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What Will Happen Tonight?

The 2011 NBA Draft Lottery, where ping-pong balls supplant basketballs as the tools of determining supremacy, will be held on Tuesday, May 17, at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The 27th annual edition of the NBA Draft Lottery will determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the 2011 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 Minnesota Timberwolves finished the season with the NBA's worst record (17-65), so they will be assigned 250 combinations. The Houston Rockets, the best team in the lottery at 43-39, 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, Minnesota can pick no lower than fourth, Cleveland (19-63) no lower than fifth and Toronto (22-60) 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 2011, to be held on Thursday, June 23, at The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Following are the chances out of 1,000 for teams in 2011 NBA Draft Lottery:

2011 NBA DRAFT LOTTERY CHANCES

(Out of 1,000)

Following are the 14 teams in 2011 NBA Draft Lottery who did not qualify for the 2011 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.

2011 NBA Draft Lottery Probabilities

Team Record Chances 1st Pick
2nd Pick
3rd Pick
Minnesota 17-65 250 25% 21.50% 17.76%
Cleveland 19-63 199 19.90% 18.80% 17.11%
Toronto 22-60 156 15.60% 15.73% 15.57%
Washington 23-59 119 11.90% 12.59% 13.29%
Sacramento 24-58 76 7.60% 8.44% 9.49%
Utah (from New Jersey) 24-58 75 7.50% 8.34% 9.39%
Detroit 30-52 43 4.30% 4.94% 5.78%
Cleveland (from L.A. Clippers) 32-50 28 2.80% 3.26% 3.88%
Charlotte 34-48 17 1.70% 2.00% 2.41%
Milwaukee 35-47 11 1.10% 1.30% 1.58%
Golden State 36-46 8 0.80% 0.95% 1.15%
Utah 39-43 7 0.70% 0.83% 1.01%
Phoenix 40-42 6 0.60% 0.71% 0.87%
Houston 43-39 5 0.50% 0.59% 0.72%