The 2012 NBA Draft Lottery, taking place on Wednesday May 30th, is the start of the future for the 14 NBA teams who failed to make the playoffs this season.
They will find out what order they will draft in and sportswriters will be able to finally put together more accurate and considered mock drafts.
And with the lottery, some players may find themselves drafted above or below their projected pick, greatly changing how their early career is going to turn out.
The draft can make the difference between a prospect landing with a team who's fortunes are turning around, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, or a team who will be in the lottery for a few more years despite the added talent.
Andre Drummond may be the great unknown going into draft night. He has the size and the build to become one of the next great NBA big men, he has huge upside and he is the "sexy" risky pick.
Why is he risky? Drummond never truly dominated at college level. He had big games, but they came in isolation rather than as part of a consistent stretch of terrific performance.
This has to make a team like the Sacramento Kings, who could land him with the fifth pick, think twice about taking him over some of the other picks left on the board.
Prospects that come with big red flags such as Drummond often get passed on by teams who were expected to select them. When that happens, teams immediately below them in the lottery are prone to doing the same out of fear of picking someone with a massive unknown problem.
Of course, most prospects have red flags, nobody knows how most of them will handle the transition to the big time.
Austin Rivers can't fall much farther than the Phoenix Suns in the draft, that team needs scoring and someone to sell tickets should Steve Nash leave.
However, he is one of this year's prospects with the biggest question marks hanging over his ability to translate is game from college to NBA.
He was a volume scorer in college. He would shoot whenever he felt he had a look and even when he probably didn't. That's his problem. Teams may choose to believe that he cannot be as effective if he has to reign in the shooting that let him get his points.
In the NBA, Rivers might struggle to score as well as he did in college. Open looks are harder to come by and he won't be able to run the offense and shoot at will as part of a structured offense.
The Suns might pass on him, which in turn could start a little slide as other teams might also be unsold on his worth. The Houston Rockets drafting next up will likely take a big man to cover the possible departure of Luis Scola or Samuel Dalembert in the offseason.
Bradley Beal could end up with Cleveland as the third pick to complement last year's top pick and new Rookie of the Year point guard Kyrie Irving.
Of course, the Cavs could also take the risk and reach a little for Andre Drummond.
This would send Beal sliding through the ranks as players like Thomas Robinson and Perry Jones III might be in more demand than a 6' 3" (in shoes) shooting guard with defensive question marks.
Perhaps the only safe picks are the top two.
Anthony Davis is the consensus No. 1 pick. Nobody can put together a convincing argument for taking anyone else in the draft first no matter who makes that pick. He has scoring, rebounding, defense, he can block shots, run the floor, control the ball and create looks for himself and his teammates.
He's the real deal.
Behind him comes Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a hard-working talented guard that would be the perfect complement to someone like John Wall in Washington or Irving in Cleveland should the Cavs move up a little.
His work ethic and great attitude would be most effective in Washington, a team desperately in need of good teammates to surround Wall before he becomes a wasted talent.
All these questions, and more, will be answered on Wednesday night. Even more might be thrust into the spotlight.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!