Some of the most consequential minutes of the NBA season will occur Tuesday night in Chicago when the annual draft lottery order is determined. The Phoenix Suns, who finished with a league-worst record 21-61 have a 25% chance of landing the top overall pick, which could net them Arizona center Deandre Ayton or European sensation Luka Doncic. Others, like the Memphis Grizzlies (20%), the Dallas Mavericks (14%) and the Atlanta Hawks (14%) are praying the ping pong balls bounce in their favor.
It’s even possible, albeit unlikely, that the Philadelphia 76ers, who own the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick, could wind up with another top overall selection. Due to last year’s Boston-Philadelphia swap for the No. 1 overall pick, the Celtics, currently up 1-0 in the conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, even have a chance at landing the No. 2 or No. 3 pick. It’s highly likely this pick remains with the Sixers in the 10-13 range, but stranger things have happened.
The Celtics will be represented at the lottery, just in case. Assistant general manager Mike Zarren will be present in the drawing room, and team president Rich Gotham will be in the main stage area, although the Lakers’ seat is expected to be initially occupied by a 76ers representative, as there is a 97.1 percent chance that they will keep the pick.
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson surprised 9-year-old Suns fan Jazmyne Weber today with an invitation to join him on a trip of a lifetime to attend the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago on Tuesday, May 15. The surprise event was held at the Ability360 Sports and Fitness Center, where Jazmyne thought she was attending just another day of physical therapy. The Suns also presented Jazmyne with a personalized sports wheelchair to help her pursue her passion of playing wheelchair basketball.
Jerry West will officially represent the Los Angeles Clippers at the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. It will be LA’s first lottery since 2010.
Ian Begley: Knicks GM Scott Perry will represent the team at the draft lottery next Tuesday, Steve Mills said on MSG Network. "I'm counting on him (to bring the Knicks luck)." NYK has a 6.2 percent chance of moving into the Top-3.
TJ McBride: I can confirm @Harrison Wind's report that Jamal Murray will be the #Nuggets' representative at the 2018 NBA draft lottery. Harrison was first on the scoop.
Marc Berman: Silver on tanking next season with revised lottery odds: "That will reduce incentive for a race to the bottom. But I will say I can’t say I’m convinced that will eradicate the problem.” Knicks will certainly be racing amidst the bottom." (@Sirius XM NBA
Michael Cunningham: Hawks lose draft tiebreaker vs. Mavs. DAL to pick no later than 6th, ATL no later than 7th. DAL also has slightly better chance to win No. 1 pick.
KC Johnson: Bulls win tiebreaker drawing with Kings. Bulls slot 6th, Kings slot 7th heading into May 15 draft lottery. Both own 5.3% chance at No. 1 pick and 18.25% chance at moving into top 3.
Michael Cunningham: NBA draft tiebreak drawing live on NBA TV April 13 about 5:45 pm. Will determine if Hawks pick no later than 6th or 7th and if pick via MIN is 18th or 19th.
Bobby Marks: A Milwaukee win on Wednesday at Philadelphia or a Miami loss to Toronto would allow the Bucks to retain their first this season. If both teams (or with Washington) are tied, a random drawing will take place after the season. The pick is protected 1-10 and 17-30 and would convey to Phoenix if it falls between 11-16. The Bucks currently have the 17th pick in the Draft with a win tonight vs. Orlando and a Miami loss to Oklahoma City. If not conveyed, Phoenix will have Milwaukee's first in 2019, protected 1-3 and 17-30.
KC Johnson: Adam Silver on why draft lottery reform was so important to NBA: "It felt to us, at least with existing odds for the first, second and third pick, that it was almost too tempting to exclusively seek that rebuilding strategy to build a championship team. So we changed the odds."
KC Johnson: Adam Silver on draft lottery reform: "I don’t think it’s the perfect system yet. But drafts by definition aren’t. It’s a compromise of sorts. But I think it will appropriately focus teams on winning, which is first and foremost what they should be doing."
The NBA says it will hold its draft lottery in Chicago next spring. The league announced Thursday the event will be held outside New York or New Jersey for the first time on May 15. It will be followed by the draft combine May 16-20 in Chicago, where it has been conducted for years.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn't convinced the NBA's new draft lottery system will discourage teams from tanking, which is why he abstained from the vote during last month's board of governors meeting. The lottery reform passed by a 28-1-1 vote, with the Oklahoma City Thunder the lone team voting against it. The NBA needed 23 of 30 teams to pass the legislation. Cuban told ESPN that he proposed two alternative scenarios -- one to the board of governors, another privately to commissioner Adam Silver -- that would have more strongly discouraged tanking than the proposal that passed.
