Most NBA mock drafts leave out one very crucial part of the draft process: The lottery. While it certainly makes sense to simply use the order of the current NBA standings--that's what I did in my most recent projections--I figured we could get rid of the monotony by simulating the lottery for my newest mock draft.
So, with simulations courtesy of Tankathon.com, here's a look at the draft order we'll be using for the Top 14 picks: Philadelphia, Orlando, Brooklyn (pick goes to Boston), Phoenix, Los Angeles (pick goes to Philly), New York, Minnesota, Sacramento, Dallas, New Orleans (pick goes to Sacramento), Detroit, Charlotte, Denver, Miami.
As is immediately noticeable to Lakers fans, the ping-pong balls are especially vital this year. The Lake Show, who have suddenly forgotten how to tank and now have "only" the third-worst record in the NBA after two wins in a row, are basically a 50-50 shot to keep their pick. If the lottery puts them in the Top 3 (a 46.9 percent chance, per Tankathon), they'll have a chance at a franchise-changer in Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson. If the lottery isn't so kind, as is the case in this simulation, their pick goes to the 76ers, who also strike gold with the No. 1 overall selection in this particular scenario.
Ultimately, even with less than a week left in the regular season, there are still a handful of different ways for the draft to be shaken up, but it's still always intriguing to see how those variables may alter the scope of the league. With that in mind, you can click through the gallery for my first-round projections based off the simulated lottery. (Getty)