The top half of the 2018 NBA draft features a host of talent at all positions. Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton figures to be the leader in the clubhouse for the first overall pick, but Real Madrid combo guard Luka Doncic is lighting up Europe, scoring 16.9 points in just 25.7 minutes per game in the EuroLeague.
Then there are a litany of prospects who shined this past college basketball season, including Duke forward Marvin Bagley III and two-time national champion guard Mikal Bridges of Villanova.
The draft class looks fantastic this year, which makes the 2018 lottery so interesting. That will take place on Tuesday, May 15, but until then, here's a look at the latest NBA draft lottery odds and first-round draft order, via Tankathon.
You can also find notes on the draft process and a quick look at some important scenarios to close the regular season.
NBA Draft Lottery Odds for Top Three and No. 1 Picks
1. Phoenix Suns (21-61): Top-three pick (64.2 percent), No. 1 pick (25.0 percent)
2. Memphis Grizzlies (22-59): Top-three pick (55.8 percent), No. 1 pick (19.9 percent)
3. Dallas Mavericks or Atlanta Hawks (24-58): Top-three pick (46.9 percent), No. 1 pick (15.6 percent)
4. Dallas Mavericks or Atlanta Hawks (24-58): Top-three pick (37.8 percent), No. 1 pick (11.9 percent)
5. Orlando Magic (24-57): Top-three pick (29.1 percent), No. 1 pick (8.8 percent)
6. Sacramento Kings (26-55): Top-three pick (21.5 percent), No. 1 pick (6.3 percent)
7. Chicago Bulls (27-54): Top-three pick (15.0 percent), No. 1 pick (4.3 percent)
8. New York Knicks (28-53) or Cleveland Cavaliers (originally via Brooklyn Nets, who are 28-53): Top-three pick (9.0 percent), No. 1 pick (2.8 percent)
9. New York Knicks (28-53) or Cleveland Cavaliers (originally via Brooklyn Nets, who are 28-53): Top-three pick (6.1 percent), No. 1 pick (1.7 percent)
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers, who are 34-47): Top-three pick (4.0 percent), No. 1 pick (1.1 percent)
11. Charlotte Hornets (36-46): Top-three pick (2.9 percent), No. 1 pick (0.8 percent)
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit Pistons, who are 38-43): Top-three pick (2.5 percent), No. 1 pick (0.7 percent)
13. Los Angeles Clippers (42-39): Top-three pick (2.2 percent), No. 1 pick (0.6 percent)
14. Denver Nuggets (46-35): Top-three pick (1.8 percent), No. 1 pick (0.5 percent)
Remaining First-Round NBA Draft Order Through Games Played on Tuesday, April 10
15. Phoenix Suns (originally via Miami Heat, who are 43-38) or Washington Wizards (43-38)
16. Phoenix Suns (originally via Miami Heat, who are 43-38) or Washington Wizards (43-38)
17. Milwaukee Bucks (44-37)
18. Atlanta Hawks (originally via Minnesota Timberwolves, who are 46-35)
19. Minnesota Timberwolves (originally via Oklahoma City Thunder, who are 47-34), San Antonio Spurs (47-34) or Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans Pelicans, who are 47-34)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (originally via Oklahoma City Thunder, who are 47-34), San Antonio Spurs (47-34) or Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans Pelicans, who are 47-34)
21. Minnesota Timberwolves (originally via Oklahoma City Thunder, who are 47-34), San Antonio Spurs (47-34) or Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans Pelicans, who are 47-34)
22. Indiana Pacers (48-34)
23. Portland Trail Blazers (48-33) or Utah Jazz (48-33)
24. Portland Trail Blazers (48-33) or Utah Jazz (48-33)
25. Los Angeles Lakers (originally via Cleveland Cavaliers, who are 50-31)
26. Philadelphia 76ers (51-30)
27. Boston Celtics (54-27)
28. Golden State Warriors (58-24)
29. Brooklyn Nets (originally via Toronto Raptors, who are 59-22)
30. Atlanta Hawks (originally via Houston Rockets, who are 65-16)
NBA Draft Process: Lottery
The top 14 of the NBA draft order is determined via lottery. You can peruse the long story of how it works via NBA.com, but in summary, teams are assigned a series of four-digit numbers ranging from 1-14 (e.g. 3-6-7-8). A total of 1,000 combinations are used (11-12-13-14 is the lone omitted exception in that 1-14 set).
Those numbers are imprinted on ping-pong balls and drawn through a machine. The first four-figure number combination indicates the team with the first pick, and then the same process is followed for picks No. 2 and No. 3. Afterward, draft positions four through 14 are determined via win-loss record, with the worst remaining team taking No. 4.
For example, if the New York Knicks have the combination 3-6-7-8, and those numbers are drawn in the first round, they receive the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Teams with worst records receive more combinations. By virtue of finishing with the league's worst record, the Phoenix Suns will get 25 percent of those combinations (or 250 total). Although the Suns are not guaranteed the top pick, the lowest they can possibly draft is No. 4.
NBA Draft Process: No. 15-No. 30
The 16 playoff teams (or the teams they dealt their picks to) are organized via win-loss record for selections No. 15 through No. 30. Playoff finish has no bearing on where a team picks in the draft. For example, if the Golden State Warriors, who finished with the league's third-best record, lose in the first round, then they will still pick 28th.
NBA Tiebreaker Process
If two teams are tied in the league standings, their draft position (or percentage of four-digit combinations if the franchises are lottery bound) is also decided via the lottery. That process is a bit simpler, as a handful of ping-pong balls with teams logos imprinted on them are placed into a machine and then drawn.
Last year's tiebreaking lotteries were televised live, and you can view them here via NBA.com to get an idea of how it works.
Many teams have traded (or acquired) 2018 draft picks, but some of the selections are protected. For example, the Los Angeles Clippers acquired the Detroit Pistons' first-round pick in a trade that sent power forward Blake Griffin to the Motor City.
However, if that selection falls in the top three, Detroit keeps the pick (note that due to aforementioned lottery rules that it is impossible for the Pistons, who are currently slotted 12th, to have the fourth position this year).
If the Pistons do keep the selection this year, they'll have to give it up eventually: The pick is top-four protected only through 2020 and then unprotected in 2021, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Lottery Watch: Wednesday, April 11
If the Orlando Magic pull off the upset against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, they'll solidify the fifth slot heading into the lottery. However, if Orlando loses, it falls into a three-way tiebreaker with Dallas and Atlanta for third. The Magic are 7.5-point underdogs, per OddsShark.
The Chicago Bulls could fall into a tie with the Sacramento Kings for No. 6 with a loss to the Detroit Pistons and a Kings win over the Houston Rockets. Crazier things have happened, but Sacramento is a 12.5-point underdog, per OddsShark.
The New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers (by virtue of the Brooklyn Nets and then the Boston Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade) may be headed for a tie for the eighth spot.
New York and Brooklyn are both underdogs (the Cavs are favored by 14.5 points over New York, while the Boston Celtics have a four-point edge on the Nets, per OddsShark). The Knicks and Nets are tied in the standings at 28-53, with the eighth-worst mark in the league.