However, neither of Cuban's proposals got any traction. Cuban pitched other members of the league's board of governors on a system in which the draft is abolished, with teams getting a pool of money to sign rookies based on their records. "The team with the worst record gets the most money and the team with the best record gets the least money," Cuban said. "It's like a free agency. It makes it a lot harder to tank because you don't know if you get the best players if you're horrible all the time. "Nobody liked that at all, not a single person."
Cuban's other idea was to lock the team with the worst record into a draft slot -- either third or fourth -- to force teams to compete to avoid being at the bottom. That idea never got discussed in the board of directors meeting. "Now all of the sudden, if it's close at the end, you're going to see teams play as hard as they can because if they end up with the worst record, they don't get the best pick," Cuban said, explaining the logic of his idea."You basically eliminate them from getting the best player. Everybody else would just be the way it is now. "Adam didn't like that. That never got to the board of directors, but that one was my favorite. I brought up [the other proposal], but after that one got shot down, I didn't bring up the other one. When I got no response on the one, I just dropped the other because it was obvious that what they had proposed was going to pass."
Howard Beck: NBA adopts two measures to curb tanking: 1. Lottery reform 2. Rules on resting players Details:
Flattening the odds in the NBA's draft lottery, a changed passed today by an overwhelming 28-1-1 vote of team owners, will not end tanking and may not reduce it much. The league knows that; they repeatedly characterized the proposal as "an incremental step" toward more potential tweaks, sources say. They are concerned about egregious tanking from teams that are already awful -- the sort of tanking that generates think pieces and angry tweets.
The National Basketball Association is aggressively pursuing draft lottery reform that could be voted into legislation before the start of the 2017-'18 season, league sources told ESPN. Commissioner Adam Silver is a strong advocate to de-incentivize tanking by implementing lower odds on the NBA's worst teams to gain the top picks in the draft, league sources said.
The proposed measures would also increase the chances of better teams making a jump up into the draft lottery. The NBA's 14 non-playoff team compromise the league's annual draft lottery system. If passed, the lottery reform would be phased into use over time, and there's no indication that the 2018 NBA Draft would fall under new legislation, league sources said.
Falling to eighth in the NBA Draft Lottery severely hurt the Knicks’ chances of getting either Kentucky guard. Fox is expected to be taken in the top five. Monk, projected to go sixth, also should be gone when the Knicks pick. “Hopefully,” he said inside the Vanderbilt YMCA Thursday.
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.
Ryan McDonough: “The more the league could add a little variance in there and de-incentivize losing, I think that would be good for the good of the league and I think it’d be a nice change going forward.”
Serena Winters: Magic Johnson when asked about being excited to work out Lonzo Ball & Markelle Fultz at No. 2, also mentioned Josh Jackson (on @SpectrumSN)
Metta World Peace: Wow @lakers @magicjohnson has all the tools to build more Real Estate. Exciting for LA pic.twitter.com/lsdB2ETbNa
Paul Pierce may have finished his career with the Nets, Wizards, and Clippers, but he’ll always be a member of the Celtics. On Tuesday, the recently retired future Hall of Famer took to Twitter after the Celtics won the NBA draft lottery for the first time and earned the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Chris Forsberg: Danny Ainge on “beating Magic” in lotto: We didn’t beat Magic. It’s total luck. They’re picking pingpong balls. There’s no beating anybody."
Brian Robb: The one (good) problem the Celtics have now after getting No. 1 pick tonight: Salary cap room gets a lot tighter this offseason for max FA.
Magic Johnson: Having a great time in NY with Rob at the NBA Draft lottery. Our 2nd pick will be a great start to rebuilding the @Los Angeles Lakers!
Jeanie Buss: So happy!!! Great news for #Lakers fans. The Magic is back! Have fun you guys tonight and see you back at the
Josh Robbins: Matt Lloyd on inviting prospects under consideration at No. 6 to Orlando: “We’re going to start our work tonight. I can tell you that much."
Al Iannazzone: Phil on picking eighth: "We’ll get a talented young player, hopefully someone that can contribute this next year."
Brian Windhorst: Re previous tweet, no one thinks anything nefarious with lottery. In general, league enjoys Lakers being down.
