Crunching the numbers: The Raptors and the NBA Lottery

TORONTO,ON–The NBA Draft Lottery will be held on Tuesday May 17, and you’re Toronto Raptors will be one of 14 teams vying for the first overall draft pick. It was a miserable year for the Raps.  While the 22-60 record may have shown how unimpressive the team was, fans that patiently watched the season unfold found that the Raps are in a lot worse shape than their record implies.  There are holes all over this lineup, a few contracts that could hold this team down, and a pension for not playing defense as individuals, or as a team. 


nbadraft_lottery.jpgThe Draft Lottery is a day where we can forget the woes of the past season, and focus on the future. The Raptors have the third best chance to win the lottery and obtain the first overall pick in what is looking like a very weak draft class. Nevertheless, there is some talent available to the teams drafting first and second, (Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams) so that Raptors will hope for a chance to draft in these top two spots.

But if you are wondering how the draft lottery works, you have come to the right place. Lets take a look at the Lottery system, and where the Raptors could finish.

The 14 non-playoff teams are each assigned a 4-digit number combination that represents that respective team in the lottery. A Thousand (1000) combinations are entered into a lottery machine. The Minnesota Timberwolves, the team with the worst record last season, has the best chance of winning the lottery by possessing the most amounts of combinations in the machine. The Timberwolves will hold 250 of the 1000 combinations in the lottery. The Raptors, who were the third worst team in the league, have 156 combinations out of the 1000.  This gives the Raps a 15.6% chance to win the lottery.

Here are a list of all the NBA teams in the lottery, and the amount of combinations they have:

Minnesota Timberwolves: 250 combinations, 25.0% chance of receiving the #1 pick

Cleveland Cavaliers: 199 combinations, 19.9% chance

Toronto Raptors: 156 combinations, 15.6% chance


Washington Wizards: 119 combinations, 11.9% chance

Sacramento Kings: 88 combinations, 8.8% chance

Utah Jazz (From the New Jersey Nets) 63 combinations, 6.3% chance

Detroit Pistons: 43 combinations, 4.3% chance

Cleveland Cavaliers (from the Los Angeles Clippers) 28 combinations, 2.8% chance

Charlotte Bobcats: 17 combinations, 1.7% chance

Milwaukee Bucks: 11 combinations, 1.1% chance

Golden State Warriors: 8 combinations, 0.8% chance

Utah Jazz: 7 combinations, 0.7% chance

Phoenix Suns: 6 combinations, 0.6% chance

Houston Rockets: 5 combinations, 0.5% chance

The lottery only chooses the top three picks of the Draft. Following this, the remaining picks are given out based on regular season standing. This ensures each team can only drop a maximum of three spots from their standing going into the lottery.

For instance, lets assume a major upset takes place and Charlotte wins the lottery, Milwaukee comes second and Houston gets the third pick. If this were to happen, Minnesota, who entered the draft as the worst team will drop the maximum three spots and be given the fourth overall pick.  Cleveland would get the fifth pick and Toronto would get the sixth pick. With the Raptors entering the lottery as the third worst team, they are ensured they will finish no lower than sixth overall. There is little reason to worry; only a four per cent chance that the Raptors will drop to sixth overall.

So here are the chances the Raptors have in the lottery:

1st pick: 15.6%

2nd pick: 15.7 %

3rd pick: 15.6%

4th pick: 22.6%

5th pick: 26.5%

6th pick: 4%

Tune in on Tuesday night, 8:30 ET to check out the lottery and watch as the race to the 2011 NBA draft begins.

Photo Credit:, Ned Dishman & Getty Images


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