A draft in basketball is how teams select rookie players who wish to enter the league and to join their team. The most well known basketball draft is the NBA draft, in which college and international prospects are picked by the 30 professional franchises.
Since 2006, high school players are forbidden from being drafted and athletes must be 19 and a year out of 12th grade before being considered. Besides free agency, the draft is the most important part of a team's offseason in order to acquire franchise cornerstones and role players. Because of this, an extensive amount of research is done to determine what prospects will fit well with each team.
One of the first scouting opportunities aside from their college tape that teams have at their disposal is the combine. The draft combine is an event where players are invited to scrimmage against other prospects and prove their strength and athleticism through a series of measured tests. While players can rise and fall on draft boards due to their performance here, it is important not to weigh the combine too highly in comparison to their actual game footage.
Contrary to common sense, the best and most accomplished players are not always the most coveted picks. This is because teams value youth and malleability. Seniors who play a very standard way are less enticing than freshman phenoms who may not be able to shoot well but can jump out of the gym. NBA teams want the ability to teach and shape their talent into finished models rather than inheriting a less athletic but more successful player.
The draft is made up of two rounds with 30 picks in each round. Since draft picks can be traded, teams can have any number of picks but it is usually around two per team. Before the draft is held, each team that does not make the playoffs is entered into a lottery to determine the draft order. The worse a team's record, the more likely they are to get a high pick, but it is not a guarantee. This system is in place to discourage tanking a season for the first pick.
Past drafts have seen teams selects busts at the top or find hidden gems at the bottom. Each pick is a huge investment for a team's future and a bad selection can set them back for years. Hall of Famers like Hakeem Olajuwon and LeBron James have been taken number one overall but so was oft injured bust Greg Oden.