Gary Washburn: Wyc Grousbeck: "We got a lot offers in February and I'm glad we didn't trade the pick. You can write that!" #Celtics
Mark Medina: On using No. 2 pick to draft player or trading it, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka stressed importance of keeping long term future in mind
Bobby Marks: The LA Lakers just had a good night. Philadelphia will get LAL 2018 first unprotected Orlando will get LAL 2017 and 2018 2nd.
Tom Moore: Bryan Colangelo likes that #Sixers know they'll get 2018 #Lakers pick and 2019 #Kings pick - both unprotected
Jason Jones: Moving to five means Tatum or Fox are definitely in play. This will be the highest the Kings have picked since 2010 (DeMarcus Cousins).
Manny Navarro: #Celtics win lottery. Lakers 2nd, Sixers 3rd, Suns 4th, Kings 5th, Magic 6th, T'Wolves 7th, Knicks 8th
Marc J. Spears: Former Kansas small forward Josh Jackson will attend the NBA's Draft Lottery tomorrow, a source said.
On Tuesday, Pelinka will take the next step in the Lakers’ offseason process. He’ll be in a sequestered drawing room for the NBA draft lottery at the New York Hilton Midtown, where he’ll learn the Lakers’ fate before those outside the room, including President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and others in the Lakers’ organization. It’s not superstition or symbolism that made Pelinka want to be there. He sees a strategic opportunity.
“One of the great things is most of the players that are lottery candidates attend,” Pelinka told The Times during a brief break in a busy day. “It’s a really good time to get to have some social interaction with the players and understand what type of people they are, what their character is."
“Magic and I really wanted to be there and felt like it was smartest for him to have a presence at the podium. It’s kind of how we work a little bit. He’s definitely the face and he’s so great at his leadership and lighting up the room. I like to be more behind the scenes and in the details.”
Chris Mannix: Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck will represent the Celtics on stage at the draft lottery on Tuesday night, league source tells @The Vertical.
Sean Cunningham: Kings head coach Dave Joerger will represent the team at next week's NBA Draft Lottery. Tasked with bringing the team a little luck.
Mike Fisher: LOTTO ALERT: @Mark Cuban tells Dallasbasketball.com #Mavs rep at next Tuesday #NBA Draft Lottery will be @Michael Finley pic.twitter.com/CeFRzR8lXo
Baxter Holmes: Magic Johnson will be representing the Lakers on stage at the May 16 draft lottery. Lakers GM Rob Pelinka will rep team in the drawing room.
Marc Berman: As seventh seed, Knicks have an 80 percent of being either 7 or 8. They had already lost ping pong balls by winning finale.
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.’’
Even when the 76ers hit the lottery with the winning ping-pong combination of 1-10-5-9, neither Rubin nor Wrubel went bonkers. They both simply smiled before giving each other a hug. Asked why he didn’t show more emotion after winning the lottery, Wrubel said matter-of-factly, “When you get to the end zone, you’re supposed to quietly lay the football down.’’
Even though he is an avid college basketball fan – “I follow it pretty closely. I know a couple of names,’’ Wrubel joked – he wasn’t about to tip his hand. Cracked Wrubel: “We’re looking for the best kid out of the Ivy League.’’
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.”
Before the drawing, Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers new GM, told ESPN.com he would contact Hinkie if the Sixers won the No. 1 pick. "It's unfortunate that Sam isn't here to be a part of this," Colangelo said. "But it was his choice."
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.”
There were sample tweets provided, along with a suggestion to just retweet the 76ers account. Mutombo said he was busy and didn’t read the email carefully, but wanted to be supportive so he posted the tweet. When he realized his mistake minutes later, he immediately took it down. “Sorry, guys,” he tweeted. “Got excited about the @sixers odds and got ahead of myself.Still keeping my fingers crossed for tonight.”
So when fans argue the tweet is proof the draft is rigged? “People will say whatever they want to say,” he said on Tuesday night. “… You cannot stop them.”
"I was in favor of changing the lottery," Adam Silver, the league's commissioner, told reporters after the drawing. "But we've parked the issue. We've said, 'Once we get through this summer of free agency, let's return to it and see if a modification is necessary.'"
Some of the more nefarious team executives sequestered in the drawing room wondered before the lottery if the league were aware of smart watches, and if they might be able to sneak in an Apple Watch and communicate the results in real time. Nope. The league specifically warned that all smart watches had to stay outside the room, along with phones and laptops.
