The main prelude to the Draft, the 2005 NBA Draft Lottery, took place on May 24, 2005. At the draft, the 14 teams which did not make the playoffs selected the top 14 picks in reverse order of their records, except for the top three picks, which were selected in the lottery. Statistically, the team with the worst record (this year, the Atlanta Hawks, 13-69) had the best chance of landing the top pick, the team with the second worst record had the second best chance, and so on. However, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the odds to secure the first pick in the draft. As is the case every year, after the drawing of the top three picks, the remaining 27 first round draft picks were assigned to each of the other NBA teams: picks 4 through 14 are assigned to the remaining non-playoff teams (only these teams participate in the lottery for the top three picks) in reverse order of their records, and picks 15 through 30 are assigned to the remaining NBA teams, in reverse order (i.e., the team with the best record will pick 30th). Round two also consists of thirty picks. (See NBA Draft for more information.)
This was the last NBA Draft for which high school players will be eligible. The new collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players union established a new age limit for draft eligibility. Starting with the 2006 NBA Draft, U.S. players cannot declare themselves eligible for the draft unless they turn 19 no later than December 31 of the year of the draft and are at least one year removed from the graduation of their high school classes. International players must turn 19 (or older) in the calendar year of the draft, up from 18.