Welcome to the 2017 NBA Lottery (6:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN), one of the most important yet comical events on the league calendar.

Each year, the NBA’s 14 non-playoff teams sit in a mid-town New York ballroom and let ping-pong balls with 1,001 possible combinations determine the fate of their multi-million and billion dollar franchises, as they’ve done since the lottery’s inception in 1984.

If you’re new to the lottery, here’s how it works:

14 ping-pong balls, numbered 1-14 are placed in an oval-shaped glass container. Prior to the lottery, 1,000 combinations are randomly assigned to the 14 lottery teams, with the team with the best chance of the No. 1 pick receiving 250 of those combinations.

Then, the first four ping-pong balls are drawn determining the first four-digit combination. That team is awarded the No. 1 pick. The process is then repeated for the second and third picks. After the top three selections are set, the remaining teams are slotted in order from 4-14.

The Participants (number of combinations available for No. 1 pick | percentage chance at No. 1 pick)

1. Wyc Grousbeck – Boston Celtics (250 | 25%)

2. Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns (199| 19.9%)

3. Magic Johnson – Los Angeles Lakers (156 | 15.6%)

4. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers (119 | 11.9%)

5. Frank Vogel – Orlando Magic (88 | 8.8%)

6. Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves (53 | 5.3%)

7. Walt Frazier – New York Knicks (53 | 5.3%)

8. Dave Joerger – Sacramento Kings (28 | 2.8%)

9. Michael Finley – Dallas Mavericks (17 | 1.7%)

10. Alvin Gentry – New Orleans Pelicans (11 | 1.1%)

11. Rich Cho – Charlotte Hornets (8 | 0.8%)

12. Jeff Bower – Detroit Pistons (7 | 0.7%)

13. Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets (6 | 0.6%)

14. Alonzo Mourning – Miami Heat (5 | 0.5%)

Other factoids to know

  • The No. 13 pre-lottery selection has never moved up to No. 1.
  • The No. 13 pre-lottery selection has moved into the top-3 once — Charlotte moved to No. 3 in 1999.
  • The No. 13 pre-lottery selection has moved down to the No. 14 slot once — Utah moved down in 2004.
  • Recent No. 13 draft picks include Georgios Papagiannis (Sacramento ’16), Booker (Phoenix ’15), Zach LaVine (Minnesota ’14), Kelly Olynyk (Dallas ’13), Kendall Marshall (Phoenix ’12), Markieff Morris (Phoenix ’11), and Ed Davis (Toronto ’10).
  • The last prominent lottery jump came in 2014 when the Cleveland Cavaliers moved up from No. 9 (1.7% chance at the top pick) to No. 1 and selected Wiggins.

The lottery has not been kind to Denver over the past 32 years. The Nuggets have never moved up but have moved down on eight different occasions.

Denver stayed at their pre-lottery position in each of the past three years, where they chose Doug McDermott at No. 11 overall in 2014, (who was later dealt to Chicago for Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris), Emmanuel Mudiay at No. 7 overall in 2015 and Jamal Murray again at No. 7 in 2016.

The 2017 NBA Draft will take place on June 22, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Harrison Wind

Harrison is a Boulder, Colorado native who graduated from CU-Boulder in 2013. He is currently residing in downtown Denver and is the lead Nuggets writer for BSN Denver. Harrison is in his second year covering the Nuggets as a credentialed reporter. You can follow him on Twitter @NBAWind.