The 2018 NBA Draft is around the corner – taking place at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on 21 June. The Draft Lottery and the Draft Combine have now taken place, leaving us waiting in anticipation for what is in store on 21 June.
The draft system works in the interests of balancing the playing field between teams. Those who are the lowest ranked in the standings will receive the best odds of being awarded the number 1 draft pick, which effectively means the opportunity to recruit the best prospect from the draft class. In the NBA, 14 teams participate in the Draft Lottery, which involves the teams that did not qualify for the play offs.
This article aims to discuss the intricacies of the Draft process with a specific focus on the NBA Draft and provide an overview of how the system operates. The draft is a unique feature of American sport but plays a crucial role in granting young athletes a clear route to becoming a professional athlete whilst – at the same time – offering weaker teams a first right to the talent pool, levelling the competition in the league.
The NBA negotiates with its players through a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) on how the league will operate as well as agreeing the rules governing player contracts, salaries, trades and the Draft.
The most recent eligibility rules for the NBA Draft are found in article X(1)(b) of the 2017 CBA.
The starting point when considering eligibility is that a player must be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the Draft and, if not deemed an international player, be one year removed from high school.