NBA draft

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The NBA Draft is an event of the North American basketball league NBA , at which the league's teams can acquire the rights to available young players. Most of the time, the drafted players come straight from college , but also from leagues outside of North America and earlier also from high school . Since the 2006 NBA Draft , only players who have graduated from high school for at least a year and who will be at least 19 years old by the end of the year in which the draft takes place are allowed.

History of the draft

The first draft took place in 1947, when the league was still operating under the name BAA (Basketball Association of America). When it was renamed NBA in 1950, it was renamed NBA Draft. First and foremost, the draft should achieve a fair distribution of the best college players to all NBA teams. Then as now, the teams with the weakest balance sheets should be able to choose the best college players. Unlike in Europe, sports education in the USA is carried out by high schools and colleges. NBA clubs do not have a youth department and are not clubs in the European sense, but franchises and are thus more like profitable companies. Thus, no young players move up from within their own ranks. The annual recruitment of young talent was solved with the draft, which is also carried out annually in other sports in the USA.

The order of the draft was initially based on the seasonal balance sheets of the respective teams in reverse order. The best team received the last right to vote in the respective draft round, the worst the first. In 1966, the coin toss was introduced for teams with the same balance sheet. The winner of the coin toss was given the better draft position. In this way, the 1969 Milwaukee Bucks were given the opportunity to select Lew Alcindor first. In 1985, the coin toss was replaced by the draft lottery, in which all unqualified play-off teams have a chance to win the first, second and third pick. After criticism, the weighting of the lottery was adjusted in 1990 in favor of the weaker teams. In this way, for example, the Orlando Magic 1993 managed to actually win the lottery with a 1.52% chance of the first pick.

In earlier years, a so-called territorial pick was also introduced for marketing purposes . This made it possible for NBA teams to forego their actual pick and thus sign any college player in their area (hence territorial pick). College basketball in particular was far more popular in the NBA's early years than the actual professional league. So should be generated for the young league, when the local college star changed to the local professional club. Examples of Territorial Picks are: Wilt Chamberlain , Tom Heinsohn , Oscar Robertson or Gail Goodrich . In 1965 the Territorial Pick was abolished.

At the beginning, NBA teams were allowed to draft unlimitedly until all players were taken. Between 1960 and 1968 there were 21 draft rounds. Over the years the number of draft rounds has decreased. There have only been two draft rounds since 1989. A draft round consists of the number of respective NBA teams in the league. Each team has one right of choice per draft round.

Since the mid-1980s and David Stern's takeover as commissioner of the NBA, the draft has also developed into a media event. With the NBA's surge in popularity in the 1980s, the players who signed up for the draft also became younger and more international. Although Darryl Dawkins became the first high school player to move directly to the NBA in 1975 , 20 years passed before another high schooler, Kevin Garnett, was drafted. Kobe Bryant joined the NBA in 1996 and Tracy McGrady in 1997 . Their successes fueled the flow of young players who were talented but not always ready for the NBA. This development culminated in 2001 when Kwame Brown and Tyson Chandler were the first two Picks to go to high school. The list of high schoolers or young Europeans who got drafted and failed is long. As of 2006, draft applicants must either have played a year of college or be at least 19 years old. This led to the concept of one-and-done , according to which many talented college players leave college after their freshman year, the first year, and sign up for the draft. A development that is often viewed critically. The last college graduate to be drafted first was Kenyon Martin in 2000.

Parallel to the success of the high schoolers is that of the international players. In the 1980s, international players without college experience were often only selected in the last rounds of the draft, but since the successes of Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol, international players have been the focus of NBA scouts. In 2002, Yao Ming, the first international player without college experience, was selected first, and in 2006 Andrea Bargnani became the first European top pick. However, many international players are only selected from the second round, where they are then "parked" by their team in Europe for one to two years and, if they develop appropriately, are brought into the NBA. Those Europeans who are drafted very early usually switch to the NBA immediately. Further examples of highly drafted internationals without college experience are Danilo Gallinari , Ricky Rubio , Enes Kanter , Jonas Valanciunas or, most recently, Dante Exum , Kristaps Porziņģis and Mario Hezonja .

