May 18, 2010
If you don't already know, the NBA draft lottery is being held Tuesday night at 7:30 ET, prior to Game 2 between the Celtics and Magic. For my money, it's one of the most exciting 30 minutes in the NBA that doesn't have to do with playing basketball.
It's also pretty strange. Ping-pong balls, mathematical combinations and a secret lottery room make for quite the confusing spectacle. But it's still a great way to pass a half-hour before some playoff basketball. So keep reading as KD and I break down everything you need to know for Tuesday's lottery, and a little that you don't need. We're talking percentages and representatives and having a great time watching envelopes be opened.
1. New Jersey Nets (25.0% chance of getting No. 1 pick)
Scheduled to appear: Mikhail Prokhorov.
Should be in his place?: No one.
Frankly, there is no better choice to represent a team than a gun-toting, 6-foot-8 Russian who loves yachts, women and stonewashed jeans. If things start getting a little too conspiracy-y, you better believe that Mikhail Prokhorov will "take care" of things.
David Stern may be pretty tough in his own right, but even he'd be a little nervous to tell Prokhorov he didn't get the first pick.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves (19.9%)
Why not, right? It's not like Minnesota fans are going to see Ricky Jonas in a Timberwolves uniform any time soon, so the team might as well try to get something out of last year's No. 5 pick. That's not to say the T-Wolves would rather have Mike Miller(notes) and Randy Foye(notes), but they would probably like to get some value out of the trade. Lottery representative is a good start.
3. Sacramento Kings (15.6%)
Played for the Royals, who were sort of like the Kings, but in Cincinnati. Before the team moved west to Kansas City and Omaha (at the same time, somehow), and decided to get more specific with its team nickname.
Oscar, along with Michael Jordan and LeBron James(notes), is one of four players alongside Tyreke Evans to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in his rookie year. But with M.J. off designing the VW Beetle and LeBron pricing homes in Highland Park, Ill., it's up to the Big O to remind people how Tyreke Evans compares by virtue of his 20-5-5 line.
Because Tyreke Evans totally belongs in that picture.
4. Golden State Warriors (10.4%)
Scheduled to appear: Larry Riley.
Should be in his place?: The Ultimate Warrior.
It either has to be him or Cyrus from "The Warriors," and we're sure that Cyrus is dead while the wrestler is up in the air. Not only is he literally a warrior, he'd also bring some life to the low-key lottery process. Sure, he'd freak out and break everything if the Warriors didn't get the top pick, but he'd do the same if they did. That can be expensed anyways.
5. Washington Wizards (10.3%)
Scheduled to appear: Irene Pollin.
Should be in her place?: A rotating cadre of men who did her late husband wrong.
A bunch of them are veterans of the lottery process as is. Mrs. Pollin, wife of the late Wizards owner Abe Pollin, had to sit idly by while the longtime Washington owner trusted a series of basketball ne'er-do-wells, including Wes Unseld, Michael Jordan, Ernie Grunfeld, Gilbert Arenas(notes), Kwame Brown(notes) and Eddie Jordan.
All are available (save for M.J., with that whole "gotta-make-the-car-for-the-people" thing) and all should be forced to have the team's year-by-year odds at getting the No. 1 pick (usually quite high) read aloud to them in a backroom of a Shoney's in Secaucus while snippets from Pagliacci are played in the background.
6. Philadelphia 76ers (5.3%)
The 76ers could actually hire Taylor Negron to fill in and nobody would notice. The problem is, everybody noticed DiLeo taking these 76ers to the playoffs last season after a 9-14 start under Maurice Cheeks, a run that convinced the Sixers' brass that this team should try to sustain its run for the middle.
And, of course, once Ed Stefanski is let go, he should be forced to attend every Sixers lottery showing for the next 27 years.
7. Detroit Pistons (5.3%)
Joe D deserves every righteous bit of stick he gets for the way his team has fallen apart over the last few years. From re-signing Rip Hamilton to that awful contract extension to refusing to part with Tayshaun Prince(notes) while the getting was good to focusing his free-agent cash on the 2009 offseason, Dumars has presided over a Pistons team that has plenty of guaranteed contracts but little upside.
