By Josh Clark

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DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – Tonight is the night where four (out of 14) ping pong balls could drastically change the Mavericks’ fortunes for the next 15 years.

The NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night will determine what pick the Mavericks will own in the first round of June’s draft.

Dallas has the 9th best odds at winning the No. 1 overall pick after they went 33-49 in 2016-17.

So what are the Mavs chances at actually earning a top-three selection in the draft?

Dallas has a 1.7% chance of getting the No. 1 pick, a 2.0% chance of getting the 2nd pick and 2.41% chance of getting the 3rd selection. Meaning that the Mavs have a 6.1% chance of landing in the top-three. The 9th spot carries an 81.3% chance of staying with the team occupying the ninth worst record.

There is also just over a 12% chance that Dallas falls to the 10th spot in the draft.

The Mavericks odds in the draft lottery:

1st: 1.7%

2nd: 2.0%

3rd: 2.41%

9th: 81.31%

10th: 12.20%

11th: 0.38%

12th: 0.002%

How the lottery works: Each of the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs are eligible for the drawing. One thousand four-number combinations are divided among the teams based on each team’s regular season record.

Fourteen balls will be placed into a machine numbered 1-14. Four numbers are then drawn at random to determine who receives the first pick. The balls are placed back in the machine and the process is done two more times to determine the second and third picks. If a four-number combination is drawn that corresponds to a team already selected – then the balls will be redrawn until a new team has won.

After the first, second and third overall picks are determined, the remaining 11 teams are slotted 4-14 in the draft based on inverse order of regular season record.

To sum it up: Dallas is heavily favored to end up with the ninth pick in the draft but could end up picking 1-3 or 10-12.

The Mavericks do have some history on their side when it comes to the 9th pickSince the first NBA Draft Lottery was conducted in 1985, the team with the 9th best odds has won the lottery twice. The Chicago Bulls won the lottery in 2008 and selected Derrick Rose and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft in 2014 and selected Andrew Wiggins.

Dallas also traded their 6th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft (Robert Tractor Traylor) for the Milwaukee Bucks ninth overall pick, Dirk Nowitzki.

The lottery airs at 7:30 p.m. tonight on ESPN.

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