2021 nba draft lottery
Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery is set for Tuesday, June 22. Here is everything you need to know about where to watch.

The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery is finally here and the ping pong balls are going to be center stage once again.

Shockingly enough, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are nowhere near the lottery this season. Both teams were in the playoffs, but there is still plenty of intrigue surrounding the top of the draft.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know for the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery.

Where to watch the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery

Date: June 22, 2021
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Stream: Watch ESPN App

The ping pong balls will be selected behind closed doors, but the unveiling of the lottery will take place on ESPN on Tuesday nights. Each team in the lottery will have a representative on hand (in person or virtually) as the draft order is announced.

2021 NBA Draft Lottery Odds

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 AVG
Rockets 14.0 13.4 12.7 11.9 47.9 3.7
Pistons 14.0 13.4 12.7 11.9 27.8 20.1 3.9
Magic 14.0 13.4 12.7 11.9 14.8 26.0 7.1 4.1
Thunder 11.5 11.4 11.9 11.0 7.4 27.1 18.0 2.4 4.6
Cavaliers 11.5 11.4 10.6 11.0 2.9 18.2 25.5 8.6 0.6 4.8
Timberwolves 9.0 9.2 9.4 9.6 8.6 29.7 20.6 3.8 0.2 5.5
Raptors 7.5 7.8 8.1 8.5 19.8 33.9 13.0 1.4 >0.0 6.2
Bulls 4.5 4.8 6.7 5.7 34.5 36.2 8.5 0.5 >0.0 7.5
Kings 4.5 4.8 5.2 5.7 46.4 29.4 3.9 0.1 >0.0 8.1
Pelicans 4.5 4.8 3.6 5.7 60.6 17.9 1.2 >0.0 >0.0 8.7
Hornets 1.8 2.0 2.4 2.5 77.6 13.4 0.4 >0.0 10.4
Spurs 1.7 1.9 1.6 2.4 85.2 6.6 0.1 11.3
Pacers 1.0 1.1 1.5 1.4 92.9 2.3 12.5
Warriors 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7


This will be the third year of updated lottery odds. The change in odds was supposed to discourage tanking by giving more teams a realistic chance of moving up in the lottery.

The Rockets, Pistons, and Magic all have a 14% chance of landing the first-overall pick. Meanwhile, the Thunder and Cavaliers have a realistic shot at securing the top pick as well (11.5% each).

Odds courtesy of Tankathon.

How does the NBA Draft Lottery work?

Everyone knows the lottery comes down to ping pong balls, but how exactly does the process of picking those ping pong balls work? Here is a full explanation from the NBA on how that process works:

Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a lottery machine. There are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection. Before the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams. The lottery machine is manufactured by the Smart Play Company, a leading manufacturer of state lottery machines throughout the United States. Smart Play also weighs, measures and certifies the ping-pong balls before the drawing.


The drawing process occurs in the following manner: All 14 balls are placed in the lottery machine and they are mixed for 20 seconds, and then the first ball is removed. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds, and then the second ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the third ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the fourth ball is drawn. The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the No. 1 pick. The same process is repeated with the same ping-pong balls and lottery machine for the second through fourth picks.


If the same team comes up more than once, the result is discarded and another four-ball combination is selected. Also, if the one unassigned combination is drawn, the result is discarded and the balls are drawn again. The length of time the balls are mixed is monitored by a timekeeper who faces away from the machine and signals the machine operator after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed.

Who is going 1st overall?

Cade Cunningham.

It’s as simple as that. In a draft full of elite prospects, Cade Cunningham stands a cut above the rest. He has been the No. 1 pick in each of ESNY’s 2021 NBA Mock Drafts and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Cunningham is a point guard in a forward’s body. He’s a 6-foot-8 point guard who showcased all of the skills that teams look for in a floor general — poise, shotmaking, defense, shooting.

He’s young and still has plenty of room to grow, but he’s the clear-cut No. 1 choice in this upcoming draft class. Whichever team lands the top pick in the draft will have an easy time making that selection.

Knicks, Nets, NY/NJ college hoops, and sports betting reporter. Mostly basketball, but a little bit of everything when it comes to NY sports. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.