Storyline: Draft Lottery

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A day after watching teams leapfrog his Phoenix Suns in the NBA Draft Lottery, general manager Ryan McDonough wasn’t feeling any worse for wear. He’s comfortable picking fourth in the June 22 draft. And after Phoenix rested veterans this past season to help its lottery odds, McDonough does have a critique for the current system. “I would like to see the odds be smoothed out a little bit,” he told Jon Bloom on Wednesday as a guest of the Suns postseason special show on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Still, behind closed doors in the Celtics training facility in Waltham, there was disappointment. But there was no cursing Isaiah Thomas for being in the lottery room in New York and not bringing home the big prize. “There were some groans. I think the buildup, once we weren’t sixth and we weren’t five and we weren’t four, there was a lot of hope that we could get a good pick,” Ainge said. “But we’ll take it. We’ll give Isaiah a passing grade. We’ll keep him.”

The Lakers entered the drawing with the second-best odds – 19.9 percent, second only to Philadelphia’s 25 percent – and Black’s worst nightmare was seeing the Lakers moving down instead of up in the draft’s pecking order. Especially when most NBA officials firmly believe there are two players – Louisiana State’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram – who are head-and-shoulders above their draft classmates. So, just how nervous was Black? “Very,’’ he said in a serious tone. “I’ve been in a lot of pressure-packed situations during my career like the Finals. I was here for this last year, too, and I have to say this is even worse.’’

Sixers executives celebrated inside the New York Hilton Midtown with hugs and cheers. “We deserved this,” they repeated to each other. The 76ers had the third overall pick each of the past two drafts. “The city has endured a lot over the past three seasons,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “Our fans deserve this. … You just get a flood of memories when you hear you have the first pick. It just ties it all (together). I’m very thrilled for our organization. “I never felt jinxed. I never felt jinxed. I truly believe in what we’re doing. I feel like in many ways we’re being rewarded for our patience and perseverance — especially the city’s patience and perseverance.”

It was a tweet that had been suggested in an email, which Mutombo forwarded to For The Win, sent from a team staffer in the event that the team did win the lottery. “As you know tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery and we are all excited and hopeful we walk away with the #1 overall pick,” the email read. “To help create excitement for the team, would it be possible for you (or whoever controls your account) to post a congratulatory tweet in the event we do get the #1 Overall Pick? I know you have ties to many teams, but none of which would be in the running for the #1 pick this year.”
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May 24, 2017 | 2:48 pm EDT Update