The ping-pong magic happens before the broadcast. Each team is assigned various four-number combinations that will determine its pick. Then, 14 ping-pong balls — each numbered one through 14 — are placed into a ball-jumbling lottery machine.
Representatives from the NBA, the teams involved, the media and the accounting firm Ernst & Young will be in attendance during the lottery. The balls are mixed for 20 seconds before the first one is drawn. Three more balls are drawn after 10-second mixing intervals between each selection. The team with the drawn four-number combination wins the draft lottery. The process is then repeated for picks Nos. 2-14.
There are 1,001 possible combinations for each set of four ping-pong balls drawn from the lottery of 14.
After the picks are determined, a representative from Ernst & Young places the results in 14 sealed envelopes and delivers them to Tatum, who will open the envelopes one by one during the broadcast.
This story originally appeared on LA Times