The NBA Draft lottery is tonight, and the Nets have a 7.5 percent chance of winning the first overall pick. Not great odds, but it's not a "getting struck by lightning" long shot, either. Even if they don't wind up with the first pick, though, the Nets will need some luck tonight: If they don't land one of the top three picks, they lose their first-round selection entirely. See, they traded the pick to Portland when they acquired Gerald Wallace, but it's protected if it's a top-three pick. They have a 25.6 percent chance of securing one of those top-three picks; otherwise, they'll be slated to make their first selection with the 57th overall pick.
The big prize in tonight's lottery, of course, is Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who's certain to be selected first overall. And there's a line of thinking that, if the Nets win the lottery and thus can add Davis in the Draft, it might help them convince Deron Williams to remain with the team rather than leaving via free agency this summer. Then again, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski today that winning the rights to Davis won't be enough to keep Williams. "It's Dwight Howard or bust," says Wojnarowski's source.
If the Nets do end up with a top-three pick tonight, by the way, they'll send next year's pick (top-two protected) to Portland instead. The lottery takes place at 8 p.m., and so, in the meantime, here's a lottery toy to play around with on ESPN's website.