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When You Wish Upon a Lottery Ball: 2013 Draft Lottery Preview - Pinwheel Empire

When You Wish Upon a Lottery Ball: 2013 Draft Lottery Preview

submitted 5 years ago by in Draft

With the draft lottery tomorrow, its time for us to do a brief preview of the lottery process and possible outcomes.

Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy Poses After Winning the 2007 Draft Lottery. Picture Courtesy of

The Basics:
Date/Time: 5:30 PM, Tuesday, May 21, 2013.
TV: ESPN/ESPN3 online.

The Lottery Process:

On the day of the draft lottery, about an hour before the lottery results are broadcast the actual lottery is conducted.  The actual lottery is conducted backstage by the accounting firm Ernst and Young with representatives from each team present.  These representatives are forbidden from communicating the results with anyone until after they are aired.

14 lottery balls are used for this draw, and the order in which they are drawn does not matter. This creates 1,001 possible outcomes, one of which is kept as an empty set and the other 1,000 are assigned to teams.  Each team receives a set number of winning combinations based on their record, the detailed odds chart for this year’s lottery is below:


Team W L Win
No. 1 pick chance Lottery chances Somewhere
in top 3
1 Orlando 20 62 0.244 25.0% 250 64%
2 Charlotte 21 61 0.256 19.9% 199 56%
3 Cleveland 24 58 0.293 15.6% 156 47%
4 Phoenix 25 57 0.305 11.9% 119 38%
5 New Orleans 27 55 0.329 8.8% 88 29%
6 Sacramento 28 54 0.341 6.3% 63 21%
7 Detroit 29 53 0.354 3.6% 36 13%
8 Washington 29 53 0.354 3.5% 35 12%
9 Minnesota 31 51 0.378 1.7% 17 6%
10 a-Portland 33 49 0.402 1.1% 11 4%
11 Philadelphia 34 48 0.415 0.8% 8 3%
12 b-Toronto 34 48 0.415 0.7% 7 3%
13 Dallas 41 41 0.500 0.6% 6 2%
14 Utah 43 39 0.524 0.5% 5 2%


a-Portland’s pick goes to Charlotte if it falls outside the top 12.  Odds of Portland retaining pick 99.9%

b-Toronto’s pick goes to OKC if its not in the top 3.  Odds of Toronto retaining pick: 3%

Here is the process, step by step:

  1. 14 lottery balls, numbered 1-14, are placed in a standard lottery machine.
  2. The balls are allowed to circulate for 20 seconds before the first ball is drawn, the next three balls are drawn at 10 second intervals.
  3. Lottery officials check to see who owns the resulting combination, if it is not the empty set the owner of that combination receives the #1 overall pick.
  4. The process is repeated twice more for the #2 and #3 picks.  If a team which has already won a pick gets one of its combinations drawn (or the empty set), the process is repeated until three distinct winners are found.  No team this year may win more than one top three pick since no one has multiple lottery picks.
  5. The remainder of the lottery teams are ordered in the reverse of their record, with the worst team that didn’t win a pick getting the fourth selection, the second worst fifth and so on.

So grab your lucky token, whatever it is, and hope that the Blazers can beat the odds to get a top 3 pick!

one comment

skywaker9 (David) is a Portland native and passionate Blazers fan. He currently works as a University fiscal analyst for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. He also has a PhD in Public Affairs and Policy at Portland State University. David is a former political activist who chose to focus on sports because they made him happy. He primarily writes previews for PWE and one of his primary goals is to inform Blazer fans everywhere about those players on other teams they may not have heard of but should (such as Nikola Vucevic).