4 Storylines to Watch in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery

Lonzo Ball is one of the top prizes in Tuesday night’s draft lottery while the Celtics, 76ers, Kings, and Lakers are among the teams with a lot at stake tonight.

Lonzo or Markelle? Markelle or Lonzo?

There are several potential future All-Stars who'll be up for grabs when the NBA Draft kicks off on June 22, but the feeding frenzy for All-World point guards Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz begins Tuesday night, with the NBA Draft Lottery.

Bell and Fultz -- two players who have a legit shot at changing a franchise -- will be the talk of the room, but there are plenty of other intriguing questions that can best be answered by numbers.

1. Will the Celtics Hold on to Win the First Pick?

Thanks to the Brooklyn Nets' infamous Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce acquisition in the summer of 2013, the Boston Celtics have the highest odds (25.0%) to land the first overall selection in next month's draft. Even if they miss out on the top slot, they'll be okay, as they have a 64.3% chance of ending up in the top three. But how do their odds (via Tankathon) stack up against other teams vying for top picks?

Pick 1st 2nd 3rd Top-3
Celtics 25.0% 21.5% 17.8% 64.3%
Suns 19.9% 18.8% 17.1% 55.8%
Lakers 15.6% 15.7% 15.6% 46.9%
76ers 11.9% 12.6% 13.3% 37.8%

The Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers have the best shots at stealing it from the Celtics, but as the numbers make clear, their chances still aren't so hot. As for the Philadelphia 76ers, they're the last team in the lottery with double-digit odds on their side.

2. Will the Lakers Lose Their Pick?

The Los Angeles Lakers are by far the most nervous team at the lottery, because if their pick falls outside the top three, it's conveyed to the Sixers. The chances of this occurring are 53.1%, so the odds are stacked against them, albeit slightly.

At 26.5%, the Lakers' most probable lottery outcome is the fifth overall pick, which would send the pick to Philly and leave the Lakers sans a first-round selection. Welcome to town, Magic Johnson

3. Will the Sixers Leave the Lottery With Two Top-5 Picks?

If the Lakers come out on the wrong side of the top three picks, the Sixers will reap the benefits in the form of a top-six selection. That leaves Philadelphia in a situation where they could potentially have two picks in the top five slots.

The following table contains the joint probability of each pick combination.

Picks 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
4th (via LAL) 2.69% 2.85% 3.01% N/A 7.91%
3.64% 0.29%
5th (via LAL) 3.15% 3.34% 3.52% 2.62% N/A 4.27% 0.34%
6th (via LAL) 0.48% 0.50% 0.53% 0.40% 1.40% N/A 0.05%

The Lakers getting the fifth pick (and therefore ceding it to the Sixers) is the most probable scenario (7.91%), but Philadelphia's advantageous situation doesn't end there.

According to RealGM, the Sixers have the right to swap first-round picks with the Sacramento Kings, so long as Sacramento's protected pick doesn't land between 11 and 30.

1st (via SAC)0.35%0.37%0.28%0.98%0.45%0.04%
2nd (via SAC)N/A0.44%0.33%1.16%0.53%0.04%
3rd (via SAC)N/AN/A0.39%1.37%0.63%0.05%

It's unlikely that Philadelphia could parlay their option into a top pick, considering the Kings have just a 10% chance at winding up in the top three, but "The Process" is in full effect.

4. Will the Kings Land More Than One First-Round Selection?

The Sacramento Kings have an interesting lottery ahead of them, but that's no surprise. When it comes to the Kings, it seems like everything is interesting.

The chance that the Kings get the New Orleans Pelicans' first-round pick (via the DeMarcus Cousins trade this season) is almost a done deal, with an overall likelihood of 96.1%. This happens so long as New Orleans' selection isn't in the top three, and given that the Pelicans have a 3.9% probability of breathing that rarefied air, it's almost assured the Kings will finish the night with two top-10 picks in their pockets.

As a result, the two picks' joint probability of 63.1% means the Kings' chances at the 8th and 10th overall picks in the draft are fairly high. Maybe -- just maybe -- things are finally starting to look up for the Sacramento faithful. Then again, Vlade Divac is still their GM, so anything's possible.