Chris Dempsey: Michael Malone: "There will be a good player for us at (No. 7). I really believe that." #Nuggets
February 1, 2023 | 11:31 am EST Update
But league sources say the Hawks have no shortage of trade interest in Bogdan Bogdanović as well — as in “half the league is calling” type stuff. The 30-year-old guard has a player option for $18 million next season, so most teams would understandably view him as a short-term rental (with the hopes of re-signing him if he opts out). To this point, the Hawks haven’t shown much interest in moving him. Capela could certainly help most teams and would yield a good return, but he continues to have the kind of chemistry with Young that likely means he’s going nowhere. If you somehow haven’t noticed, it’s quite important for this iteration of the Hawks to maximize Young’s powers.
Young isn’t going anywhere. The same goes for Murray. Collins is the most likely one on the way out, of course, and it’s worth repeating that the asking price is known to have decreased significantly from recent years (per league sources, there is a focus on landing a quality player, or players, in return but no mandate for a first-round pick). That development is clearly a reflection of the focus on salvaging this season, as opposed to recouping the vast assets lost in the Murray trade with San Antonio in the summer. As we’ve reported recently, the Jazz and Rockets are known to be among the teams in pursuit.
This past October, Abdul-Jabbar — on his Substack page where he discusses and offers opinion on a variety of topics, often nothing to do with sports — that when James passed Kobe Bryant for No. 3 on the all-time scoring list in 2020, he “knew it was just a matter of time before he passed me too.” Abdul-Jabbar wrote that every time a record is broken, all people are elevated. “When I broke Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring record in 1984 — the year LeBron was born — it bothered Wilt, who’d had a bit of a one-sided rivalry with me since I’d started doing so well in the NBA,” he added. “I don’t feel that way toward LeBron. Not only will I celebrate his accomplishment, I will sing his praises unequivocally.”
Riley coached Abdul-Jabbar in Los Angeles and later lured James to Miami for a four-year run starting in 2010. He sees in James much of what he saw in Alcindor when that bus pulled into Schenectady in 1961. “It’s all about LeBron right now, and it should be, with his unique career and unique opportunity to do this,” Riley said. “Training, travel, personal chefs, personal trainers, all that stuff has come into play since Kareem. I hope people realize Kareem’s story as well and how different it was. He went to college for four years; LeBron came out of high school. But they both dominated from Day 1. They both turned potential into greatness from Day 1.”
“I was just like whatever,” Mazzulla said. “I was at dinner with my wife and a few friends, so I had more important things going on at the time.” But Marcus Smart knows that’s not true. Mazzulla loves to play coy in front of the cameras, but he flips the switch behind closed doors. “Bulls—. Bulls—,” Smart said of Mazzulla’s attempt to play it off. “It says a lot, it’s just the humble mentality that we have. We got a lot of great guys, from coaches and players, that could sit here and boast about themselves about everything they’ve accomplished and things like that, but that’s not us. We love each other, and we let all the outside noise do the talking for us. But it definitely means something to Joe, and it means a lot to us for him to do it.”
Bobby Manning: Horford on Joe/ASG: “It doesn’t matter to him, but it’s a big deal for us .. it’s impressive how he’s been able to take the helm and lead us through this path. At the beginning of the season, it just wasn’t easy. All the unknowns .. he’s not celebrating, I’m celebrating for him.”
Monty McCutchen attributed the missed call to “a lack of fundamentals” from the referees involved. As James drove, the baseline referee, Jacyn Goble, was in motion in an effort to gain the best angle. While Goble’s intentions were good, the end result left him in a position where he was unable to clearly see the foul. “We want our referees in a still position,” says McCutchen. “We want movement to be purposeful, meaning, ‘Oh, someone stood in front of me. I need to make a definitive step to the left one step.’ But we can’t allow ourselves to get into rapid movement at the same time that the play is coming to a head.
McCutchen says he is confident the issue that led to the missed call in Boston can be corrected and that referees will work tirelessly to be in the best position to get every call right. “It really is impactful to referees to miss calls,” says McCutchen. “They’re not flippant about it. They don’t leave with a lack of remorse. But you have to move on. You have to get to the next game. That doesn’t help the teams that were aggrieved. We understand that. But we have to continue to pursue excellent work even up against our imperfections. That way you turn one call and you sort of nip it right there instead of turning it into a progression of bad calls.”