NBA Rumor: Draft Lottery

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Wrapping up with some minutiae: as it turns out, the Pistons and Cavaliers got lucky twice on lottery night. The way the lottery works is that the league draws combinations for the first four slots in order, with any team repeats being thrown out and re-drawn. According to a source with knowledge of the proceedings, the NBA had to draw six times for four slots, with the order being Detroit, then Houston, then Detroit again, then Cleveland, Cleveland again, and finally, Toronto. Conspiracy theorists, do your worst.

But here’s the thing: The Cavs are finally in position where there’s no wrong answer. “It’s a tremendous opportunity. I think it really positions us well,” Altman said. “When we started this a few years back we talked about building through the draft and creating sustainable success. There’s some real game-changers at the top of this draft, but also it puts us in a position to capitalize on different opportunities. When you look at our young core, we’re in good shape from a talent perspective and we’re going to have another large injection of talent coming soon. At the top of this draft there’s size, there’s athleticism, there’s talent, so we’re really happy.

Tuesday’s result changes … everything. “I didn’t think it would be the third pick, but we always knew we were going to add another young talented player in this draft and then go from there,” Altman said. “What we always try to do is create a pathway for success. It won’t be any different with this young man. The difference is these players, this high level, they’re really talented and can play right away. We might have to do some internal adjustment to how we gauge what we wanted to do right out of the gate, but we still want to supplement that four that we talked about. The difference is there could be a game changer where we’re picking.

So desperate, Gansey contemplated bringing his 2016 championship ring for good luck. Only he didn’t want that with him for a week of scouting in Chicago. Instead, he brought his three-year-old son Griffin’s favorite toy — Super Wings Jerome. It was on the table as the placards were revealed one by one. Anxiousness filled the room. Eventually, the Thunder were revealed at No. 6. That meant the Cavs had moved into the top 4. Gansey delightedly slammed his fist on the table and the rest of the contingent celebrated. Altman looked on with excitement as the TV coverage went to commercial. “That damn commercial break felt so long,” a source said.

Rockets open to trading No. 2 draft pick

It’s the first top pick for the franchise since center Bob Lanier out of St. Bonaventure University in 1970 “Obviously we get to add another wing player to the restoration process,” Pistons general manager Troy Weaver told reporters. “We’re excited to be in this position. But it means that we’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re going to be diligent about it. But it always helps to be able to add the number one pick.” Rockets general manager Rafael Stone told reporters after the lottery that he was open to trading the No. 2 pick. “We don’t want to foreclose anything,” he said. “We’re open to a trade.”

Cavaliers also interested in trading lottery pick

The NBA hasn’t seen very many high lottery picks traded in the recent future, but this lottery could be different with several teams interested in trading for a more established player. “There are multiple teams, I’m told: Cleveland, Minnesota, Houston, who are going to be very aggressive if they’re in the top of this lottery with perhaps putting those picks in trades to bring back young veteran players or All-Star caliber players to accelerate their rebuilds,” said Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN shortly before the draft.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, who have 19 first-round picks through 2027, have three first-round draft selections in 2021. They landed the No. 6 pick in the lottery. Complete lottery results: 1. Detroit Pistons 2. Houston Rockets 3. Cleveland Cavaliers 4. Toronto Raptors 5. Orlando Magic 6. Oklahoma City Thunder 7. Golden State Warriors 8. Orlando Magic 9. Sacramento Kings 10. New Orleans Pelicans 11. Charlotte Hornets 12. San Antonio Spurs 13. Indiana Pacers 14. Golden State Warriors

Regardless, there’s no doubt the Timberwolves will take the major victory anyway, as landing the No. 1 pick gives the franchise a ton of flexibility, be it to acquire their next franchise cornerstone to fit alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell or to trade down for multiple assets. What’s interesting is that even with the huge win in this year’s draft lottery, the Wolves still hold the honor of statistically being the unluckiest team in lottery history. That’s how bad their luck had been before this year.

With Minnesota moving up for the first time, that leaves just the Dallas Mavericks, the Detroit Pistons, the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat as the only teams who have never moved up from their pre-lottery position. On the other side of the spectrum, the three luckiest teams in lottery history are the Philadelphia 76ers, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Charlotte Hornets, who have moved up eight times and three times apiece respectively.

They consider Lacob unusually lucky, for various reasons. He told them, semi-facetiously, something to the effect of: “I don’t do lotteries. I do championships.” When ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne asked Lacob about that cheeky line, he chuckled. “This is gonna be like the ‘light years’ thing,” Lacob said. “I did say that. But when you’re in last place, you shouldn’t really have much to say.” Stephen Curry was the next and obvious choice. He had one request, Golden State higher-ups said: Ask Klay first. Thompson apparently passed.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to land the first overall pick in this year’s draft, marking only the second time in franchise history,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. “We are excited for the possibilities ahead of us to bring in a high caliber player now that we secured the first overall selection. As a front office, we are proud of what we’ve built here in Minnesota so far and we are looking forward to continuing to build upon that foundation in this year’s draft.”

“I’m glad I could represent for the state of Minnesota at the draft lottery the same way we plan to show out for our fans when we get back on the court,” said Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell. “The number one pick is exciting to have, it makes me think back to when Karl and I got drafted 1,2 in the 2015 draft. There’s so much buzz and energy during the draft as a player and I really look forward to seeing what Gersson and the front office will do to build upon our 2020-21 roster with this pick. I know we’re ready to compete and I can’t wait to see who joins us next.”

Now that the Wizards have lost their first two games at Disney World, that rule is coming back into the forefront. The Wizards are currently tied in the loss column with the Hornets, who aren’t in Orlando but are locked in with the eighth-best lottery odds. What that means is if the Wizards continue to lose, they can’t gain more ping-pong balls for lottery night, which is set for Aug. 25. And now there is a distinct possibility they could have worse odds than a team with a better win percentage than them.

It would be a cruel twist for the Wizards, who need as much help as they can get in this year’s draft as they hope to find another blue chip prospect to add to their burgeoning young core. Making that pick count is especially important given their salary cap situation with John Wall and Bradley Beal on the books, which has left them with fewer resources to work with. They could get another key rotation player on a rookie contract. The good news is that the lottery rules were changed more permanently before last year’s drawing in order to create more parity in the annual event. It smoothed out the odds to discourage tanking and the results in its first year were as-intended.

I’ve asked a handful of sources about this. They continue to provide the same answer: The league has plenty to figure out and the answers aren’t easy. Each time there seems to be a workable solution, another problem emerges. But it seems like the usual off-season events — draft, free agency, summer league — have been pushed down the priority list. The primary focus centers on a return-to-play strategy — if possible. Once that decision is made, there should be more clarity on other issues.
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September 23, 2021 | 4:49 am EDT Update
The Sixers would be best served if Simmons and Paul rethink their plans, though Simmons “is clearly aware of sanctions available to the organization to fine and suspend him, including withholding of salary,” according to Wojnarowski. An NBA source said Wednesday that Simmons initially asked for a trade at the draft combine in Chicago “right after” the end of the 2020-21 season. The Game 7 home loss to the Hawks occurred on June 20, with the combine running from June 21-27.
September 23, 2021 | 2:02 am EDT Update