NBA Draft Lottery: What Are the Odds

I've read that the NBA wants to create an element of surprise and perhaps provide some level of fairness too in determining who will draft first through 15. It seems like a relatively complex drawing in that only the first three spots are really up for grabs, while a team could fall back in the order by a corresponding number from where they would otherwise would have selected based on their prior year's win-loss record.I find it really curious to see that the worst team receives just a 25 percent chance in winning the top prize – the #1 overall selection. Although the rest of the lottery entrants have a far smaller individual chance to win, they combine for a 75 percent chance to win. Which odds would you rather have in a bet?

Although all of the other draft lottery teams have a far lower individual chance of winning, collectively they seem to have overwhelming odds in their favor that one of them will win over the team with just a 25 percent chance.

Not since 2004 has the team with the worst record won the top draft spot (Orlando drafted Dwight Howard first overall with that selection). Last year Cleveland won the prize, instead of drafting eighth as their record would have dictated.

I think the question should be raised whether this format really helps the league maintain competitive parity. It can be argued that the draft is always a gamble, especially given that the players that are …