Even with the conference finals going on, the NBA’s eyes turn to the future this week.

A future that, perhaps, will have less tanking.

The draft lottery – the last before changes come next year to dissuade tanking – is Tuesday night, and then about 70 players will partake in the draft combine that starts on Wednesday. Those events are both happening in Chicago, as are some various league meetings such as a gathering of NBA general managers and other front-office executives.

But the biggest news will be made by 14 pingpong balls that will decide who drafts No. 1 next month.

“We’ve got to see what happens in the lottery first and see where our position is,” Memphis executive vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger said. “That’s going to dictate a lot of the decisions that come after that and how we use our time after that.”

Phoenix has a 25 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, followed by Memphis (19.9 percent), Dallas (13.8 percent) and Atlanta (13.7 percent). The rest of the candidates for No. 1 are Orlando (8.8 percent), Chicago (5.3), Sacramento (5.3), Cleveland (2.8), New York (1.7), Philadelphia (1.1), Charlotte (0.8), Detroit (0.7), the Los Angeles Clippers (0.6) and Denver (0.5).

Many of those teams were at the center of tanking questions this season. Now they’ll see if it pays off.

“We did this year what we felt was in the long-term best interest of the Bulls,” Chicago vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. “It’s not a situation that any of us want to ever be in again. And it goes against everything as a competitive person that you believe in. But it’s the way the system’s set up.”

For now. The NBA is changing the system.

Starting in 2019, with the NBA hoping that teams have less incentive to strive for the worst record and therefore the best chance of winning the lottery, the odds will be changing. The three teams with the worst regular-season record will each have a 14 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, the fourth-worst team will have a 12.5 percent chance and the fifth-worst 10.5 percent.

“My sense is we’re still going to have some work to do,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

Tanking got plenty of attention this season, and a few minutes on Jan. 29 might have decided the race.

Phoenix and Memphis played that night. The Grizzlies scored 42 points in the second quarter – their only 40-point quarter all season – and forced the Suns into 10 consecutive misses in one stretch, on the way to a 120-109 win.

The Suns finished one game worse than the Grizzlies. Flip that Jan. 29 outcome, and it would been the Grizzlies with the best chance at the No. 1 pick.

“The league has been beating us up right now,” said Phoenix guard Devin Booker, who hasn’t come even close to making the playoffs and is already on the fourth head coach of his three-year career. “But I think it’s going to be motivational for us. I know for myself, working out, I think about that all the time. I never want to be in these situations again.”

The new lottery format isn’t the only looming change related to drafts. It seems likely that by 2020, the one-and-done rule – in place since 2006 – will be gone and players will be allowed to jump from high school directly to the NBA again.

HAWKS: At the start of his first news conference as Atlanta’s coach, Lloyd Pierce looked down at a row filled with four of his new players.

His thoughts immediately turned to his passion: Defense.

“If we weren’t doing this press conference right now, I’d probably have these guys doing some defensive drills,” Pierce said Monday. “That’s who I am.”

Pierce, the former Philadelphia 76ers assistant whose agreement to become the Hawks’ coach was announced Friday, said his first priority will be assembling a staff. Pierce will be looking for assistants who share his passion for defense and his proven ability to connect with young players.

The Hawks leaned heavily on such young players as rookie John Collins and second-year forward Taurean Prince this season. More youth is coming in the June 21 NBA draft. The Hawks have three first-round picks and hope to land the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery.

Pierce worked as an assistant with Cleveland, Golden State and Memphis before his five years with Philadelphia. His role in the 76ers’ rebuilding process was especially important to the Hawks, who face a similar challenge after posting the worst record in the Eastern Conference this season.

SUNS: Igor Kokoskov is the first NBA head coach born and raised outside North America, but he reminded everyone at his introductory news conference with Phoenix that he didn’t exactly just get off the plane.

“I don’t consider myself as a European coach,” he said. “I’m an NBA coach.”

Kokoskov, 46, just finished his 18th season as an NBA assistant coach.

He’s been with six teams. Some played slow. Some played fast. He has been on the staffs of seven squads to reach the conference finals. This game is not new to him.

“As a coach, I’m not spoiled,” he said. “I think your job is to build and create from what you have in front of you. I’m the kind of guy who loves my team. I love my guys and they can feel it.”

Kokoskov was named head coach of the Suns last week but, as an assistant with the Utah Jazz, he had to finish his work in the playoff series against the Houston Rockets before turning his attention to the desert.

He was an assistant with the Suns from 2008 to 2013 and became a U.S. citizen during a ceremony on the court at Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena.