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NBA Approves Draft Lottery Odds Changes, Rest Guidelines

The NBA owners voted to approve changes to the NBA Draft Lottery on Thursday.

NBA: Awards Show Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In what is being viewed as the first steps towards eliminating tanking, NBA draft lottery reform was passed by the league’s Board of Governors in a vote on Thursday.

The news, first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of, will change how the odds stack in the NBA Draft lottery, beginning with the 2019 NBA Draft.

With the changes, the bottom three teams will share an equally likely chance of receiving the number one overall pick. Previously, the worst team would have a 25 percent chance of picking first. Now the worst team only has a 14 percent chance shared with the second and third worst teams.

In addition, the number of picks drawn in each lottery will move from three to four.

Four teams -- increased from three -- will become part of the lottery draw, which means the No. 1 lottery seed could drop no further than fifth, No. 2 could drop no further than sixth, No. 3 no further than seventh, and No. 4 no further than eighth.

Wojnarowski reports that smaller-market teams were hesitant to accept the changes, believing that the lottery compensates for the disadvantage competing against their larger-market brethren for free agents. Still, the measure passed almost unanimously.

The Board of Governors also adopted player rest guidelines. Under the new rules, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will have authority to fine teams that rest players for high-profile television match-ups. Teams are encouraged to rest players during home games in order to have them available for road games, to aid fans that purchase tickets to see out-of-town stars play.