The NBA draft lottery as we know it today has only existed since 1990. Instead of giving the team with the worst record the first overall pick and working backwards from there (like the NFL), the NBA instituted a system designed to combat what's commonly referred to as tanking.
Ping pong balls are awarded proportionally to teams based on their record (the worst record receives the most ping pong balls and a 25 percent chance at the first overall pick), and probabilities of obtaining the No. 1 overall pick decrease the better a team's record is.
For non-playoff teams, the draft lottery represents a symbol of hope. A fresh start awaits teams who find themselves stuck in a cycle of perpetual mediocrity, while highly coveted prospects can help make some of the league's lowliest teams into playoff contenders in a year's time.
For the purposes of this slideshow, only players drafted after 1990 were considered. Therefore, a clear bust like Sam Bowie was omitted.
Note: Only players selected in the modern draft lottery were considered for the purposes of this slideshow. All statistics and transaction notes courtesy of Basketball-Reference, unless noted otherwise.