How many rounds is the NBA Draft?

Austin Rivers & Anthony Davis. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Austin Rivers & Anthony Davis. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The 2023 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching. The annual NBA Draft Lottery takes place on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Then, the actual NBA Draft will be on Thursday, June 22, 2023.

With this in mind, just how many rounds are in the NBA draft anyway?

Unlike the MLB Draft, which has 20 rounds, and the NFL Draft, which has seven rounds, the NBA Draft is only comprised of two rounds. Each round includes one pick for each team in the association. So, 30 picks in each round. Multiple that by two, and you have 60 total picks.

Also, unlike the MLB and NFL Drafts, which both take place over the course of three days, the NBA Draft starts and finishes on the same day. That makes sense, considering that the NBA Draft is much shorter than the drafts of those other two sports.

However, this was not always the case. From 1960 to 1968, the NBA Draft was even longer than the current MLB Draft – going a whopping 21 rounds. From 1974 to 1984, the draft was ten rounds long (except in 1977, when there were only eight rounds in the draft). In 1985, the draft went down to seven rounds (so the same length as the current NFL Draft).

It wasn’t until 1989 that drafts were decreased down to the two-round format we are familiar with today. Since then, any player not selected in the top 60 is instead given a chance to tryout for teams as an undrafted free agent. (Sidebar: You’ll recall that former four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace was an undrafted free agent once upon a time.)

As we highlighted in our recent overview of their upcoming draft picks, the New Orleans Pelicans should have one first-round pick and three second-round picks at their disposal in this upcoming draft. That would give them control of four of the 60 available picks in this draft. That says nothing about their ability to bolster their roster via the acquisition of undrafted free agents.

Now, we’ll just have to wait and see how New Orleans decides to allocate those resources.

Next. 10 Players the Pelicans gave up on way too soon. dark