The 2011 NBA Draft Lottery will be conducted live on ESPN this upcoming Tuesday, May 17th at 8:30 PM EDT before Game 1 of the Western conference finals game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The lottery is always an exciting time for fans who haven’t had much to cheer about since their teams were eliminated from playoff contention. As history has shown us, everyone has a shot to land the No. 1 pick in the draft.
The original purpose of the lottery was to counteract teams thought to be intentionally tanking games late in the season to secure themselves a higher pick. A weighted system was employed to give the worst teams the best shot at the No. 1 pick, but also to ensure every team outside of the playoffs was in contention for it, not just the team with the worst record.
After the rules were established in 1985, the New York Knicks won the first lottery, selecting Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing with the first pick in the draft. The Knicks were the third worst team in the NBA the previous season, so the new lottery system did not reward Golden State or Indiana, who had worse records than New York that year.
Over the years, the lottery hasn’t been very rewarding to the worst team in the league, only 15 percent of the time has the worst team actually secured the first overall pick. Still, the lottery selection is a chance for hope for 14 out of the league’s 30 teams.
Here are the odds, and a look at who each team in the lottery would benefit from.