The draft process

With the end of the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship tournament and the regular NBA season, the preliminary phase of the draft begins. College players who leave their respective universities with a college degree (usually after four years) are automatically registered for the draft. Players who have played three years of college or less must register for the draft. They have the option to withdraw their registration at any time up to a specified period. If this does not happen or if a player agent is hired before the deadline , the college career for the player concerned is also ended, as the player also gives up his amateur status by registering for the draft or signing a player agent. In the run-up to the draft, many college and NBA experts create so-called mock drafts. In these, the strongest players, regardless of teams, are assigned to their respective positions and a prediction is made about where this player will be drawn. The position of each player depends on many factors. The most important, however, are age and the potential that comes with it, physical parameters such as height and arm span, athleticism, skills such as throwing, dribbling, passing or defending, his performance in the NCAA tournament and, last but not least, the character of the respective player. In order to better assess some of these parameters, the NBA is holding a draft combine before the draft , in which the players are officially measured and can prove their skills in athletic tests. Following the combine, the draft order is determined using the draft lottery and the favored players from NBA clubs are invited to private workouts, which are most likely to resemble an interview and to give the team a better picture of the player. This is an important opportunity for international players in particular to present themselves, as less is known about these players than about domestic college players.

The subsequent NBA draft usually takes place one week before the official summer break on July 1st or shortly after the NBA final and is broadcast live on American television. The venues for the draft vary. For the past five years, however, the draft took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. As a rule, the best ten to fifteen talents are invited to the so-called Green Room , where they usually wait with family, friends and agents for their names to be named. The first round of drafts is opened by the NBA commissioner Adam Silver . This gradually calls the respective players onto the podium. After each entry, the next team has five minutes to name the next player. From the second round of the draft, the deputy commissioner, Mark Tatum , will proclaim the names. Teams only have two minutes to make their choice this round. There are often transactions between teams during the course of the draft. Draft positions are exchanged or bought or seasoned players are exchanged for draft rights. It is also common for some teams to have multiple draft rights in a draft round. These were acquired through previous transactions.

Eligible Players

All US players were previously automatically available for the NBA Draft when they graduated from college. All players who leave college before they graduate are listed as underclassmen and must register for the draft. Also, through 2005, American players could register their availability for the draft at any time between their graduation from high school and their time in college. International players could declare themselves available when they turn 18 in the year of the draft. From the age of 23, every international player is also automatically registered.

Since the 2006 NBA draft, the rules for entering the draft have changed:

  • All players must be at least 19 years old by the end of the year.
  • American players must have graduated from high school for at least a year.

Players who are not automatically available for the draft must register by a specified date (60 days before the day of the event) and will then receive the formal application documents. Candidates who have already been observed by scouts and are considered promising talents are invited to the annual NBA Draft Combine, where they can officially measure their physical characteristics and skills and have coaches, scouts and NBA officials assess what the draft position is both positive and positive can also have a negative impact.


The NBA Draft is currently taking place in two rounds, in which a total of 60 players can be selected. Each NBA team has the opportunity to choose a player once in each round. The order of the draft is determined by the performance of the teams in the previous regular season . Placements in the playoffs are not taken into account. The worst teams get to be the first player to choose, while the champions of the previous season are last in each round. The 14 teams that did not qualify for the playoffs have the first 14 voting rights. So that teams that no longer have a chance to qualify for the playoffs do not deliberately play badly in order to do as poorly as possible in the table and thus have their turn very early in the draft, there is the draft lottery. The lottery is intended to prevent manipulation attempts. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of "tanking" has existed for several years. In this type of rebuild, the "fueling" teams are accused of deliberately playing poorly and losing in order to increase their draft chances and to accelerate the rebuilding with better talent.

Draft lottery

The NBA introduced the draft lottery in 1985. It usually takes place at the end of May, around a month before the actual draft. There are 14 balls in a lottery wheel, numbered from 1 to 14. Four balls are drawn in the lottery, and the balls drawn result in a combination, whereby the order of the numbers is irrelevant (e.g. the 1-2-3-4 drawing is equivalent to the 4-3-2-1 drawing ). There are a total of 1,001 possible combinations, whereby the combination 11-12-13-14 is ignored in order to get exactly to the number 1,000.

Before the draft lottery, the 1,000 number combinations are assigned to the 14 teams. This is a weighted lottery, which is why the worst team from last season with 250 assigned combinations has the best chance of winning.

