The NBA Draft Lottery is just a week away. With it the future of the New Orleans Pelicans could be decided thanks to the lucky bounce of a ping pong ball. SB Nation has already explained the lottery drawing in depth here, but here is a quick version for the TL:DR crowd.
14 numbered ping pong balls are put into a hopper. Teams are assigned a number of potential combinations (1,000 of the 1,001 combinations are assigned) based on their record. Four balls are drawn for the first pick. Then the process is repeated for the second and third pick. The remaining picks (4-14) are assigned based on their pre-lottery position. In this way it is impossible for the Pelicans to win the 4th or 5th picks.
This year the Pelicans, thanks to finishing with the sixth worst record, have 63 combinations. They have had more combinations just three times in franchise history; 2013 (dropped one position), 2012 (won the lottery and right to draft Anthony Davis), and 2005 (dropped two positions but still drafted Chris Paul). Here's a full look at the lottery history for the Pelicans.
|Year||Pre-Lottery Position||Lottery Combinations||Lottery Result||Change|
As you can see in the pick odds from Tankathon there is a better chance the Pelicans move back (34.5%) than move up (21.5%).
Will the odds be in the Pelicans favor? Find out in seven days.