NBA draft lottery preview

What would these 14 teams do if they got a top-3 pick?

Updated: May 20, 2013, 6:40 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Victor OladipoAP Photo/Doug McSchoolerCould Victor Oladipo go No. 1 in the draft? Some team might take a chance this year.

NEW YORK -- The 2013 NBA draft lottery is Tuesday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). It is one of the few moments in life when being a loser all season can really pay off.

Fourteen teams vie for the No. 1 pick in the draft based off of the NBA's convoluted lottery process.

The lottery was originally developed to help the NBA's worst teams rebuild by giving them a chance at having the highest pick in the draft. More often than not, the results haven't come out as planned.

Since the lottery moved to its present format in 1994, the team with (or tied for) the best odds has won just three of the 19 lotteries -- the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996 (who selected Allen Iverson); the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 (LeBron James); and the Orlando Magic in 2004 (Dwight Howard).

Since 1994, the team with the second-best probability of winning the lottery has fared even worse, winning the lottery just two times -- the San Antonio Spurs in 1997 and the Los Angeles Clippers in 1998.

No. 1 picks like Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, James and Derrick Rose have gone on to change the entire complexion of teams. Unfortunately this year, those types of elite players aren't available.

In fact, many teams feel like no one is really worthy of the No. 1 pick. But someone has to be first, and many NBA GMs still think Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, Kansas' Ben McLemore and Michigan's Trey Burke are the odds-on favorites to go No. 1. As I wrote on Monday, Indiana's Victor Oladipo also has a shot of winning the No. 1 pick.

Be sure to check out our Draft Lottery Machine to see any number of the more than 2,000 scenarios.

Here's a brief look at what each team would do if it got one of the top three picks.


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Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider