Basketball: Simmons' NBA destination known tomorrow

Ben Simmons playing for the LSU Tigers. Photo / Getty Images
Ben Simmons playing for the LSU Tigers. Photo / Getty Images

Ben Simmons' NBA destiny will soon become a little clearer.

The NBA holds its draft lottery in New York on Wednesday with the league's worst teams, led by the pitiful Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers, holding their breath, crossing their fingers or clutching on to good luck charms in the hope their ping pong ball drops.

The winning team will have the first pick at the June 23 NBA Draft.

Whoever gets it is expected to use it on Simmons, the 19-year-old, 208cm tall ambidextrous physical freak from Melbourne, or Duke University forward Brandon Ingram.

Simmons has been the frontrunner for more than a year and maintains top billing with most NBA executives, scouts and analysts despite skipping last week's draft combine in Chicago.

"I spoke to numerous NBA executives and the majority still believe he's (Simmons) the best player in the draft and the favourite to be picked first on draft night," ESPN Draft analyst Chad Ford wrote on Tuesday.

"Once we see who actually wins the lottery on Wednesday night, we'll have an even better feel for his odds of going No.1."

The draft lottery is weighted giving the worst teams from the just-finished NBA regular season the best chance to land one of the top three picks .

The last-placed 76ers, with their 10 win, 72 loss record, have a 25 per cent chance of landing the No.1 pick and a 64.3 per cent shot at a top three selection.

After the top three picks, the draft order is based on finishing record - from worst to best - meaning the worst the 76ers could do is land the fourth pick.

The Lakers, with a 17 win, 65 loss record, are second with a 19.9 per cent shot at the top pick and 55.8 per cent at the top three.

But should they miss out on a top three pick, the Lakers could be on a slippery slope because of a trade they made four years ago for All-Star guard Steve Nash.

Because of that deal, if the Lakers do not get a top three pick on Tuesday they have to hand their first round selection to the 76ers.

There is speculation that should the Lakers land the top pick they will not use it on the unproven Simmons, but trade it to another team for an established All-Star such as Indiana's Paul George or Chicago's Jimmy Butler.

Australia's other top draft hope is 216cm tall Thon Maker, who took part in the combine, but declined to scrimmage against other players.

Ford lifted Maker from his projected 26th pick to 24th based on his combine performance.

"Teams were blown away by his intelligence, depth and background story," Ford wrote.

"However, until teams see him on the court against other prospects, it's very hard to place him."

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