The 2016 NBA Draft Lottery is on Tuesday night in New York (8 p.m., ESPN), and there's no shortage of key storylines heading into it. Several key trades from the past loom over the lottery, and the winner will have a tough choice between the two clear-cut best prospects in the upcoming draft.
Those two prospects are LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram. For a long time, Simmons, an Australian phenom, was viewed as the easy No. 1 selection thanks to his multifaceted game at 6'10. But as the college season wore on and LSU struggled before ultimately failing to make the NCAA Tournament, his flaws came under the microscope. He doesn't have an outside shot, and there have been questions about his motor and mentality when it comes to taking over games.
Meanwhile, Ingram has gained more supporters over the course of the year. He's a long, smooth player with a more refined jumper at 6'9, which is becoming more and more important in today's NBA. SB Nation's Paul Flannery was at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week and reported that there was little to no consensus on the top pick. Whichever team wins it will have some debating to do.
Besides this debate of who goes No. 1, what are the other top storylines to watch out for?
Will the Lakers keep their pick?
Los Angeles Lakers fans just suffered through the worst season in franchise history and plenty of mind-numbing Byron Scott quotes, but the silver lining is that all the losses puts the team in position to not only keep its pick, but also have a good shot at the top overall selection.
Los Angeles has the second-best odds to win the lottery at 19.9 percent, and a 55.8 percent chance of landing in the top three. The Lakers must finish in the top three to keep their pick thanks to the Steve Nash trade from 2012 with the Phoenix Suns. The pick has since traded hands, and it now belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers due to the three-team deal that saw Michael Carter-Williams go to the Milwaukee Bucks and Brandon Knight head to Phoenix.
If Los Angeles keeps the pick, it can either draft another young stud to add to its promising young core, or general manager Mitch Kupchak can look to use it in a trade package for a star player. On the flip side, falling outside the top three and losing the pick would be an epic disaster.
The 76ers hope to strike gold
Philadelphia finished with its worst record yet of the last three "tanking" years by winning only 10 games, and now new team president Bryan Colangelo hopes to be the recipient of the lottery luck that never graced Sam Hinkie. The Sixers' own pick has a 25 percent chance of being No. 1, and if they win it'd be the second straight season and fifth time overall the team with the worst record got the top pick.
If the ping-pong balls bounce the Sixers' way, the best-case scenario involves them winning the lottery while also securing the No. 4 pick by virtue of the Lakers' pick falling outside the top three.
Even if Philadelphia doesn't win the lottery with its own pick, it can still win it in another way. The Nik Stauskas trade with the Sacramento Kings last season gives the Sixers the right to swap picks this year, so if the Kings overcome the odds and win the lottery with their 1.9 percent chance, that top pick goes to Philadelphia.
The Boston Celtics finished fifth in the Eastern Conference and are on the rise, but they have a 15.6 percent chance of getting the top pick because of the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade with the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. The Celtics could add a blue-chip talent to their exciting young squad, but you can also bet on president Danny Ainge working the phones to try to use the pick to add a proven star.
The Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors are both beneficiaries this year of previous deals with the New York Knicks. The Nuggets have the right to swap picks with the Knicks this year thanks to the Carmelo Anthony trade, while the Raptors get the worse of those two selections because of the ill-fated Andrea Bargnani deal from three years ago.
The Washington Wizards tried to bolster their roster for a run at the playoffs by acquiring Markieff Morris at the trade deadline, and the Wizards gave the Suns a top-nine protected pick to do so. The Wizards missed the playoffs, and now they have just a 2.2 percent chance of moving into the top three and keeping the pick.
The Kings have a minuscule chance of losing their pick to the Chicago Bulls by falling outside the top 10. Of course, for this to happen, three teams would have to jump Sacramento, so we can basically rule that out.
Here are the full lottery odds (via NBA.com):