How does the NBA draft work? Understanding the rules of the NBA draft

How does the NBA draft work? Understanding the rules of the NBA draft

Babu Tendu
February 20, 2023 at 11:20 AM

The NBA Draft is an annual event where the 30 teams that make up the National Basketball Association (NBA) select new ballers to join their rosters. The draft is a crucial part of the NBA's off-season, allowing clubs to acquire young talent and build for the future.

How does the NBA draft work?
Get comprehensive information about how the NBA draft works and how effective it is for teams. Photo by Mitchell Leff. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

How does the NBA draft work for players?

Eligible players come from various backgrounds, including college basketball, international leagues, and high school. To qualify for the draft, ballers must be at least 19 years of age and one year removed from high school. College stars must also declare their eligibility for the blueprint, while international players must submit their names to the league office.

How does the NBA draft combine work
Newbies pose for a group shot for the draft class with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29, 2021, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Brian Babineau.
Source: Getty Images

The blueprint order is determined by the inverse order of the teams' records from the previous season, with the team with the worst record having the first overall pick. Each unit can make a certain number of selections, depending on its roster size.

The blueprint consists of two rounds, with teams able to pass on their pick in each round. After the blueprint, teams can add basketballers through various means, including unpicked free agents, returning ones, affiliate ones, and local tryouts.

For draft-eligible ballers, the months leading up to the draft are an intense and exciting time. They participate in pre-draft events, including the Combine, where they can showcase their abilities in front of basketball coaches, executives, and scouts. They can also participate in individual squad workouts, showcasing their skills and demonstrating why they should be selected.

Once a player is selected in the blueprint, they become a part of the family and have the opportunity to make a living playing the sport they love. The blueprint event provides a platform for young basketballers to prove themselves and earn a spot on a roster, where they can continue developing their skills and impact the court.

Maximum age limit for NBA draft

There is no maximum age limit for the blueprint. However, most ballers picked are typically between the ages of 19 and 22. If a basketballer is over 22 and has yet to be determined, they may still sign as an unpicked free agent or try out for a basketball club in hopes of making the roster.

How does the NBA All-star draft work?

This activity determines the rosters for the annual All-Star Game. The two All-Star captains, selected by the fans, are responsible for picking the ones who will participate in the game. The blueprint order is decided by the fan vote results, with the captain who received the most votes getting the first pick. The blueprint is in a snake format, meaning the order alternates after each selection.

How does the NBA G League draft work?

The NBA G League draft is an annual event that takes place before the start of the G League season, typically in late October or early November. The purpose of the draft is to allow G League teams to select players who are not currently on an NBA roster or who are not eligible for the NBA draft.

Here are the key features of the NBA G League draft:

Eligibility: Players who are at least 18 years old and have not been selected in the NBA draft are eligible to be selected in the G League draft. In addition, players who have played in the NBA but are currently not under contract with an NBA team are also eligible.

Draft order: The draft order is determined by a lottery system, with the team with the worst record from the previous season receiving the highest odds of receiving the first pick. The lottery is weighted, so teams with worse records have a higher chance of receiving a higher pick.

Draft format: The G League draft is a "snake" format, meaning the order of picks reverses after each round. For example, if the draft order is 1-10 in the first round, it will be 10-1 in the second round.

Rounds: The draft consists of two rounds, with each team making two picks.

Player pool: The draft's player pool includes domestic and international players, as well as players who have played in other professional leagues.

Signing players: Once a player is selected in the draft, the team has the exclusive right to sign him to a contract. If a player is not selected in the draft, he can sign with any G League team.

How does the NBA Draft Combine work?

The Combine is an annual event in Chicago, Illinois, organized by the National Basketball Association. The Combine is a series of physical and skills assessments, drills, and 5-on-5 games, which allows top draft-eligible prospects to showcase their abilities in front of coaches, executives, and scouts. The event typically takes place in May, a few weeks before the blueprint.

At the Combine, prospects go through a series of tests that measure their athletic abilities, including the vertical jump, shuttle run, and three-quarter court sprint. They also participate in shooting and ball-handling drills and 5-on-5 games, which provide a platform for them to showcase their skills in live game action.

The results of the Combine, along with their college or overseas performances and individual team workouts, help teams make informed decisions about who to pick. The Combine is an essential part of the process and is widely considered one of the most critical events for eligible prospects.

How does the NBA draft lottery work?

The lottery is a weighted system used to determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the draft. The lottery was introduced in 1985 to create a more balanced and fair process for the teams with the worst record to receive the highest picks and to reduce the incentive for clubs to tank games to receive a higher selection.

How does the NBA draft lottery work
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers poses with his jersey during the 2003/2004 NBA Draft Portrait on June 26, 2003, in New York, New York. Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser
Source: Getty Images

The lottery consists of 14 ping pong balls, with four balls assigned to each team that did not make the playoffs and one given to a team that did make the playoffs but finished with the worst record.

The balls are placed in a machine and mixed, and then four balls are drawn randomly to determine the team with the first overall pick. The remaining balls are marked similarly to determine the order of the following 13 choices. The team with the worst record has the highest chance of winning the first overall pick.

How do you get into the NBA draft?

To become eligible for the NBA draft, a player must meet the following criteria:


The player must be at least 19 years of age during the calendar year of the draft.

High School Graduation

If a player is not a college student, they must be one year removed from their high school graduation.

College Eligibility

College players must declare their eligibility for the blueprint and must not have used up their college eligibility.

International Players

International players must submit their names to the NBA for consideration in the picking.

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, players must also perform well in their respective leagues to catch the attention of basketball teams. This could include college basketball, international leagues, or even high school basketball.

How does the NBA draft work? Here is where the NBA teams select new players to join their rosters. The draft is an essential part of the NBA's off-season, as it allows teams to acquire young talent and build for the future.

READ ALSO: Why kids should play sports: Importance of sports to a child’s development

Sports Brief has recently posted about kids. Participation in sports is a vital aspect of a child's physical and mental development. It allows them to build discipline, teamwork, and leadership skills and stay active and healthy.

It is an enjoyable and social activity that fosters friendships and provides a sense of belonging to a community. Why should kids play sports?

Babu Tendu photo
Babu Tendu
SEO Editor
LA LakersWarriors