NBA 101

How does the NBA Draft work?

The NBA Draft is an annual event at which all 30 NBA teams pick a young and emerging player – either from college, or high school professional player (usually from Europe) to join their team.

The NBA Draft is an annual event at which all 30 NBA teams pick a young and emerging player – either from college, or high school professional player (usually from Europe) to join their team.

The Number 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft was Paolo Banchero, a 6’10” forward of Italian origin, who was picked by the Orlando Magic.

The projected number 1 for the class of 2023 NBA Draft is Victor Wembanyama, a top-tier 18-year old player from France who stand 7’3″ tall.

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How old is the NBA draft?

How are the Players selected – the NBA Draft Lottery

NBA Draft Rounds & Picks

The Draft Order & Lottery

The 2023 NBA Draft Class (projected picks)

How old is the NBA draft?

The NBA Draft started in 1947.

Since then 8,214 NBA players have been drafted by NBA teams.

The NBA draft usually takes place in June, right after the NBA Finals and at the start of the NBA offseason.

How are the Players selected – the NBA Draft Lottery


Players become eligible for the NBADraft when they fulfill one of the below criteria:

  • Have completed at least four years in college
  • Have completed at least one year in college and declare for the Draft by giving up their college basketball eligibility
  • Are a player that has played internationally (Non-US league) – either professionally or as an amateur.

NBA Draft Rounds & Picks

The NBA Draft has two rounds – First Round and second round.

From 1947 to 1988, the Draft had multiple rounds, with teams picking players for up to 21 rounds, like they did in the 1960 Draft.

However, since 1989, the NBA decided to restrict the Draft to just two rounds with up to 60 players being selected over two rounds.

Each NBA team usually has two picks – one in the first round of the Draft and one in the second round.

Teams often trade draft picks away to acquire star players, so it is not uncommon for an NBA team to have more than two picks in a particular Draft.

In the 2022 Draft, four teams – Cleveland, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota – had four picks each.

Draft Order & Lottery

The NBA Draft order is determined using a lottery system.

The system uses ping-pong balls numbered 1 to 14, drawn four at a time.

There are 1001 four-number combinations using the numbers 1-14.

These combinations are distributed amongst the 14 non-playoffs teams to give each of them a chance at landing the No. 1 pick.

The teams with the three worst records from the previous season get an equal chance, i.e. 14%, to win the first pick in the Draft; while the remaining 11 teams get odds in decreasing order.

For the 2022 NBA draft, the odds looked like this:

(to OKC)

The balls numbered 1-14 are then spun by a person in a lottery machine.

A person whose is facing away from the machine has a timer and tells the person spinning to stop.

The number that rolls out is the first number. This is repeated four time to get the first four-number combination. The team with this four-number combination gets the first pick.

This entire process is repeated four times to determine the first four picks.

After that, i.e. picks 5-14 are picked in inverse order of their regular season record in the previous season. That means, a team with the worst record that has not got one of the top four picks, picks at number 5; the team with the next worst record picks at number 6, and this goes on till 14.

What happens with the picks remaining in Round 1, and then Round 2?

Picks 15-30, and then Round 2, are determined using the records.

Assuming no picks are traded, then the team with the best record in the previous season picks number 30 in Round 1.

Similarly, the team with the worst record picks number 1 in Round 2, and then so on.

The 2023 NBA Draft Class (projected picks)

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder: Victor Wembanyama
Metropolitans 92 (France/ International)
19 | Forward | 7’2″ | 229 lbs

Wembanyama, a 7-foot-2 forward was brilliant against the NBA G League Ignite team in an exhibition game in October. A lock for the first pick in the first round, when he does suit up, the league would not have seen his combination of build, physique and skillset. He has a well-developed game around the perimeter game and can play against and cover all five positions. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski believes he is “the greatest prospect in NBA Draft history.”. It is no secret that NBA Teams have been following Wembanyama’s story and awaiting this draft for a few seasons now. Now that he is draft eligible, that wait is over.

#2 Indiana Pacers: Scoot Henderson
G League Ignite
19 | Guard | 6’2″ | 195 lbs

G League Ignite squad’s most prominent star Henderson has become draft eligible this season and could top the first round. Scoot Henderson is already being compared to the Grizzlies Ja Morant for his ability to light up a stat sheet and his explosive athletic ability. At 17 he averaged 14.7 points, 4.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds in the G League. Thus far, nothing indicates that he isn’t a lock at pick number 2 behind Wembanyama in the 2023 NBA Draft.

#3 San Antonio Spurs: Amen Thompson
Overtime Elite
20 | Guard | 6’7″ | 207 lbs

Amen and Ausar – the Thompson twins were a huge win for the Overtime Elite Program. There is sufficient reason to believe that Amen’s (Unlike Ausar’s) size – he is listed at 6-foot-7 – and his ability to handle and distribute the ball are enough for teams to take him at No. 3.

#4 Utah Jazz: Nick Smith
Arkansas Razorbacks
19 (Freshman) | Guard | 6’4″ | 185 lbs

A guard believed to have the best two-way game in the top-10, Smith is a gifted athlete who can play off the ball and create for himself. Arkansas will help coaches and scouts determine where he fits in the grand scheme of an NBA offense and defense. For now they believe he could easily make a swithc between point guard and shooting guard depending on who he teams up with.

