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How the NBA Lottery works (and where Wall will likely go)

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nba1.jpgIf all goes according to plan, former UK freshman guard John Wall will have a very good idea of where he will be playing professional ball at next season.

Before Tuesday night's Boston-Orlando NBA Playoffs game, the NBA will hold its annual lottery to set the top 14 picks in the 2010 NBA Draft. After Tuesday night's lottery, which is slated to begin at 8 p.m., we will know who picks one, two, three, etc.

All indications are whoever ends up with that No. 1 pick is going to select Wall on June 24 in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

But how does the NBA lottery work and why will prospective lottery players be sitting anxiously by a television Tuesday night? The NBA has a full breakdown below of how the lottery works that should explain the entire process.

Warning: it is slightly confusing.

The 2010 NBA Draft Lottery, where ping-pong balls supplant basketballs as the tools of determining supremacy, will be held on Tuesday, May 18, at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The 26th annual edition of the NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a drum.  There are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection.  Prior to the Lottery, 1,000 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating Lottery teams by a computer.

The New Jersey Nets finished the season with the NBA's worst record (12-70), so they will be assigned 250 combinations. The Houston Rockets, the best team in the lottery at 42-40, will have five combinations out of 1,000. 

Four balls will be drawn to the top to determine a four-digit combination. The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the number one pick. The four balls are placed back in the drum and the process is repeated to determine the number two and three picks. (Note: If the one unassigned combination is drawn, the balls are drawn to the top again.)

The order of selection for the teams that do not win one of the top three picks will be determined by inverse order of their regular season record. Thus, New Jersey can pick no lower than fourth, Minnesota (15-67) no lower than fifth and Sacramento (25-57) no lower than sixth.

The actual Lottery procedure will take place in a separate room prior to the national broadcast on ESPN with NBA officials and representatives of the participating teams and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young in attendance.

Following the drawing, team logo cards will be inserted into envelopes marked 1 through 14 by an Ernst & Young representative. These envelopes then will be sealed and brought on-stage, where the announcement of the Lottery results will be made by NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. A second representative from each participating team will be seated on-stage. Neither the Deputy Commissioner nor the team representatives will be informed of the Lottery results prior to the opening of the envelopes.

The team whose logo is in the last envelope opened will pick first in NBA Draft 2010, to be held on Thursday, June 24, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Following are the chances out of 1,000 for teams in 2010 NBA Draft Lottery:

(Out of 1,000)

Following are the 14 teams in 2010 NBA Draft Lottery who did not qualify for the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Each team will be assigned a certain number of combinations out of 1,000. The third column below lists the number of combinations each team will have in the NBA Draft Lottery. The three columns on the right list the percent chances that teams have at getting one of the top three picks.
2010 NBA Draft Lottery Probabilities

Team Record Chances 1st Pick 2nd Pick 3rd Pick
New Jersey 12-70 250 25.00% 21.49% 17.73%
Minnesota 15-67 199 19.90% 18.79% 17.08%
Sacramento 25-57 156 15.60% 15.72% 15.55%
Golden State 26-56 104 10.40% 11.20% 12.08%
Washington 26-56 103 10.30% 11.10% 12.00%
Philadelphia 27-55 53 5.30% 6.03% 6.97%
Detroit 27-55 53 5.30% 6.03% 6.97%
L.A. Clippers 29-53 23 2.30% 2.69% 3.22%
Utah (from New York) 29-53 22 2.20% 2.57% 3.08%
Indiana 32-50 11 1.10% 1.30% 1.57%
New Orleans 37-45 8 0.80% 0.95% 1.15%
Memphis 40-42 7 0.70% 0.83% 1.01%
Toronto 40-42 6 0.60% 0.71% 0.87%
Houston 42-40 5 0.50% 0.59% 0.72% 

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