How does the NBA draft work?
Here's everything you need to know about the NBA draft, including the lottery, draft-day trades and eligibility rules.
What is the NBA draft?
The NBA draft is an annual event in which teams select players from American colleges and international professional leagues to join their rosters.
When a team selects a player, they have the exclusive rights to sign him to an NBA contract.
How does the NBA draft work?
In the draft, teams take it in turns to select eligible players.
There are two rounds in the draft, and each of the 30 NBA teams has a pick in each round, meaning every year 60 players are drafted.
The first 14 picks of the first round are decided by the NBA draft lottery, which determines the order of selection for teams that didn’t reach the playoffs in the previous regular season.
The point of the lottery is to prevent teams from deliberately losing in order to get a higher pick.
Instead of the worst team in the league being automatically handed the best player in the draft, the team that wins the lottery receives the first pick.
The remaining 16 picks are decided by the previous regular season’s standings in reverse order. The team with the best record receives the 30th pick, the team with the second-best record receives the 19th, and so on.
There is no lottery for the second round – teams simply pick in reverse order based on the previous regular season’s standings.
Can NBA teams trade draft picks?
Draft picks can be traded among teams both before and during the draft. These trades can include picks alone, or a combination of players and picks.
For example, in 2019 the Minnesota Timberwolves traded the No. 11 pick and forward Dario Saric to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the No. 6 pick.
Draft pick trades are extremely common. In 2019 alone, 15 of the 30 picks in the first round were traded, and five trades took place on draft night.
There are some restrictions, though. The Stepien Rule prevents teams from trading their first-round draft pick in consecutive years.
The rule was introduced after Ted Stepien traded away the Cleveland Cavaliers’ top pick in five consecutive years during his controversial stint as the team’s owner between 1980 and 1983.
What are the draft’s eligibility rules?
To be eligible to be drafted, a player must be at least 19 years of age in the calendar year of the draft. Unless they are determined to be an “international player”, they also have to be a minimum of one year removed from when they graduated high school in the US.
Players receive automatic eligibility if they complete four years of college in the US, or four years has passed since their high-school class graduated.
They are also automatically eligible if they have played under a professional contract for a team outside of the US.
An “early entry” player is any non-international player who elects to declare themselves eligible for the draft without having completed four years of college in the US.
Early-entry players have to have played in college for at least one year, which has come to be referred to as the “one-and-done rule”.
Early-entry players must declare themselves eligible no later than 60 days prior to the draft.
An international player is defined as anyone who has permanently resided outside of the US for at least three years before the draft while playing basketball.
They have to have never enrolled in an American college, and must not have completed high school in the US.
Can NBA teams draft high school players?
As of 2006, NBA teams can no longer select players directly out of high school, as players must now be at least one year removed from their high-school graduation.
Some of the most famous high-school recruits that went straight to the NBA prior to 2006 include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett.
When is the NBA draft?
The NBA draft usually takes place in the third week of June – around a month after the lottery and a week or two after the finals end.
This year’s draft is scheduled for 25 June, although this date is likely to change as the season has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Where is the NBA draft held?
Since 2013, the draft has been held at Barclays Center in New York, the home of the Brooklyn Nets.
Prior to 2013, it was held at Madison Square Garden in New York and Prudential Center in New Jersey.
Which NBA draft was the best?
There is much debate about which is the best draft class ever.
The 1984 draft included Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan – widely considered the best basketball player of all time.
The 1996 draft included 10 players who went on to be All-Stars and three who won the league’s MVP award – Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Steve Nash.
The 2003 draft is considered the best of the past 20 years. It included superstars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
Which NBA draft class has the most MVPs?
The 1984 draft class won seven MVPs – the most ever. Five of those were won by Michael Jordan.
Which NBA draft class has the most rings?
The 1956 draft class has won the most NBA championships. Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, K. C. Jones and Willie Naulls combined for 30 of the class’ 32 total rings.