The 2011 NBA Draft order will be set in the NBA Draft Lottery at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Twelve teams will vie for a chance to win one of the top three picks in the June draft, with the Minnesota Timberwolves taking the best odds (25 percent) into the drawing.
Here's how it works: a hopper is filled with 14 balls, each numbered 1-14. The hopper will produce a four-ball combination; the 1,001 possible combinations are split among 14 teams, with teams finishing with a worse regular season record earning more combinations. (The final combination -- 11-12-13-14 -- is discarded if drawn, as it will be assigned to no team.) Whichever team owns the drawn combination wins the No. 1 pick. Handshakes are exchanged. The balls are replaced in the hopper, and four more are drawn. The keeper of this combination wins the No. 2 pick. (The team that won the No. 1 pick cannot win No. 2 or No. 3, unless the combinations are from two separate sets based on a trade.) The same happens for the No. 3 pick. At the point, all remaining teams are slotted by reverse regular season record; as such, the Wolves can pick no lower than No. 4.
The bottom 14 teams earn a trip to the lottery, but this season two of those teams -- the New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Clippers -- have traded their first-round picks (to the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively).
Coverage of the NBA Draft Lottery begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN; the actual reveal should happen around 8:42. Teams with the best chance of drawing the No. 1 pick are the Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavalier, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards.
Be sure to check back immediately after the broadcast for the full draft order.