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NBA Basketball Draft

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NBA Draft

The NBA draft is the way that new players enter the league. It is an annual event during the NBA offseason where teams acquire the rights to sign prospective players to professional contracts. These players are scouted from NCAA teams or international leagues.The draft is held a few weeks after the NBA Finals end in June. Players from all over the world can realize their lifelong dreams of making it to the highest level of basketball competition.

NBA Draft History

The NBA Draft is a yearly event dating back to 1947. In 1947 on July 1, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) had a joint draft. There were twenty teams between the two leagues. The NBL had already signed 11 players leaving the other 9 teams to draft collegiate-eligible players.The draft has consisted of two rounds since 1989. The two rounds would consist of 60 collegiate eligible basketball players to get selected.

NBA Draft Details

Number Of Rounds

The NBA draft is split up into 2 rounds with each team set to draft once. Other major sports have 7 rounds in their entry drafts, but the NBA has much smaller teams in terms of number of players, so only 60 players enter through the draft every year.


The venue for the draft changes every year. It is usually held in a large auditorium where each player is announced on a microphone. Most of the potential picks sit with their friends and family in the crowd and anxiously await their name to be called.

Draft Order

The draft order is determined in a very controversial way. There is a televised event called the NBA Draft Lottery where all non playoff teams are given a chance to get a top 3 pick. Each team is represented by a number of ping pong balls (based on how good their regular season record was the previous year), and 3 ping pong balls are chosen. These are the top 3 picks. After this, the remaining teams are placed in order of the record, from worst to best. The teams with the worst regular season records get the highest odds of getting a high pick and non playoff teams with the best records get the lowest odds. So having the worst record does not guarantee the first overall pick, it just gives you a slightly better chance.

College Player Eligibility

College players who have finished their four years of college eligibility are automatically eligible for the NBA Draft. However, for underclassmen, they have to declare their eligibility for the draft. These underclassmen who have not finished their college eligibility and declare early for the NBA Draft are called early entrants. Many talented players may only go to school for 1 or 2 years. If they feel like they have a good chance of being drafted, they may enter the draft and declare eligibility.

International Players

International players can enter their name into the draft from anywhere in the world. It is a dream come true for these players to get drafted into the NBA. Many of the best players come from overseas, and a lot of them are not very well known at the time they are drafted. For example, in the 2018 NBA draft, Slovenian teen sensation, Luka Doncic was selected as the third pick overall by the Atlanta Hawks, but was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Since then, he has shown his immense skill and won Rookie of the Year. This just goes to show you that not all NBA stars come from big college programs, many come from places you'd never expect.

Fun Facts About International Players

  • The first foreign born player to get drafted into the NBA was Bahamian Mychal Thompson by the Portland Trail Blazers as the number 1 pick in 1978
  • Nigerian Center Hakeem Olajuwon was taken with the 1st overall pick in 1984
  • Jamican-born American Patrick Ewing was drafted in 1985 as the number 1 overall pick
  • Yao Ming became the first foreign-born player without college experience as the number 1 overall pick


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