Orlando Magic NBA Draft Lottery scenarios

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the crowd before the start of the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the crowd before the start of the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

What are the Orlando Magic hoping for this NBA Draft Lottery? A little bit of luck and a big fall from the Los Angeles Lakers would help.

Tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN, the Orlando Magic’s future gets a little bit more clarity.

No, Rob Hennigan will not be conducting a live job interview with Frank Vogel on air. The coaching search is ongoing and an important part to the Magic’s already-important offseason.

The first step personnel wise will come with the NBA Draft Lottery which takes place tonight in New York, airing on ESPN at 8 p.m. The teams that have failed to make the Playoffs will be sweating on the bounce of some ping pong balls to determine the top three picks.

There is some confusion over how the Lottery actually works and where exactly the Magic land. So a refresher of the basics seems in order.

The NBA Draft Lottery determines only the top three picks in the draft. Each team is assigned a certain number of four-number combinations with the team finishing with the worst record getting the most number combinations.

The numbers 1 through 14 are placed into a ping pong ball drum and drawn one at a time. This is done four times to create the four-number combination. The combination is then matched with the assigned team and that team wins the first pick. This is repeated to determine the second and third picks.

The remainder of the draft — picks 4 through 14 — are determined by inverse order of finish.

The Magic enter the draft with the 11th best odds at winning the lottery which does not give them a great chance of getting the top pick. Of the 1,001 combinations available, the Magic will have just eight combinations — a 0.8 percent chance to win the lottery. The Magic will have a 0.9 percent chance at the second pick and a 1.2 percent chance at the third pick.

Overall, the Magic have a minuscule two percent chance of landing in the top three. It is a long shot, but there is still a chance for the Magic to climb up.

But in all likelihood, the team will end up with the 11th pick. Orlando has a better than 90 percent chance to end up with the 11th pick. The only chance for the team to climb up from 11th is to get into the top three.

The only chance the team has to fall from 11th is if one of the teams that finished 12, 13 or 14 — the Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards (pick traded to the Phoenix Suns) and the Chicago Bulls — climbs into the top three. If that happens, the Magic will fall down a pick.

It will take a fair amount of good fortune for any of these scenarios to happen. The Magic, by the numbers, should find out they have the 11th pick relatively early into the ceremony. If they do jump into the top three, they will find out fairly quickly too.

There is one more note for this Draft Lottery. The Magic are also likely hoping the Los Angeles Lakers fall out of the top three and send their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers — the Sixers acquired the pick from the Suns, who got it in the Steve Nash trade.

The Lakers sent the Magic a future first round pick as part of the Dwight Howard trade. However, because of NBA rules, the Lakers must hold their own pick at least once every two years. So the pick they sent the Magic could not be conveyed until two years after they sent the pick to the Suns.

That pick is top-three protected. So if the Lakers land in the top three, they keep their pick. If they do not, they send it to the Sixers, via the Suns, and then the 2018 pick goes to the Magic, so long as it is not within the top five.

But, the Magic’s trade also had another condition. The pick would become two second round picks if it was not conveyed by 2019.

So the Magic need the Lakers’ pick to fall outside the top three to ensure they receive that pick in the future — it would be top-five protected in 2018 and no protection in 2019. If the Magic receive the pick in 2019, it will be completely unprotected.

If the Lakers get a top three pick — they have a 55.8 percent chance to land in the top three as the second worst team in the league — then the Magic would need the Lakers to convey their pick to the Sixers next year, when it will once again be top-three protected.

That should add some intrigue to tonight’s proceedings.

Got it all?

Next: Orlando Magic Player Evaluations

Essentially the Magic will most likely pick 11th — with a 90 percent chance to do so — and have a very slim chance to climb into the top three. They will also be watching the Lakers’ pick and hoping it falls outside the top three.