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2018 NBA Draft Lottery Guide

Jennifer Pottheiser / National Basketball Association / Getty

Finally, after Tuesday night, your mock drafts can start making some sense.

With the annual NBA Draft Lottery going prior to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on ESPN, the order for non-playoff teams in the June 21 draft will be set.

Tuesday marks the start of a new draft lottery era, and the end of another.

For the first time ever, the lottery won't be in the New York area; the big reveal will instead go down at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. The move integrates the event with the NBA Draft Combine, which starts on Wednesday and has been held in the Windy City for several years.

This will also be the final lottery in which the team with the worst record in the NBA (in this season's case, the Phoenix Suns) has higher odds of landing the top pick. Beginning next year, the teams with the three worst regular-season records will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery.

The numbers

Of 14 lottery balls (numbered 1-14, one for each non-playoff team), four are randomly selected from the lotto machine to create one of a possible 1,001 combinations. One of those combinations is discarded, while the other possible 1,000 are pre-assigned to the various lottery teams before the draw, weighted by the reverse order of the standings (the team with the worst record is assigned 250 combinations, while the team with the best record out of the lottery teams gets five).

The team that owns the first combination pulled from the machine wins the lottery and the No. 1 overall draft pick. The process is then repeated for the second and third picks, with fourth through 30th determined by the reverse order of the standings.

Related: Great moments in draft lottery history

The actual lottery takes place in front of league, team, media, and Ernst & Young witnesses, but those in attendance are sworn to secrecy until the lottery order is revealed on TV. Each team sends a representative to the televised show, but they aren't aware of what's coming on the broadcast.

The odds

(Odds will change next year)

Team Odds of No. 1 Odds of top-3
Phoenix Suns 25% 64.20%
Memphis Grizzlies 19.90% 55.80%
Dallas Mavericks 12.90% 40%
Atlanta Hawks 12.80% 39.80%
Orlando Magic 10.70% 34.10%
Chicago Bulls 6.20% 21.20%
Sacramento Kings 4% 13.80%
Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn Nets) 2.50% 8.80%
New York Knicks 2.50% 8.70%
Los Angeles Lakers* 1.10% 4%
Charlotte Hornets 0.80% 2.90%
Detroit Pistons** 0.70% 2.50%
Los Angeles Clippers 0.60% 2.20%
Denver Nuggets 0.30% 1.20%

Complex explanation alert

* - The Los Angeles Lakers' pick goes to Boston Celtics if it lands between two and five. It goes to the Philadelphia 76ers in the unlikely event it hits at No. 1, but also if it lands sixth or below (probable). In that scenario, the Celtics would receive the more favorable of Philadelphia's 2019 first-round pick (No. 1 protected) and the Sacramento Kings' 2019 first-round pick (unprotected). If this year's Lakers pick is conveyed to Boston, the Sixers will get the Kings' unprotected pick next year. (Gulp if you're a long-suffering Kings fan).

** - The Detroit Pistons' pick goes to the Los Angeles Clippers if it falls outside the top four (via the Blake Griffin trade).

The top prospects

Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

More of a traditional center, but by many accounts, a potential generational one.

Luka Doncic, F, Real Madrid via Slovenia

One of the most hyped Euro prospects in years, having drawn comparisons to everyone from Drazen Petrovic to Toni Kukoc.

Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State

The son of former NBA guard Jaren Jackson projects as a do-it-all frontcourt player; he has a 7-foot-4 wingspan and shooting range beyond the arc.

Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke

Elite post player with a high motor.

Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

In a big-man-heavy lottery, Bamba is the top defender with possibly the highest ceiling.

Related: 2018 NBA Mock Draft

The representatives

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