The following weighting applies to the draft lottery. The worst team is in first place, the best of the teams not qualified for the playoffs in 14th place:

  1. 250 combinations (25% chance of winning the lottery)
  2. 188 combinations (18.8%)
  3. 142 combinations (14.2%)
  4. 107 combinations (10.7%)
  5. 81 combinations (8.1%)
  6. 62 combinations (6.2%)
  7. 47 combinations (4.7%)
  8. 36 combinations (3.6%)
  9. 27 combinations (2.7%)
  10. 21 combinations (2.1%)
  11. 15 combinations (1.5%)
  12. 11 combinations (1.1%)
  13. 8 combinations (0.8%)
  14. 5 combinations (0.5%)

The lottery runs in three rounds. Four numbers are drawn each round, and the team that has the correct combination of numbers wins the round. In the first round it is determined which team receives the first right to vote in the draft, the "first overall pick". In the second and third round, the teams are then determined that are placed in second and third position in the NBA draft.

Draft order

  • 1st place: Winner of the first round of the draft lottery
  • 2nd place: Winner of the second round of the draft lottery
  • 3rd place: Winner of the third round of the draft lottery
  • 4th to 14th place: Teams that could not qualify for the playoffs, in reverse order of their placements in the regular season
  • 15th to 30th place: Playoff participants, in reverse order of their placements in the regular season

Teams can give, but also receive, draft voting rights in transfers to other teams. It happens that one team is allowed to select players twice or more in one round, while other teams cannot select a player in one round because they have given up their voting rights in a transfer.

The draft

The NBA draft usually takes place in June after the playoffs . Since 2002, the draft has been taking place in a festive setting and as a major media event exclusively on the east coast in New York City, the headquarters of the NBA, or in the immediate vicinity in New Jersey. After Madison Square Garden in the first decade, in recent years (as of 2017) the Barclays Center in Brooklyn has mostly been the scene of the draft, in which the most promising contenders for a pick in the first round with their families and their agents are usually are on site. These will be presented to the public after the drawing and meet the franchise officials backstage.

In the order that was determined in the draft lottery, the teams, by the managing directors or the coaches, select a total of 60 players in close coordination, who had been carefully observed and scouted in the preseason. The team that comes first in the draft order therefore has the best opportunity to select the greatest talent of the year. The following teams are forced to react to the decisions of the other franchises within minutes. The teams must give players selected in the first round at least a one-year contract. NBA rights to players selected in the second round belong to the respective team for three years, but the players do not necessarily have to be signed. Because of this, players are often temporarily “parked” in Europe or in the farm teams of the NBA Gatorade League .

Evaluation / assessment

As the draft position increases, so do the expectations of the drafted player. The expectations of players who are selected first are particularly high. Some highly drafted players have solid and long-standing careers, but never stand out. Others, in turn, disappear from the league after a few years, be it due to injuries, stagnant development or external reasons (drug abuse, doping, etc.). In retrospect, such players are referred to as bust (in German: bankruptcy).

Since the assessment of success in terms of expectations, career length and the point statistics would be too subjective, there are calculation methods in statistics for the benefit a player has brought. This is determined via the "win share" , which can be calculated in a logarithmic formula taking into account time, statistical player data and draft position.

Draft busts

Historic draft busts include Sam Bowie , Kent Benson , LaRue Martin , Pervis Ellison , Joe Kleine and Steve Stipanovich . Sam Bowie in particular is often referred to as the biggest bust in NBA history. In the 1984 NBA draft , the Portland Trail Blazers preferred Bowie to future superstars Michael Jordan , Charles Barkley and John Stockton . Bowie played a solid but injured NBA career and finally declared his career over at the comparatively young age of 33. To this day, he was only remembered as the player who preferred Portland over Jordan.

In recent draft history, Michael Olowokandi , Kwame Brown , Adam Morrison , Nikoloz Tskitishvili or Darko Milicic have been named as draft bust. Hasheem Thabeet , Greg Oden , Jonny Flynn , Michael Beasley and especially Anthony Bennett are currently referred to as busts, partly for different reasons. The career of the highly talented Beasley stalled due to a lack of professionalism and drug use. Hasheem Thabeet has been traded high for his size and defensive strength, but his enormous technical deficits have so far not allowed him any long-term engagement with an NBA team. Flynn, who was drafted in the same year as Thabeet, played a convincing rookie season, due to increased competition in his position and the fact that he only remained at his rookie level and did not develop further, his NBA career ended very early. Stations in Australia and Italy followed.

