Heat Draft Lottery 2017: What are the odds Miami lands a top 3 pick?


Technically, it’s possible the Miami Heat land a top-three pick in the NBA draft. But the odds are slim, and history does not favor teams in their position.

The Miami Heat are currently slotted in at the 14th pick in the NBA draft, but the 2017 NBA draft lottery gives them a chance to get a top three pick. It’s a tiny, microscopic chance, but a chance nonetheless.

The Heat have a 98.2 percent chance of keeping the 14th pick, but a 1.8 percent chance to land a top-three pick and a 0.5 percent chance to get the first overall pick.

The draft lottery determines the order of selections for the first 14 picks of June’s NBA draft. The lottery results will be televised on Tuesday, May 16, at 8 pm ET on ESPN.

The actual lottery procedure of drawing ping pong balls happens in a separate room prior to the broadcast, with select media members and team officials, among others, in attendance to make sure nothing fishy happens (NBA fans have been accusing the NBA draft lottery of being rigged for years).

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The actual process of drawing ping pong balls is a complicated one. It isn’t like drawing a team’s name out of a hat. Each team is assigned a certain amount of the 1,001 possible four-ball combinations based on their lottery odds. The 14 ping pong balls are drawn in groups of four (one at a time, mixing the balls between draws). The team assigned with the first combination drawn will receive the first overall pick.

The process is repeated to assign the second overall pick, and again for the third pick. The order of selections for the teams that don’t get a top-three pick is determined by worst record. (This is important to note. The drawing only occurs for the top three picks, not all 14. That means that Miami can only win one of the first three picks, or 14.)

Heat fans will know relatively early as to what pick the team has. Unlike the actual drawing process, which starts with the first overall pick, the broadcast starts with the 14th pick. That’s where Miami is most likely to land.

So when the broadcast starts and it’s not the Heat that NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces has the 14th pick, that means Miami has won a top-three pick. Pretty exciting stuff.

Here’s the bad news: Since the lottery expanded to 14 teams in 2004, no team with odds as small as Miami ever landed a top-three pick.

The longest odds to win a top-three pick was the Chicago Bulls, getting the top overall pick in 2008 despite a pre-lottery position of nine. The team they jumped? The Heat, who had the best odds (25 percent) of landing the first pick. (In 2014, the Cleveland Cavaliers also won the top pick with a pre-lottery position of nine.)

Next: Heat's 2017 NBA draft board

The last time the Heat were in the lottery, in 2015, they had the 10th pick and didn’t move up. Will the basketball gods pay Miami back for what happened in 2008? We’ll see how the ping pong balls bounce.