In the spirit of drafting I will do a quick breakdown and prediction of how tonight might go. Although we are in the conference finals for the NBA, tonight is the biggest night of the off season for the 14 teams that did not make the playoffs. If you have not had the opportunity to play the Draft Lottery Machine on ESPN.com I suggest you do. It is the closest thing to online drugs you can get as a sports fan.
After clicking the "Play Lottery" button about 500 times over the past month or 2 I have come to the conclusion this is how the lottery will shake out in reverse order.
No Shot in Hell: Even the lottery machine gives no respect to the teams that have less then a 1% chance. Which does not go well for these 4 teams and it shouldn't. They are on the cusp of making the playoffs and do not deserve the likes of a John Wall or Evan Turner. We have seen crazy things happen but the two teams with the best record to win the weighted lottery systems were the Orlando Magic (1.52%) in 1993 and the Chicago Bulls (1.70%) in 2008. Orlando took Chris Webber but later traded for my favorite player as a child Penny Hardaway and the Bulls recently took Derick Rose.
14. Houston Rockets 0.5%
13. Toronto Raptors 0.6%
12. Memphis Grizzlies 0.7%
11. New Orleans Hornets 0.8%
In Purgatory: Like I said before, only 2 teams have won the lottery less then a 2% chance but there have been 4 teams to win the weighted lottery with less then a 6% chance. Those teams in addition to the 2 listed above are the 2000 New Jersey Nets (4.4%) and the 2007 Portland Trail Blazers (5.3%). Both of these teams were really competitive after their top picks, the Nets even making it to the NBA Finals however the case can be drawn that it was not due to their potential super stars they thought they were getting (Kenyon Martin and Greg Oden). In 2010 I do not see any team jumping from this percentage.
10. Indiana Pacers 1.1%
09. Utah Jazz 2.2% From the New York Knicks unprotected because Isiah Thomas sucks.
08. Los Angeles Clippers 2.3%
Luck Is On Your Side: Any one of the next 7 teams have at least a 5% shot which in my opinion is pretty good odds. Especially when you see that 4 of the past 5 winners of the lottery had less then a 9% chance and 3 of those were under 7%. I can easily see one of the three larger market cities, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. or Detroit jumping into that top spot. Which is why the first scare team jumps up into the top 3 is coming from this group. (Wizards)
07. Detroit Pistons 5.2%
06. Philadelphia 76ers 5.3%
Big Markets Have Power: Ever since the Knicks got the top pick and Patrick Ewing their has been a lot of belief that their is some type of corruption involved in the Draft Lottery. However we have seen the Bucks, Warriors and Cavs all win the chance to pick 1. Minnesota has never won a lottery but they have never really had a great opportunity to win one either. I am now going by what I think may happen if the league was in fact rigged. Would I want to give another superstar to a team that had the 2 best rookies from last year (Warriors with Curry, Kings with Evans)? Not intriguing markets so probably not.
05. Golden State Warriors 10.4%
04. Sacramento Kings 15.6%
Top 3: This is the promise land but the hardest part to win. What we have seen in the past is not only can a team jump into the top 3 from no where, but they somehow win the whole damn thing which is screwy. Right now we have the Wizards, Nets and Timberwovles all still left. Minnesota being the only one to not win the lottery. Again I go back to the hint of corruption; if it was who do you think the NBA would favor. Washington is appealing and has won a lottery in the past but the Nets are moving to Brooklyn and have a ton of cap room, enough to land 2 max players. The NBA could form a champion over night and move them to Brooklyn. Just think of Brook Lopez, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Devin Harris and John Wall. With Jay Z for marketability as part owner with Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov spending money left and right to build a state of the art arena in Brooklyn and the cash to lure a head coach like John Calipari, Phil Jackson or even Mike Krzyzewski at $15 million dollars per year. Very intriguing.
The Timberwolves have never won a lottery. Are they due? Or does the curse continue for what I thought was the worst franchise in the NBA in 2009. Does the David Stern trust David Khan to know what to do with the pick if he got it. After all this is a guy who took 3 point guards with his first 3 picks last year. One of which (Ricky Rubio) may not come to America at all. So here you go with the top 3 picks. And if you are wondering I have no idea who Minnesota would take at 3. I like Derrick Favors but they would have to trade Al Jefferson somehow.
03. Minnesota Timberwolves 19.9%
02. Washington Wizards 10.3%
01. New Jersey Nets 25%