Well, more than a little. Because if C.V. played to his potential in 2009-10, the Pistons could have at least competed for a playoff spot with a whirling-dervish offensive force leading the way. Instead, he was miserable and on the books until 2014. Ben Gordon(notes) makes way more money, but he was also way more injured and there's only room for one in this chair.
8. Los Angeles Clippers (2.2%)
Maybe, just maybe, sending Michael Olowokandi to represent the Clippers franchise will be the thing that breaks the Clippers' curse. Sure, there are no such things as curses, but that's not the point. By acknowledging their mistakes, the Clippers might be able to change things, sort of like in "Lost."
9. Utah Jazz (from NY Knicks) (2.2%)
Scheduled to appear: Kevin O'Connor.
Should be in his place?: Robert Sarver.
Isiah Thomas gave away plenty of draft picks, and he gave up this one back in 2004. But nobody can touch Sarver when it comes to thinking in the moment, so to speak. This should rightfully be Phoenix's pick after acquiring it from the Knicks, but the Suns traded it away to the Jazz soon after. Why? So Suns boss Jerry Colangelo could have a nicer bottom line to hand to Sarver, who was deep into negotiations to buy the struggling team.
Armed with two picks from the Knicks, Colangelo sent Tom Gugliotta, New York's 2004 first-round selection and a future Knick pick to the Jazz for Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten. Mind you, Googs wasn't under contract for 2004-05. He was an expiring contract. The Suns just traded the burden of playing the last half of the last season of Googs' deal (for about $11.7 million) for the rights to pay the last half of the last season of Clark's deal ($5 million), as Handlogten was waived soon after.
For a 16th pick in the 2004 draft that could have been used on Josh Smith(notes), Jameer Nelson(notes), Kevin Martin(notes) or Anderson Varejao(notes). All cheap salaried picks, mind you, that probably wouldn't have prevented the team from offering what it did to secure Steve Nash(notes) that summer. And for a lottery pick this year.
Why? That question, again? Because Sarver wanted fewer debts to assume. Agreeing to buy the team in spring and grabbing it outright in May meant still paying Googs' deal in the final couple of months (contracts expire on July 1), and this pre-emptive lottery trade was the first in several trade-downs that Sarver has forced during his time as owner.
And if Sarver's presence is a conflict of interest on the dais in Secaucus? Googs. He has this awesome barbed-wire tattoo.
10. Indiana Pacers (1.1%)
Sending Danny Granger is kind of misleading. The Pacers should send these five guys so any potential draft picks who are watching the lottery on TV really know what they're getting into.
11. New Orleans Hornets (0.8%)
Scheduled to appear: Hugh Weber.
Should be in his place?: Byron Scott.
If Byron Scott plays Darren Collison(notes) and Marcus Thornton(notes) from the outset, perhaps the Hornets don't lose three of their first nine games, a butterfly flaps its wings and Chris Paul(notes) doesn't hurt his ankle in his first game under new coach Jeff Bower.
Perhaps the team wins 14 more contests and makes it to the playoffs. Instead, Scott has to go back to New Jersey. Ha-ha!
Or, wait. He doesn't. Sometimes the scenarios seems so real, man.
12. Memphis Grizzlies (0.7%)
Imagine the look on David Stern's face when Zach Randolph, Mr. Bad Behavior, sits behind the Grizzlies' logo and starts awkwardly smiling for the camera. It would complete Zach's transformation from malcontent to important basketball player. Plus, he might be the only guy who could keep the Ultimate Warrior in check.
13. Toronto Raptors (0.6%)
If you think about it, Richard Attenborough is the entire reason the Toronto Raptors exist. He's the one who figured out how to extract dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes encased in fossilized amber, which led to the reintroduction of velociraptors in the modern world, which gave us Toronto's team name. You might think "Jurassic Park" wasn't a documentary, but then you'd be living in a dream world. They're still out there.
14. Houston Rockets (0.5%)
Have you seen this guy? He's hilarious! His real name is Albert Einstein and his brother is Super Dave Osbourne (who sounds a lot like P.J. Carlesimo).
He was Hank Scorpio. He directed a bunch of timely bits for SNL during its first season and he's a well-know ventriloquist:
Let's see the Most Improved Player try that next season.