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Primer for Lakers fans: Understanding the NBA draft lottery

Lakers fans might not be especially familiar with the NBA draft lottery.

With multiple injuries and a 16-28 record, the Lakers have the seventh-worst record in the league.

A full 8½ games behind eighth-place Dallas (25-20) -- technically 9½ since the Mavericks have the head-to-head tiebreaker -- the Lakers are a near-lock to miss the playoffs.

On May 20, the NBA will hold the lottery, assigning 1,000, four-digit combinations to 14 teams.

The franchise with the worst record will receive 250 combinations, giving it a 25% chance of landing the first pick and a 64.3% chance of at least getting a top-three selection. The worst-case scenario, with 35.7% odds, has the top team drafting fourth overall.

The team with the second-worst record receives 199 combinations, third gets 156, fourth 119 and so on. Where the Lakers currently stand, they'd have only 43 combinations, giving the club a 4.3% chance at the top pick and 15% odds of a top-three selection.

If the Lakers finish two spots lower in the standings, their odds at the No. 1 pick increase to 8.8% and top three to 29.2%.

The last time the Lakers hit the lottery they were awarded the 10th pick in the 2005 draft. They used it to select 7-foot center Andrew Bynum, who ultimately helped the team win two NBA titles.

The Lakers also drafted 10th in 1994, taking guard Eddie Jones. While Jones became an All-Star with the Lakers, the team didn't win a championship until they traded him to the Charlotte Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans) for forward Glen Rice in 1999.

The 2014 draft class has a number of strong possibilities, including Kansas' Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Duke's Jabari Parker, Kentucky's Julius Randle, Arizona's Aaron Gordon and Australian guard Dante Exum.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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