This was supposed to be, in simple terms, the Andrew Wiggins Sweepstakes. Before the college basketball season, before Kansas’ early-round exit in the NCAA Tournament, before Joel Embiid rocketed up draft boards, the general thinking was pretty clear.
Andrew Wiggins would go to Kansas for a year. He would declare for the NBA Draft. He would become the No. 1 pick.
On the day the NBA Draft lottery order will be unveiled, the top of the draft is a little murkier. Wiggins is still projected to be the No. 1 pick in many places — depending on where you look — but former Duke forward Jabari Parker and Embiid could challenge for the top spot before draft night on June 26.
Will Wiggins still go No. 1? We won’t know that answer for weeks, but starting tonight, we will know which teams will have the best chance to select Wiggins, Parker and Embiid.
Here’s a quick primer on tonight’s lottery proceedings:
1. Milwaukee Bucks, 25 percent
2. Philadelphia 76ers, 19.9 percent
3. Orlando Magic, 15.6 percent
4. Utah Jazz, 11.9 percent
5. Boston Celtics, 8.8 percent
6. Los Angeles Lakers, 6.3 percent
7. Sacramento Kings, 3.6 percent
8. Detroit Pistons, 3.5 percent
9. Cleveland Cavaliers, 1.7 percent
10. New Orleans, 1.1 percent
11. Denver Nuggets, 0.8 percent
12. New York Knicks, 0.7 percent
13. Minnesota Timberwolves, 0.6 percent
14. Phoenix Suns, 0.5 percent
Three places Wiggins could land:
1. Milwaukee: The Bucks need just about everything, but some momentum and excitement would be a nice start. Wiggins’ laid-back personality could be a solid fit for a small-market like Milwaukee.
2. Philadelphia: From a positional standpoint, it makes sense. Wiggins could slide in pretty well alongside rookie of the year point guard Michael Carter-Williams and young center Nerlens Noel.
3. Boston/Los Angeles: If either the Celtics or Lakers win the lottery, expect the NBA conspiracy theories to go nuclear on Twitter.
Three places Embiid could land:
1. Milwaukee: The Bucks drafted athletic small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round last year, so perhaps they would be more inclined to take a big man.
2. Orlando: The Magic took shooting guard Victor Oladipo in the first round last year, and their current roster is a wasteland. If Embiid goes to Orlando, he’d have to carry a heavy load right away, but he would get the opportunity to play under another Jayhawk in Magic coach Jacque Vaughn.
3. Boston: The Celtics may not climb to No. 1 in the draft lottery, but they could still land at No. 2 or No. 3, where they might have a chance to pick up Embiid. Boston drafted 7-footer Kelly Olynyk in the first round last year, but Embiid’s skillset could play well in second-year coach Brad Stevens’ system.