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2017 NBA Lottery Preview: Who’s Feeling Lucky?

The Wolves have never improved their draft position in the NBA lottery. Does their luck change tonight?

NBA: NBA Draft Lottery Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Who: The fourteen NBA teams who missed the NBA playoffs.

Where: New York, NY

When: 7:30pm CT (ESPN)

Why: It’s the middle of May in the NBA, and that can only mean two things:

  1. The conference finals are underway for some of the league’s most successful teams, and
  2. #MockSZN is underway for the league’s not-so-successful teams.

With basketball season slowly winding down, fans of teams no longer in contention are beginning to flock to their favorite internet browser in search of Draft Express scouting videos, rumors from anonymous sources, and above all else: hope. But before the mock draft grill can truly get cooking, we need to know the official draft order for June’s 2017 NBA Draft.

2017 NBA Draft Lottery Odds

Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets): 25% chance to win, 64.2% chance at top-three.

Phoenix Suns: 19.9% chance to win, 55.8% chance at top-three.

Los Angeles Lakers: 15.6% chance to win, 46.9% chance at top-three.

Philadelphia 76ers: 10.4% chance to win, 33.7% chance at top-three.

Orlando Magic: 10.3% chance to win, 33.4% chance at top-three.

Minnesota Timberwolves: 5.3% chance to win, 18.2% chance at top-three.

New York Knicks: 5.3% chance to win, 18.2% chance at top-three.

Sacramento Kings: 2.3% chance to win, 8.2% chance at top-three.

Dallas Mavericks: 2.2% chance to win, 7.9% chance at top-three.

New Orleans Pelicans: 1.1% chance to win, 4.0% chance at top-three.

Charlotte Hornets: 0.8% chance to win, 2.9% chance at top-three.

Detroit Pistons: 0.7% chance to win, 2.5% chance at top-three.

Denver Nuggets: 0.6% chance to win, 2.2% chance at top-three.

Miami Heat: 0.5% chance to win, 1.8% chance at top-three.

Things to Remember

Mock Drafts

It’s 2017, which means everyone and their crazy uncle have posted a mock draft online by now, but if you’re looking for more thorough mocks (in addition to player analysis), Draft Express, CBS Sports, and SB Nation are great places to start.

Additionally, if you haven't already wasted hours of your life playing ESPN’s Mock Lottery simulator, then now’s your last chance before the real ping pong balls start bouncing tonight.

Feeling lucky?

Because of their identical records of 31-51, the Wolves and Knicks were forced into a much-anticipated, greatly-hyped “coin flip” back in April to determine the 6th and 7th slot in the NBA lottery order (spoiler alert: the Wolves won). My guy Dane Moore went full Rain Man breaking down what winning the tiebreaker means for the Wolves.

Already batting 1000 with this years ping pong balls, the Wolves come into the night on a Warriors-esque hot streak. While the lottery has not always been kind to the Wolves (they have technically never improved their draft positioning in the lottery), recent history has shown just how crucial the box full of dancing numbers has been to the Wolves future. Our friends at Timberwolves PR compiled a list of lottery selections for the Wolves dating back to 1990:

Remember, back in 2014, with just a 1.7% chance of winning, the Cleveland Cavaliers defied the odds yet again and won their third lottery in four years, selecting future Wolf Andrew Wiggins. The following year, as the worst record in the league, the Wolves used their 25% chance to finally win the lottery, eventually selecting the 7’0” basketball unicorn and Kit-Kat loving center from Edison, New Jersey. In the famous words of Lloyd Christmas, “so you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

Time to Represent

Speaking of Mr. Wiggins, he will be representing the Wolves tonight onstage as the draft order is announced. Knowing Wiggs, he will probably be rocking a sharp and fantastic suit that no normal person could pull off. As for his good luck charm? It’s still unclear exactly what Wiggins will bring to New York, but sources close to Canis Hoopus can confirm that whatever he is bringing is currently being hidden in the small, hairy safe above his head:

Other notable team representatives for this years draft include Magic Johnson, Joel Embiid, Alonzo Mourning, and Walt Frazier. The rest of the representatives are listed below:


If the Wolves continue their bad streak of never improving their draft position via the lottery, then all I want from the night is to be entertained, so hear me out: The Kings jump into the top 3 (along with the Celtics and Suns), resulting in this order:

1. Kings
2. Suns
3. Celtics
4. Lakers
5. 76ers
6. Magic
7. Wolves

What does it all mean? The Kings rejoice for a split second before suddenly realizing they have to swap picks with the 76ers. The Celtics, the odds-on favorite of drafting one of the two premier prospects (Fultz and Ball), unexpectedly find themselves sitting on the outside looking in. The Lakers fall to four, meaning they have to send their first-round pick to Philly as well.

#TrustTheProcess becomes the #1 trending topic on Twitter within minutes, Sam Hinkie (noted Canis follower!) tweets out the eyes emoji, Joel Embiid Periscopes himself pouring Shirley Temples on all his teammates, Vlade Divac takes a much-needed smoke break, countless Crying Jordan memes are made of Celtics and Lakers fans and players (oh and don’t forget Magic Johnson), and everyone’s Twitter timeline is an absolute delight for 30 or so minutes. Overall, it’s a win-win for (almost) all involved.