Analyzing the History of NBA Lottery Selections
Posted by Andrew McKillop on June 23, 2011
Updated: 6/24/2011 with 2011 NBA Draft Picks
In 1985 both the NBA and NHL chose to determine part of their league’s draft orders through a lottery. Thus the term “lottery selection” was coined. I decided with the NBA Draft airing tonight, it would be an proper time to publish some numbers related to NBA lottery selections you might not see elsewhere.
Check out below to see a quick rundown of every NBA team’s history with lottery selections.
Legend: # Lot Sel (Number of lottery selections), Pct. (Percentage of all lottery selections), Avg Lot Sel (The average lottery selection).
|Rk||Team||# Lot Sel||Pct.||Avg Lot Sel||Highest Lot Sel Ever|
|1||Clippers||22||7.2%||5.5||1- 1988, 1998, 2009|
|2||Warriors||19||6.2%||7.4||1 – 1995|
|3t||Kings||16||5.2%||7.1||1 – 1989|
|3t||Timberwolves||16||5.2%||5.5||2 – 2011|
|5t||Bucks||14||4.6%||7.6||1 – 1994, 2005|
|5t||Cavaliers||14||4.6%||7.2||1 – 1986, 2003, 2011|
|7t||Grizzlies||13||4.2%||5.0||2 – 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009|
|7t||Raptors||13||4.2%||6.6||1 – 2006|
|9t||76ers||12||3.9%||5.8||1 – 1996|
|9t||Hawks||12||3.9%||6.7||2 – 2005|
|9t||Magic||12||3.9%||7.7||1 – 1992, 1993, 2004|
|9t||Nets||12||3.9%||5.5||1 – 1990, 2000|
|9t||Thunder/Sonics||12||3.9%||7.5||2 – 1990, 2007|
|9t||Wizards/Bullets||12||3.9%||5.9||1 – 2001, 2010|
|15t||Bulls||11||3.6%||4.2||1 – 1999, 2008|
|15t||Celtics||11||3.6%||7.3||2 – 1986|
|17t||Hornets||10||3.3%||6.9||1 – 1991|
|17t||Mavericks||10||3.3%||7.0||2 – 1994|
|19t||Nuggets||9||2.9%||5.0||3 – 1990, 1998, 2003|
|19t||Pacers||9||2.9%||7.9||2 – 1985, 1988|
|21t||Bobcats||8||2.6%||7.6||2 – 2004|
|21t||Pistons||8||2.6%||7.6||2 – 2003|
|21t||Suns||8||2.6%||8.4||2 – 1987|
|24t||Heat||7||2.3%||6.4||2 – 2008|
|24t||Knicks||7||2.3%||6.3||1 – 1985|
|24t||Rockets||7||2.3%||10.0||1 – 2002|
|27t||Trail Blazers||6||2.0%||7.5||1 – 2007|
|27t||Jazz||6||2.0%||9.2||3 – 2005, 2011|
|29||Spurs||3||1.0%||1.7||1 – 1987, 1997|
|30||Lakers||2||0.7%||10.0||10 – 1994, 2005|
- No surprise that the Los Angeles Clippers lead the league in all-time lottery selections (22). The Clippers have had 11 times the lottery selections of fellow L.A. NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
- The Clippers had a streak of eight drafts (1998-2005) in which they had a lottery selection. However that isn’t the record. The Memphis Grizzlies had lottery selections in nine straight drafts (1995-2003) in two different cities (Vancouver).
- The San Antonio Spurs have only had three lottery selections, however two of those were first overall selections. Giving them the highest average lottery pick (1.7) in NBA history. The Chicago Bulls follow with an average lottery pick of 4.2.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Orlando Magic have selected with the #1 pick on three occasions in the lottery era draft.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team in the history of the lottery era draft to select twice in the top five selections of one draft (2011 – #1 & #4). Listed below is every instance in which one team had two or more lottery selections in the same draft.
The undisputable fact is that most NBA stars are found with lottery selections. A little over 74% of first/second/third team NBA All-Pro selections (drafted since 1985), were drafted with lottery selections. Steve Nash and Karl Malone are the only players drafted during the lottery era draft, to be named NBA MVP, and to not have been a lottery selection.
A little under 76% of NBA first team All-Rookie selections since 1985 were lottery selections. Mark Jackson is the only non-lottery selection since 1985 to be named Rookie of the Year.
Only ten lottery selections have gone on to win an NBA title with the team that selected them.
Duke has produced the most lottery selections (16), although 38 lottery selections didn’t go to college.
|Rk||College||# Lot Sel||Pct.||Avg Lot Sel|
In 2005 North Carolina had four players selected with lottery picks in the same draft. The most lottery selections from any school in one draft.
- Duke (Elton Brand & Kyrie Irving) and Georgetown (Patrick Ewing & Allen Iverson) are the only schools to have produced two #1 picks in the lottery era draft.
- A little over 20% of lottery selections, were coming off of a season in which they helped lead their school to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Final Four.
- Every Final Four since 1988 has produced at least one lottery selection in the following NBA draft.
One more interesting stat line:
Lottery selections average 11.5 points per game, 4.8 rebounds/gm, 2.2 assists/gm, 0.8 steals/gm, and 0.6 blocks/gm in their careers.
Reference: Be sure to check out Pro-Basketball-Reference’s Draft Finder. It’s a great utility which allows you to dig deep into the history of the NBA draft. Award information also retrieved from Pro-Basketball-Reference.