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What to know and how to watch the Suns’ 2018 NBA Draft Lottery results

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announces the pick for the Phoenix Suns at the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

After a 21-61 season, the Phoenix Suns enter Tuesday, May 15, with the best odds to win the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery.

Phoenix has a 25 percent shot at earning the first overall pick, a 21.5 percent chance of picking second, a 17.7 percent opportunity of selecting third and a 35.8 percent shot at drafting fourth. The Suns will not draft worse than fourth overall.

It’s the last year in which the lottery under the current format will take place. The NBA passed a new system prior to the 2017-18 season that was created to deter teams from tanking and helping their lottery odds.

Here’s what to know about the draft lottery and how to experience a tense event for Suns fans.

Listen live

Burns & Gambo and 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station will be airing their daily show live from Suns headquarters. Our Suns Lottery Special coverage begins at 5 p.m. as Dan Bickley of Bickley & Marotta joins Dave Burns, John Gambadoro, plus host Jon Bloom.

Listen to further post-lottery coverage from 6-7 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.

Lottery viewing party

The Suns will host a NBA Draft Lottery viewing party at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Doors open at 4 p.m., but the order is not expected to be revealed until approximately 5:20 p.m.

Time (TV)

4:30 p.m. MST, (ESPN / WatchESPN)

How it works

– Fourteen ping-pong balls labeled 1-14 are placed in a lottery machine, and each team is given a number of four-number combinations out of 1,001 total (11-12-13-14 is not assigned, giving the lottery 1,000 combinations). Order of the four numbers does not matter.

– The number of combinations is based off odds. So, the Suns with the 25-percent odds have 250 combinations assigned to them.

– After each set of four ping-pong balls are picked, the balls are returned to the machine for the next pick.

– Only the first three picks are determined by the ping pong balls. After that, the remaining 11 teams of the 14-team lottery composed of all the non-playoff teams fall in reverse order of last season’s winning percentage. Thus, the Suns cannot fall further than fourth.

What changes next year

– The three worst teams at the end of the season will all have equal, 14-percent odds of winning the top overall pick, and the odds are smoothed out throughout the 14-team lottery. In the current system, the odds drop from the 25 percent chance of winning Phoenix has in 2018 to just a 19.9 percent chance for the Memphis Grizzlies, who finished the season with the second-worst record.

– Instead of three teams, a fourth team will be added to the lottery process, giving teams the potential to fall another spot (compared to the current lottery format) if they are leaped by four teams.