Nba Protected Pick

NBA Protected Pick: What Are They?

The NBA draft is a critical event that determines the future of basketball teams. Every year, teams participate in the draft to select new and promising players. The selection of each team is based on a lottery system, where the worst teams in the previous season get a greater chance of getting the first pick.

But some teams cannot take advantage of this system even if they have a bad record because they have traded their draft pick in the past. In such cases, a protected pick is used. In this article, we will discuss NBA protected picks, how they work, and their significance.

What Is a Protected Pick in the NBA?

A protected pick typically refers to a future NBA draft selection promised from one team to another, with specific conditions on its final outcome stipulated by an agreement in trade terms.

A team that trades its future draft picks to another team must provide a “protected” issue. In simple words, teams will try to secure their draft picks by creating agreements that allow them to keep some control and limit potential losses. The best example of this is the use of “Protected picks” in NBA trades.

Protected Picks are known as a form of protection, which is ensured by the trading party safeguarding themselves against various possibilities. Such conditions result in predetermined guidelines dictating when and how a pick can be transferred.

How Do Protected Picks Work?

Protected picks can have varying degrees of protection, usually defined as a range of specific terms. A protected pick may be positioned with different limits, including how many picks are being traded or what the conditions are when non-randomized picks are chosen.

Typically, protected picks are used to prevent the team trading away its pick from giving up a high-value choose. For example, if a team trades its 1st round pick to another team, but they want to own a pick within the top 10, then they will set up the conditions necessary to get it.

As an example, Team X might trade their future first-round pick to Team Y, but with the agreement that if the pick is within the 1-5, then the protected pick will come into effect. This means if the pick falls within the 1-5, Team Y can defer the draft selection until next year or even the year after, depending on how the deal was negotiated or negotiated with the original team itself.

When Is a Protected Draft Pick Triggered?

There are many circumstances that trigger a protected draft pick. Some of these include lottery protection, top-3 or bottom-3 protection, and five picks of security.

Lottery Protection: Lottery-protected picks relate to trading teams, agreeing that they will keep the draft pick until it falls into a specific range in the draft lottery.

Top-Three Protection: When a team holds the right to select a player with a draft pick within the top three selections in the current or next draft, they need protection.

Bottom-Three Protection: When a team holds the right to select a player with a draft pick above the bottom three selections in the current or next draft, they need protection.

Five Picks of Security: This is similar to a lottery-protected pick, but instead of being the last-first round pick, it might be a fifth pick or even further, depending upon how the teams negotiate.

Significance of Protected Picks in the NBA

Protected picks are significant as it allows teams to trade their pick with less risk. When a team trades its draft pick, they know that it’s risky as they’re unsure which players will be available. Often the trade is agreed with the expectation that a premium young player will become accessible for acquisition.

In trades, some teams that may not have access to good players may use these to provide a degree of certainty. For example, they may use a lottery protected pick where their team cannot be in the top 5 picks of the draft, but no worse than 14th. This ensures they have a pick that they can begin to build around.

NBA teams need to assess the value of the pick they are offering if it’s a protected pick, and if it’s worth it or not to gain a player through trading away their picks. Often the protection of the pick helps safeguard them from losing too much concerning their future players.


In conclusion, a protected pick in the NBA is a form of protection established by trading teams to ensure that they keep control and reduce risk regarding their future draft picks. Teams use such protection, and this allows them to trade with less risk.

The conditions placed on the protected picks vary depending on the requirements of the trading team. Protected picks can offer a range of security, including drafting security, top three protections, bottom three protections, and even five picks of security.

NBA teams must assess trade agreements regarding protected picks to reduce risk while still being able to gain a quality player. Thus, protected picks hold great significance in the NBA and trading of its players.