The 2013 NBA Draft lottery is tonight, and chances are, the Washington Wizards will land exactly where they started the night. The Wizards finished in a tie for the seventh-worst record in the league and lost a tiebreaker with the Detroit Pistons, so they'll enter the night with the eighth-most ping-pong combinations.
But there is still a chance that something better happens. Two years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers were armed with the Los Angeles Clippers' unprotected No. 1 pick thanks to taking on Baron Davis' gargantuan contract. The Clippers finished with the league's eighth-worst record that season. A month later, the Cavaliers had won Kyrie Irving from that Clippers pick.
Of course, given the Wizards' lottery luck outside of the two years they won the No. 1 pick, there's always a chance things end up worse than expected. Even last year, they finished lower than their draft position to select Bradley Beal. We don't need to go through all the other times things ended up even worse than that.
To get you ready for tonight, here are the numbers you should keep in mind:
- 35: That's the number of ping-pong combinations, out of 1,000, that the Wizards have. The machine has 14 balls numbered 1-14, which are drawn one-by-one. Once four are taken out, the combination is read to determine who gets the No. 1 pick. After that, the same process repeats itself for the No. 2 and No. 3 pick. (If a combination assigned to a team is drawn for the second time, it is tossed out and the drawing occurs again). Intrepid mathematical minds would note that gives Washington a 3.5 percent chance to win the No. 1 overall selection.
- 12.4: That's the percentage chance the Wizards end up with a top-three pick. Normally, the chances would be a bit slimmer, but because the Wizards tied with the Pistons for seventh, they essentially get the same odds. The Pistons have a slightly higher chance (12.7 percent) at moving up.
- 70.2: That's the percentage chance the Wizards stay at No. 8. Like I said, chances are the Wizards will stay right where they are.
- 17.4: This is the chance something bad happens and the Wizards move down in the draft order. This would require 1-3 of the following teams to move up: Minnesota, Portland, Philadelphia, Toronto, Dallas and/or Utah. There's less than a one percent chance that more than one of those teams gets into the top three, so realistically, the worst-case scenario for the Wizards is ninth.
- 2: That's the number of times, based on my research, that a team that had a current player as their representative won the lottery. The Blazers sent Brandon Roy in 2007 when they won the Greg Oden sweepstakes, and the Rockets sent Steve Francis when they won Yao Ming in 2002. (I couldn't figure out who the Kings sent in 1989 or the Hornets sent in 1991). The Wizards will be sending Bradley Beal, so hopefully they can buck the trend.
- 58: The number of times it took me playing ESPN's draft lottery simulator to get the above screenshot. Hopefully the Wizards have better luck tomorrow.
All this will be decided at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Good luck,