On Tuesday, 14 NBA franchises will wait with bated breath while the pingpong balls bounce around to determine the draft fate of each lottery team.
There's an immense amount of talent at the top of this year's draft class, and each lottery team shouldn't have trouble finding a prospect capable of becoming a solid NBA starter.
Of course, with higher picks comes higher talent—usually.
With the lottery just one day away, here are the odds for each team to acquire the coveted No. 1 overall selection:
|6||Los Angeles Lakers||6.3%|
|10||New Orleans Pelicans||1.1%|
|12||New York Knicks||0.7%|
Like every year, there will be plenty of surprises during the lottery process.
Back in 1997, the year Tim Duncan was the consensus No. 1 overall selection, the Boston Celtics had the best chance to secure the top pick.
It was brutal. But you were doing the things that were right for the organization, not going out and getting players that would get you further towards being stuck. You weren't going to take a chance on any of that when you had Tim Duncan in the upcoming draft. It's a tough battle when you're at the bottom looking up. The organization did not use those [1997 draft] resources right and it took a longer time to come back.
It will be interesting to find out what's in store for us this year.
Since we don't have Nostradamus around to predict the upcoming draft order, let's assume it stays the same and take a look at the potential selections for the first 14 overall picks:
|1||Milwaukee Bucks||Andrew Wiggins||SF||Kansas|
|2||Philadelphia 76ers||Jabari Parker||SF||Duke|
|3||Orlando Magic||Dante Exum||PG||Australia|
|4||Utah Jazz||Joel Embiid||C||Kansas|
|5||Boston Celtics||Julius Randle||PF||Kentucky|
|6||Los Angeles Lakers||Marcus Smart||PG||Oklahoma State|
|7||Sacramento Kings||Noah Vonleh||PF||Indiana|
|8||Detroit Pistons||Tyler Ennis||PG||Syracuse|
|9||Cleveland Cavaliers||Dario Saric||SF||Croatia|
|10||76ers (via New Orleans)||Aaron Gordon||PF||Arizona|
|11||Magic (via Denver)||Rodney Hood||SF||Duke|
|12||Nuggets (via New York)||Gary Harris||SG||Michigan State|
|13||Minnesota Timberwolves||Doug McDermott||SF||Creighton|
|14||Phoenix Suns||Zach LaVine||PG||UCLA|
Sean O'Donnell's Picks
Dante Exum could easily sneak into the top three of this year's draft. One of the draft's most intriguing prospects, Exum put on a great show at the combine in Chicago.
Alex Kennedy of NBA.com tweeted about Exum's prowess during the interview process:
Teams that have met with Dante Exum have raved about him. He's doing very well in these interviews. He has a lot of fans around the league.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 16, 2014
That's not the only area in which Exum flourished. According to ESPN Stats & Info, his speed is right up there with some of the NBA's best:
Dante Exum's 3/4 court sprint time of 3.19 is better than Chris Paul (3.22), Steph Curry (3.28), Damian Lillard (3.34)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 16, 2014
Noah Vonleh will be a certified lottery pick this year. He's an extremely promising prospect with a high ceiling. His massive hand size doesn't hurt, either. Just take a look at this comparative tweet from NBA Legion:
Sneaking into the lottery picks is former UCLA guard Zach LaVine. After his performance at the combine, he could even go higher.
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated tweeted that word was spreading quickly about LaVine's shooting ability:
Word in the lobby of the combine's hotel is that the player who improved his stock the most today was Zach LaVine. Shot it very well.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) May 15, 2014
That was followed up by some impressive workout numbers, as tweeted by ESPN Insider Chad Ford:
Zach LaVine with the best lane agility score of the day 10.42 seconds. Freak athlete. #NBACombine— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 16, 2014
Zach LaVine with a 41.5 inch max vert. No surprise but still a WOW.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 16, 2014
There's plenty of talent at the top of this year's draft class, but where these prospects land is completely up in the air at this point.
We'll have a much better idea upon the conclusion of Tuesday's draft lottery.