#5 Houston Rockets: Dariq Whitehead
Duke Blue Devils
19 (Freshman) | Guard | 6’6″ | 190 lbs

A Montverde Academy alumnus, Dariq Whitehead is following his seniors, many of whom were top NBA Draft picks. He counts the likes of Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes and Moses Moody as teammates and mentors. At 6-foot-6, Whitehead will be the latest in line for famous NBA players that have played a season at Duke before jumping to the NBA.

#6 Orlando Magic: Cameron Whitmore
Villanova Wildcats
19 (Freshman) | Forward | 6’6″ | 200 lbs

Whitmore brings explosive athletic ability, and seems like he has a body frame ready to play in the NBA. At the time of writing this Whitmore was nursing an injury so scouts would do well to take that into consideration. His playing time indicates that he will be ready in time for the tryouts come early-2023

#7 Detroit Pistons: Keyonte George
Baylor Bears
19 (Freshman) | Guard | 6’4″ | 185 lbs

Keyonte George will light up the scoreboards at Baylor. At 6-foot-4, he can score against nearly any type of defender, and can get the ball at the bottom of the net. Scouts are particularly impressed with his skillset – believed to be advanced enough to make it to the next level – the NBA.

#8 Sacramento Kings: Ausar Thompson
Overtime Elite
20 | Guard/Forward | 6’7″ | 210 lbs

The other half of Overtime Elite’s Thompson twins, Ausar needs the ball to be given to him in transiion or in the half court. Once the ball is securely in his hands though, few on this list can hold him from finishing at the rim with a varirety of creative moves.

#9 Washington Wizards: Dillon Mitchell
Texas Longhorns
19 (Freshman) | Forward | 6’8″ | 200 lbs

Dillon Mitchell was a virtual unknown over the past couple of years – now he is a top-10 prospect to round off the top-10 list behind Victor Wembanyama. This speaks volumes of his character and work ethic – both huge plus points to NBA scouts and teams. Add that to his ability to leap out of the building, and his elite-level defensive minded approach to the game, and he’s an asset for NBA teams. The year in college will only help his case to move up the top-10.

Remaining picks – from #10 to #30

#10 Charlotte Hornets: Cason Wallace
School: Kentucky Wildcats
Guard | 6’4″ | 185 lbs

#11 New York Knicks: Dereck Lively II
School: Duke Blue Devils
Center | 7’1″ | 230

#12 Portland Trail Blazers: Jarace Walker
School: Houston Cougars
Forward | 6’8″ | 230

#13 Orlando Magic (from Bulls): Kel’el Ware
School: Oregon Ducks
Center | 6’11” | 210

#14 New Orleans Pelicans: Terquavion Smith
School: NC State Wolfpack
Guard | 6’4″ | 165

#15 Atlanta Hawks: Brandon Miller
School: Alabama Crimson Tide
Forward | 6’8″ | 200

#16 Toronto Raptors: GG Jackson
School: South Carolina
Forward/Center | 6’9″ | 210

#17 Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves): Anthony Black
School: Arkansas Razorbacks
Guard | 6’7″ | 198

#18 Indiana Pacers (via Cavaliers): Kyle Filipowski
School: Duke Blue Devils
Forward/Center | 7’0″ | 230

#19 New York Knicks (via Mavericks): Julian Phillips
School: Tennessee
Forward | 6’8″ | 200

#20 Memphis Grizzlies: Amari Bailey
School: UCLA Bruins
Guard | 6’5″ | 185

#21 Charlotte Hornets (via Nuggets): Gradey Dick
School: Kansas Jayhawks
Forward | 7’1″ | 230

#22 Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Livingston, SF
School: Kentucky Wildcats
Guard/Forward | 6’6″ | 200

#23 Miami Heat: J.J. Starling
School: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Guard | 6’4″ | 200

#24 Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Mike Miles Jr.
School: TCU Horned Frogs
Guard | 5’11” | 150

#25 Phoenix Suns: Nikola Djurisic
Mega Basket (Serbia, International)
Guard/Forward | 6’8″ | 214

#26 Utah Jazz (via Nets): Rayan Rupert
New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand, International)
Guard | 6’7″ | 191

#27 Houston Rockets (via Bucks): Leonard Miller
G League Ignite
Forward | 6’10” | 211

#28 Los Angeles Clippers: Marcus Sasser
School: Houston Cougars
Guard | 6’2″ | 170

#29 Golden State Warriors: Sidy Cissoko
G League Ignite
Guard/Forward | 6’7″ | 217

#30 Indiana Pacers (via Celtics): Harrison Ingram
School: Stanford Cardinals
Forward | 6’7″ | 230 is a free-to-read resource on the NBA. You may consider showing your appreciation by buying something from Baba’s store. It is a combination of affiliate links to basketball books and gear, and also some exclusive BasketballBaba merchandise. for every purchase you make, 5% of the profits go towards the Dribble Academy Foundation.

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