedule, odds and everything to know

Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is the consensus No. 1 pick in NBA mock drafts.

Which team will get the chance to take Cunningham or another player such as Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs or Southern California’s Evan Mobley or G League Ignite’s Jalen Green?

The NBA draft lottery is Tuesday night. NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum will announce the lottery results. Representatives from the 14 lottery teams will join the event virtually.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, who have 19 first-round picks through the 2027 draft, have three first-round draft picks in 2021. They have at least one lottery pick and could end up with two lottery picks depending on where Houston ends up in the lottery.

How to watch the draft lottery?

The show begins at 8:30 p.m Tuesday on ESPN and the ESPN app, just before tipoff of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

A general view of the stage prior to the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery at the Hilton Chicago. (Photo: Patrick Gorski, USA TODAY Sports)

Who has the best odds of winning the lottery?

In 2019, the NBA changed the lottery odds in an attempt to curtail tanking. The odds were flattened so that one team didn’t have the best chance of winning the lottery and gave teams a better chance to move up in the lottery.

Here are the lottery odds for the 14 teams with their 2020-21 record:

Houston (17-55) 14%

Detroit (20-52) 14%

Orlando (21-51) 14%

Oklahoma City (22-50)  11.5%

Cleveland (22-50)  11.5%

Minnesota (23-49) 9%

Toronto (27-45) 7.5%

Chicago (31-41)  4.5%

Sacramento (31-41) 4.5%

New Orleans (31-41) 4.5%

Charlotte (33-39) 1.8%

San Antonio (33-39) 1.7%

Indiana (34-38) 1%

Golden State (39-33) 0.5%

How does the lottery work?

The drawing of ping pong balls happens in a separate room before the TV broadcast. A media member, NBA officials and a representative from Ernst & Young are in the room. They will know the winner of the lottery before it airs on ESPN, but they are sequestered in that room with no access to electronic communication devices.

Tatum and team representatives will not know the draft order until Tatum opens the envelopes containing the team logo.

Here is a description of the lottery process provided by the NBA:

“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 lottery machine is manufactured by the Smart Play Company, a leading manufacturer of state lottery machines throughout the United States. Smart Play also weighs, measures and certifies the ping-pong balls before the drawing.

“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.”

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