Report: NBA lottery expected to have same format as ’19

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Regardless of how the remainder of the NBA season plays out, the draft lottery is expected to remain unchanged from last year, ESPN reported Monday.

When the NBA suspended the season on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic, teams had played between 63 and 67 games. In the eyes of some executives, that discrepancy in games would make it difficult to hold a lottery in the same fashion as before. But according to the ESPN report, enough games have been played to constitute a representative sample.

Another reason for the lottery to remain unchanged, per ESPN, was the change the league made prior to last year’s lottery. The first four slots are determined via lottery, with the teams with the three worst records each having a 14 percent chance of getting the first pick, and the teams with the fourth- through 13th-worst records seeing their odds decrease on a sliding scale.

Under the previous format, the first three spots were determined by lottery, but the team with the worst record held a 25 percent chance of winning, and the odds decreasing beginning with the second-worst record.

“I wouldn’t expect changes,” one executive with a team headed for the lottery told ESPN.

The lottery originally was scheduled to take place Tuesday night. The scouting combine was also supposed to take place this week, in Chicago. According to the report, the NBA is still hoping to hold the event later this year.

The league last week reportedly asked teams to vote for up to 70 players they would like invited to the combine. It is believed that should a combine take place, it most would likely be a virtual combine, with teams watching players work out from afar.

“I think, like everything, they’ll severely restrict who can be (at the combine), and they can maybe stream it,” an Eastern Conference executive told ESPN. “But I do think it’ll happen.”