Will Wolves move up in lottery? What are the odds?

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 20, 2014 - 11:51 AM

What: The NBA’s annual game of chance that determines selection order for the top three picks in the June 26 draft.

When: Tuesday, ESPN’s coverage begins at 7 p.m.

Where: Disney/ABC Times Square Studios, New York.

The Wolves’ chances

Currently slotted at the 13th overall pick because of their 40-42 regular-season record, the Wolves own six chances out of 1,000 — yep, 0.6 percent — of winning the No. 1 overall and a 2.18 percent chance of winning one of the lottery’s top three spots. In their 26-year history, they’ve never gotten lucky and beaten the lottery’s odds.

They also have a 1.8 percent chance of losing their first-round pick because of a previous trade arrangement with Phoenix. If the Suns defy the long odds and leap from the 14th spot into the top three, the Wolves will drop from the 13th spot to 14th and owe the Suns their pick. The two teams agreed in 2012 on a trade that sends a top-13 protected pick to Phoenix this year. In that trade, the Suns received a future first-round pick in exchange for accepting former No. 4 overall draft pick Wes Johnson and his contract so the Wolves could clear salary-cap room to sign free-agent Andrei Kirilenko, who spent one season in Minnesota.

Also at stake

Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders won’t just be watching from afar how his own team fares. He’ll probably pay close attention to whether Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers — currently slotted fifth and sixth respectively — move into the top three. Both teams likely will dangle their top picks — the Celtics also own the draft’s 17th pick — in trade discussions for discontented Wolves star Kevin Love. A top-three pick for either team could make the Wolves more interested in reaching a deal or it could convince either team to keep the pick for themselves.

Lotto prizes

These are the guys the 14 lottery teams all want:

Andrew Wiggins, 6-8 shooting guard, Kansas freshman

Skinny and skilled Canadian can score, jump and defend. The most likely No. 1 overall pick because of his sheer athleticism.

Jabari Parker, 6-8 small forward, Duke freshman

Probably the draft’s most NBA-ready player, a gifted scorer with range, but scouts wonder about his weight and conditioning.

Joel Embiid, 7-0 center, Kansas freshman

Raw but graceful shot blocker discovered the game relatively late in life back home in Cameroon. Impressed scouts with his upside before back injury ended his lone collegiate season early.

Dante Exum, 6-6 point guard

Australian mystery man — uniquely big and athletic for his position — is the draft’s X factor.

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