NBA Draft Rules 2019: How Long Is It? How Many Rounds?

NBA Draft rules how many rounds how long

Getty Duke forward Zion Williamson

The 2019 NBA Draft is officially set to get underway and there are already plenty of storylines already building and many more set to come. While Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson is the headliner, fans will see a total of 60 players selected over the span of two rounds.

Unlike in the NFL and other sports, the NBA draft does not feature compensatory picks and instead has just 60 selections spread across the two rounds. The order is set for picks 15-30 by reverse order of record when it comes to each of the playoff teams from the previous season, and the entire second round goes in order of record from worst-to-best.

As for the first 14 picks of the draft, they are decided at the NBA draft lottery, which took place on May 14. The three teams with the worst records had equal chances at the No. 1 pick, but this year it was the New Orleans Pelicans, who had just a six percent chance to land the top selection who won.

We’re going to take a deeper dive into the draft rules, along with how long it will typically run.

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How Long Is the NBA Draft?

As stated above, the NBA draft features two rounds of picks but will run over the span of roughly four-to-five hours, depending on how long teams take to make their selections. It’s set to start at 7 p.m. ET, and each team will have a longer period of time to make picks in the first round, with the timer set for five minutes.

When the second round gets underway, teams are then given just two minutes to make their selections. In most cases, the draft will be wrapped up by 11:30 p.m.-midnight, barring something unforeseen causing a delay in the action.

One key element of the draft which can lead to a small delay is when trades occur, although the rules around teams making deals aren’t as simple as just swapping selections. This is another area where the NBA draft is different than many other professional sports leagues.


NBA Draft Trade Rules

As Sports Illustrated’s Khadrice Rollins revealed previously, NBA teams are allowed to trade picks until 2 p.m. ET on draft day and then proceed to make their picks that night. This doesn’t mean trades can’t still happen, but if they occur during the draft or after that time, it would result in the draft rights to players being moved, not actual picks.

“So, if two teams wanted to switch picks but couldn’t get a deal done before the deadline, each team would have to select players with the picks it had going into the draft, and then the players are traded for each other. Similarly, if a team is trading for a veteran player, it has to draft a player, and then trade the player’s rights instead of just trading the pick.” Rollins explains.

These rules make things a bit interesting, as it can lead to players being picked, sporting a team’s hat while meeting the commissioner, and then finding out they’ll actually play elsewhere. This happened during the 2018 NBA Draft with current Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, who was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers initially and then traded shortly after.

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