The NBA Draft Lottery is this week.
The NBA's annual high-stakes game of chance known as the NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 16 (with a possible move up to May 14 or 15) on ESPN prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
This year's lottery comes with added intrigue thanks to a stacked incoming draft class and some dramatic storylines involving franchises with top odds to win the No. 1 overall pick. See the draft order and lottery odds here.
The Boston Celtics, owner of the best record in East this season, have the best chance to win the top pick in the June 22 draft thanks to a 2013 trade with the Brooklyn Nets, owners of the worst record in the NBA this season.
But another historic NBA franchise stands to lose big in the draft lottery. The Los Angeles Lakers need the ping pong balls to deliver a Top 3 pick, or they lose their 2017 (to the Philadelphia 76ers) and their 2019 (to Orlando for the 2012 Dwight Howard trade) first round draft picks. If they land in the Top 3, they keep their 2017 and 2019 first round selections, but have to send Orlando second round picks in 2017 and 2018. Got that? The Lakers lose or keep two first round picks.
Another potential story is vindication for "The Process" in Philadelphia. Sam Hinkie's master plan to tank his franchise to accrue top draft picks could deliver this year with the Lakers pick, plus their own first round selection, which (because of another trade) they can swap with Sacramento. That could give Philly -- already loaded with young talent in Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons. You can argue the 76ers should hope for the Lakers to keep their pick, because then they get LA's pick, unprotected, in 2018. But this is a draft loaded with talent, so Philly should come out well either way.
The Kings, now minus Boogie Cousins, are set to add two Top 10 picks in the draft thanks to trading their superstar to New Orleans. The Pelicans keep their pick if it's in the Top 3, but there's about a 10% chance of that happening.
Outside of those major storylines, the NBA lottery can always come with a surprise. The Detroit Pistons -- who just have a first round pick in this year's draft -- have just a 0.7% chance of winning the top pick -- but that's a chance!
For fun, try out RealGM.com's 2017 NBA Lottery Simulator.
And for more fun, read up on the legendary conspiracy theory involving the first-ever NBA Draft Lottery in 1985.