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NBA Draft Lottery 2024: Top prospects, teams with the best odds and how the lottery works

This weekend’s NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order for the first 14 picks of the 2024 NBA Draft. Unlike last year’s lottery – which featured the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, with the San Antonio Spurs ranked No. 1 – this year does not have a certain No. 1 prospect.

A pair of French players are projected at the top: Alex Sarr, a 7-foot-1 center, played in Australia’s National Basketball League this season, and 6-9 wing Zaccharie Risacher, one of the best perimeter shooters in this draft class, is still working on finishing his season in France.

The Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards have the best odds to land the No. 1 pick this year, with a 14% chance each. The Pistons had the No. 1 pick in 2021 and drafted point guard Cade Cunningham. They took Ausar Thompson with the fifth overall pick last year and will look to add to their rebuild. The Wizards haven’t had a No. 1 pick since 2010, when they drafted John Wall. Last year, they drafted Wembanyama’s French teammate, Bilal Coulibaly, with the seventh overall pick.

Below is everything you need to know about the NBA Draft Lottery and the upcoming NBA Draft.

Date: Sunday May 12
Time: 3:00 PM ET (ESPN)
Place: McCormick Convention Center in Chicago

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 28: Zaccharie Risacher of Bourg and Bresse Basket takes a jump shoot during the Betclic Elite match between Paris and Bourg and Bresse Basket at Adidas Arena on April 28, 2024 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Zaccharie Risacher is a potential top pick in the 2024 NBA draft. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Alex Sarr
Sarr, who opted to play one season for the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s NBL, caught the attention of NBA scouts and executives during a pair of exhibition games in Las Vegas against G League Ignite in the fall. He showed a much-improved motor and elite rim protection, cementing himself as a potential top pick after dominating the paint against other projected lottery talent in Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland. During his lone season for the Wildcats, Sarr averaged 9.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18 minutes per game.

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Zacharie Risacher
Risacher is still in his season playing for JL Bourg-en-Bresse in the LNB Pro A French League. The 6-9 winger – whose father, Stéphane, was a six-time All-Star in the French League and won a silver medal with France at the 2000 Summer Olympics – has played more than 60 games this season, more than any other talent, and has shown significant improvement since playing for Team World at the Nike Hoop Summit last spring. Risacher is one of the best catch-and-shoot wings in the draft, shooting 39% from 3-point range on 3.5 attempts per game and has added and facilitated better decision-making in the lane for others.

Stephen’s Castle
Castle was incredible during the NCAA tournament. The 6-6 guard performed under pressure on the biggest stage in college basketball, especially in the Final Four. In his last two games against Alabama and Purdue, Castle averaged 18 points and five rebounds. He is one of the best defensive guards in this draft class and consistently smothered some of the top guards last season as a freshman. He was one of the biggest risers during the tournament and is now in the top 5 of the upcoming draft.

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Nikola Topic
Topić was sidelined for more than three months due to a knee injury, but is back playing for KK Crvena Zvezda in Serbia. The 6-6 point guard is one of the best passing guards in the draft, averaging 5.9 assists per game. In a recent win on May 3, his second game back from injury, Topić scored eight points, six assists and two steals in 18 minutes off the bench. He has 10 assists twice this season and, as the team’s primary ball handler, has only two turnovers per game.

Donovan Clingan
Clingan struggled with injuries all season, but he was at full strength in the postseason and helped lead UConn to back-to-back titles. The 7-2 center held his own in the paint against 7-4 Zach Edey, the most dominant player in college basketball, and cemented himself as the next big thing after Sarr. In a tournament win over Northwestern, Clingan flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks in 27 minutes. He moves well laterally for his size and has the footwork to defend the pick-and-roll and recover to the block.

The draft lottery results will be broadcast live, with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum unveiling the sealed envelopes and announcing the draft lottery results in descending order. Before the broadcast, the actual lottery to determine picks 1 through 4 will take place in a separate room with NBA officials, representatives of participating teams, select media and the accounting firm Ernst & Young, which oversees the drawings.

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For the actual lottery, fourteen ping pong balls are thrown into a lottery machine while a league representative randomly selects four balls, revealing a four-digit combination. There are 1,001 possible combinations, of which 1,000 are allocated to 14 participating lottery teams. If the combination of the same team occurs more than once, the result is discarded and a new four-ball combination is drawn.

After the first four picks have been determined, the remaining picks are ranked in reverse order, based on win/loss record.

The 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs have a shot at becoming No. 1, depending on their regular-season records. Below are the odds for each team in the draft lottery and how they finished the regular season. The teams with the worst records are placed at the top of the lottery.

1. Detroit Pistons: 14%, 140 combinations
2. Washington Wizards: 14%, 140 combinations
3. Charlotte Hornets: 13.3%, 133 combinations
4. Portland Trailblazers: 13.2%, 132 combinations
5. San Antonio Tracks: 10.5%, 105 combinations
6. Toronto Raptors: 9%, 90 combinations
7. Memphis Grizzlies: 7.5%, 75 combinations
8. Utah Jazz: 6%, 60 combinations
9. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn): 4.5%, 45 combinations
10. Atlanta Hawks: 3%, 30 combinations
11. Chicago Bulls: 2%, 20 combinations
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Houston): 1.5%, 15 combinations
13. Sacramento Kings: 0.8%, 8 combinations
14. Golden State Warriors: 0.7%, 7 combinations
Note: Golden State will send the pick to Portland if it lands outside the 1-4

This is the first year the NBA has split the draft into two nights. The first round will take place on Wednesday, June 26 at the Barclays Center in New York (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). The second round will take place on Thursday, June 27 at ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in New York (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).

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