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All the NBA fans and followers have heard about the Draft of the most important sports leagues, but do you really know what is the purpose of the NBA Draft as well as the process to follow?
In this article we will talk about the Draft selection process in detail, so we suggest you to keep on reading to know the whole process of this way of allocating/recruiting players to the franchise teams.
What is a Draft?
The NBA Draft is a procedure by which the franchises that are part of the National Basketball Association can incorporate players under 23 years old to their teams. The selection can be from American universities or even from the leagues of other countries.
The NBA Draft takes place in an annual event where the teams can allocate players who are eligible and wish to join the league.
The same players are those who declare themselves ‘eligible’ for the draft, and must meet requirements that are four years of college education, or have spent four years since their high school graduation, or have played on a professional contract in another non-NBA league.
The reason for this allocating system is to try to balance the competition, since with the draft event, the worst teams will have the opportunity to choose what they think are the best young players.
When a team selects a player, the team receives exclusive rights to sign that player to a contract, and no other team in the league may sign the player.
The draft usually takes place at the end of June every year, during the NBA offseason, but the present year the Draft 2020 will take place in October, 16 due to the pandemic crisis.
In the draft, teams take turns selecting from a pool of eligible players and since 1989, the NBA draft has consisted of two rounds.
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It consists of two rounds, each team chooses two players in order of preference. This year 60 players will be selected, as there are 30 franchises. Therefore, each team has one selection in the first round and another in the second.
Once the draft starts, the teams have five minutes to make a decision during the 1st Round and two minutes during the 2nd Round.
The order of election is determined by the position of the teams in the previous season. Thus, the worse a team ends, the more chances it has of achieving number 1 in the draft. The positions from 1 to 14 are determined by a draw (the lottery) among the teams that did not qualify for the playoffs, while from 15 onwards, the order is by the final ranking of the teams in the regular season.
The draft lottery is the draw that determines the first three draft elections. The draft is done by putting 14 numbered balls into a lottery-style ping-pong ball machine, and drawing four for each of the three elections. All the possible combinations of numbers (1001) have been distributed to the 14 teams previously eliminated from the playoffs, according to their final position in the ranking. Thus, the worst classified team in the previous season has a 25% chance of obtaining the number 1, while the team no. 14 has only 0.5%.
The ball extraction ceremony celebrates in private, although representatives of the 14 teams involved also attend, as well as independent auditors and members of the press.
But in this particular year of pandemic crisis, the NBA Draft Lottery took place on August 21, 2020 in a virtual format. The 14 teams involved in the draw had a virtual representative in a draw that will determine the future of the franchises and will certainly be key for the Draft ceremony, which will take place on October 16 2020.
How The Draft Was Born
Before the draft existed, sports players could sign with any club. This meant the top players often signed with the top teams and as a result, it created a huge disparity problem for the league.
Bert Bell was the owner of the NFL team Philadelphia Eagles and in the first two years of its existence, the team finished well below 50% win rate and that poor record affected negatively to the ticket sales and to the players. And obviously no player wanted to play for a losing team like the Eagles, as well as no football fan wanted to show up and support a loser.
After seeing his team struggle those first two years, Bell, who would later become NFL commissioner, came up with a proposal and made his case to the other team owners.
Bell´s plan was that the teams would select players in inverse order from the way they finished the previous season. In May 1935, the NFL teams owners agreed to the proposal and in February 1936 took place the inaugural NFL draft at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia consisting of nine rounds. Bell’s Philadelphia Eagles was the first team to make a selection since they had finished with a 2-9 record the previous season.
After 1936, the rest of the sports leagues were adapting the draft procedure, like the NBA in 1950, the NHL in 1963, the MLB in 1965, and in 1967 took place the first joint draft of the NFL and the AFL.
Many things have happened since 1936 in the American sports leagues and the draft has gone through many transformations but what we are sure about is that there is a fairer balance in the transfers of the teams since Bell’s idea.