One team will come away with the opportunity to draft Duke superstar Zion Williamson following the completion of the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. The annual drawing of ping-pong balls, which is taking place in Chicago, will determine the order of the first 14 picks for the first round of the event.
ESPN will broadcast the live reveal of the lottery results starting at 7:30 p.m. CT prior to the start of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Trail Blazers. Given that game is set to start at 8 p.m., the lottery program itself shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes.
Stakes are especially high for this year’s draft lottery given the presence of Williamson, one of the most electric young talents in recent memory. The 6-foot-8 forward turned from a viral sensation in high school into one of the most dominant college basketball players in the country as a freshman at Duke. Next up, he’s considered the consensus top overall prospect in a class that also includes Murray State point guard Ja Morant and Duke swingman R.J. Barrett.
In the first year under the new lottery odds format, the league’s three worst teams from this season – the Knicks, Cavaliers and Suns – have an equal 14% shot at the No. 1 pick. The Bulls have 12.5% odds of winning the Zion sweepstakes, followed by the Hawks (10.5%) and Wizards (9%). All of those teams have at least a 37% chance of landing in the top three.
Under the previous system, the team with the league’s worst record received 25% odds of winning the pick. The NBA decided to flatten out those odds in order to discourage aggressive tanking and give a wider range of teams an opportunity to win the lottery.
For teams that don’t end up winning the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Williamson, landing in the top three would be a quality consolation. Most draft analysts consider Morant and Barrett to be in a tier above the next group of prospects, which include Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland, Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter, Oregon center Bol Bol and Duke forward Cam Reddish.
Here’s how to tune into this year’s draft lottery.
How to watch 2019 NBA Draft Lottery
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Live stream: WatchESPN