The career of Odens, who was selected first by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 NBA Draft, was particularly tragic . He came to the NBA as the greatest center hope for decades, but was seriously injured several times and had to take more than half of his career off due to injury. In 2014 Oden started a comeback with the Miami Heat , with which he - in a small role - reached the NBA Finals. After that, he couldn't find an NBA team. Anthony Bennett, on the other hand, was the first Canadian ever to be selected in first place in 2013, but played a historically weak season for a 1st pick due to obesity, an asthma disease and a lack of training. After just one season he was sold by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he could not meet expectations and was released after one season. Even after a year in Toronto he moved to the Brooklyn Nets, with which he was under contract with four different franchises within three years, which is extraordinary for a first pick. On the other hand, Kevin Durant , drafted after Oden, Russell Westbrook , drafted after Beasley in 2008 , as well as James Harden and Stephen Curry , who were elected behind Hasheem Thabeet and Jonny Flynn in 2009, became superstars.

The 2000 draft class is legendary and produced a number of busts. Apart from Kenyon Martin , no top pick from this year could meet the expectations, and only three players from this draft class - besides Martin, Michael Redd and Jamaal Magloire , but only once each - took part in the All-Star Game . From ESPN the draft class was considered the worst from the 1985th

Markelle Fultz's career is currently being watched with particular attention . He was first drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the 2017/2018 season and only played fourteen games of the season for reasons unknown. Donovan Mitchell , drafted far after him, surprised fans and experts alike and led Utah Jazz as the top scorer in the NBA playoffs.

In general, it can be observed that the number of players who went down in NBA history as busts has increased enormously since the 1990s, which is due to the generally higher expectations, the large number of early college dropouts, mostly physically or mentally not for the Professional league, and which is related to the lower patience of the basketball community compared to the past.


Sleepers (alternatively also steal ) are players who end up beyond the top 10 in the annual talent selection, but in retrospect turn out to be lucky and have a very successful career. The most famous sleepers are Karl Malone , John Stockton , Steve Nash , Kobe Bryant , Alex English , Ron Artest , Rajon Rondo , Michael Redd , Manu Ginóbili , Rashard Lewis , Danny Granger , Draymond Green , Kawhi Leonard , Bill Laimbeer , Paul Millsap , Marc Gasol or Maurice Cheeks .

Undrafted players

"Undrafted" players are players who were not included in the NBA draft, but who eventually found their way into the NBA. Undrafted NBA professionals are often considered underdogs and are widely recognized when their performances are reasonably good. The best-known example of such a professional is likely to be Jeremy Lin , on whose story the film Linsanity is based. Other well-known undrafted professionals who were nevertheless able to experience a successful NBA career are Ben Wallace , who won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times and won the NBA championship as an All-Star with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, the three-time NBA Champion Udonis Haslem , former US international Brad Miller , Chris Andersen , who became the first basketball player in history to join the NBA via the NBA Development League and had a large stake in the 2013 Miami Heat championship , and Bruce Bowen , who was the was considered one of the best defenders of his generation, with the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA championship three times and was appointed to the NBA All-Defensive Team several times . Other notable players who were not selected in the draft are Kent Bazemore , José Calderón , Wesley Matthews , Raja Bell , Darrell Armstrong , Avery Johnson , John Starks , Reggie Evans and Earl Boykins .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Win Share calculation
  2. NBA Draft Busts All Time
  3. TOP 10 Draft Busts out of High School
  4. Greg Oden NBA Bust ( Memento of the original from December 6, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ NBA draft busts for the past 25 years
  6. NBA TOP 10 Wrong Draft Picks
  7. ^ The powerful myth of Michael Beasley's talent
  8. NBA Top 5 Busts of the Last 5 Years
  9. NBA PM: Worst-Ever No. 1 draft picks
  10. ^ The first lottery draft still rates the best
  11. Markelle Fultz Stats | Accessed March 26, 2018 .
  12. NBA TOP Sleepers
  13. TOP 10 NBA Draft Steel
  14. ^ Linsanity: the Movie. Article on the Kickstarter website, accessed January 9, 2015
  15. HEAT'S 'BIRDMAN' GROUNDED FOR GAME 6 . In: . May 31, 2013. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved January 9, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. Palmer, Chris: Birdman's redemption bittersweet for his mother . In: ESPN the Magazine . May 12, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  17. Spurs to Retire Bruce Bowen's No. 12 Jersey on March 21