NBA Draft Lottery 2012: Ranking the Lottery Teams That Need No. 1 Spot the Most
The 2012 NBA Draft Lottery is set for Wednesday. Every one of the struggling franchises participating in Wednesday's lottery desperately needs the No. 1 pick. Some more than others.
Following their historically bad season, the Charlotte Bobcats have the best odds to win the No. 1 pick. The Bobcats have 250 combinations in the lottery, giving them a 25 percent chance of receiving the No. 1 pick.
This year's draft prize is Anthony Davis, the freshman center from the University of Kentucky. Davis is the best NBA prospect since Derrick Rose and is considered to be a franchise-changing player. After Davis, the draft features other highly rated prospects, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal.
Here's a list of eight of the 14 lottery teams that need the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft the most:
8. Toronto Raptors
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: 35 combinations, 3.5%
It's been a long time since the Toronto Raptors last made the NBA playoffs. Since 2007-08, the Raptors haven't finished a season with an above .500 record.
The Raptors finished the 2011-12 season with a win more than the season before. It's an impressive accomplishment considering there were 16 fewer games this season due to the lockout. The Raptors have finally moved on from the Chris Bosh era, which wasn't really that great to begin with. The No. 1 pick would do more than just revitalize a franchise that has only made the postseason a total of five times. The No. 1 pick could spark the popularity of basketball in Canada again to an all-time high.
Since Vince Carter's departure in 2004, the Raptors have largely been a forgotten NBA franchise. It would be nice to see them back at the top of the Eastern Conference with a low post combination of Andrea Bargnani and Davis. What an interesting team that would be.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: 138 combinations, 13.8%
A year ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the first and fourth overall sections in the 2011 NBA Draft. Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert chose his son, Nick, to represent the team at the draft lottery. Nick turned out to be a charm of luck. In Wednesday's NBA Draft lottery, Nick will once again represent the Cavaliers. Could the Cavaliers actually win the lottery two years in a row? Seems unfathomable.
If the Cavaliers do get the No. 1 pick, they'd be right on track in their journey back to becoming an NBA playoff team. Last year's No. 1 pick, Kyrie Irving, played better than anyone expected. Irving received 117 of 120 possible first-place votes for Rookie of the Year. He finished the season averaging 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game.
The best player Cleveland could bring in to aid the development of Irving is a skilled low post player. Obviously, an Anthony Davis-Irving combination would be a deadly force for years to come.
It'd seem unfair if the Cavaliers were to once again earn the No. 1 pick. It would be like a "Get out of Jail for Free" card from Monopoly. If the Cavaliers strike the top pick, they will go from losing LeBron James to getting two No. 1 picks in two years? There are definitely other franchises that need the top pick more.
6. Portland Trailblazers
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: (via NJ) 75 combinations, 7.5%; 8 combinations, 0.8%
The NBA's most unlucky franchise has picked first in the NBA Draft four times. In 1972, the Portland Trailblazers selected LaRue Martin ahead of both Bob McAdoo and Julius Erving. Martin, who played in a total of 271 NBA games, is considered to be the worst No.1 overall draft pick ever. 35 years later, the Blazers selected Ohio State center Greg Oden with the No. 1 pick. Oden was waived from the Blazers in March because of his inability to stay on the court.
The Blazers acquired the New Jersey Nets' first round pick in a midseason trade that shipped off Gerald Wallace. The pick is top-3 protected. The Blazers have two lottery picks, but can only earn the top pick with their own combinations. If the pick the Blazers acquired from the Nets is a top three pick, the pick will revert back to New Jersey.
If the Blazers earn the top pick, hopefully the team's history of injuries will avoid Davis. Imagine how the city of Portland would react if the Blazers got Davis and he failed to live up to his billing? Portland may be the worst situation for Davis. The expectations he'd face would be impossible and if he suffered any injuries, Blazers fans may permanently begin to wonder, "Why us?"
5. Golden State Warriors
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: 36 combinations, 3.6%
The Golden State Warriors have made the NBA Playoffs once since 1994. Since the 2007-08 season, the Warriors have a record of 162-232. Attending the draft lottery is second nature for the Warriors franchise.
The Warriors are set to move across the bay from Oakland to San Francisco following the expiration of their lease at Oracle Arena. A new arena on the San Francisco waterfront could just be what the Warriors need to bring big name free agents to the bay.
In the mean time, the Warriors desperately need a high draft pick. Another disappointing season could be enough to convince management to start from scratch with this roster. The Warriors do have some talent though. Steph Curry and David Lee are both very good NBA players. The No. 1 pick could be enough to transform the Warriors from bottom feeders into a playoff team.
4. Washington Wizards
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: 199 combinations,19.9%
Here's a laughable statement: The Washington Wizards will pay Rashard Lewis $23,790,000 next season. It will be the final year of Lewis' ginormous contract he received from the Orlando Magic. The Wizards can choose to amnesty Lewis. But with one year left on Lewis' contract, the Wizards can also choose just to hold onto him. Lewis could be a valuable expiring contract come the season trade deadline.
If the Wizards score the No. 1 pick (They have the second best odds), they'll have a key piece to pair with point guard John Wall. Wall is a freak athlete, but someone needs to teach him how to play point guard. He looks confused out there. If Wall had a post presence like Davis, it could take some pressure off him.
The No. 1 pick could turn the Wizards into the next Oklahoma City Thunder. In this year's NBA Draft, the No. 1 pick is worth more than gold.
3. New Orleans Hornets
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: 137 combinations, 13.7%
The New Orleans Hornets' best player, Eric Gordon, is a restricted free agent this summer. Unless the Hornets pony up some money, Gordon's gone.
The Hornets have the fourth best odds at receiving the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. They will look to resign Carl Landry, but if they’re unable, the Hornets will have a huge gap in the low post. Davis is exactly what the Hornets need. Davis, paired with Emeka Okafor, could be a defensive force in the Western Conference. With a lot of cap space, the Hornets could afford to add quality veterans to a team with Davis.
The new owner of the Hornets, Tom Benson, would love nothing more than to add Davis to his roster. A player of Davis' stature could rejuvenate basketball in New Orleans.
2. Sacramento Kings
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: 76 combinations, 7.60%
No fan base has ever been screwed as badly by their owners as the fans of the Sacramento Kings. Not even the late-Seattle Sonics' fans. The city of Sacramento did everything they could in order to keep the Kings in town. In the end, the Kings' owners, the Maloof Brothers, sunk the arena deal they agreed to earlier in the year.
The future of the Kings is in limbo. This may be the last year of NBA basketball in Sacramento. The days of the Kings being one of the best small market franchises are long over. The Kings are now a poorly run franchise and they don't have much in terms of players to build with.
But the No.1 pick could change everything. If the Kings get the No. 1 pick, all of a sudden they'd own two of the best low post players in the NBA. DeMarcus Cousins is an offensive and rebounding force, but his biggest weakness is his defense. Adding Davis would mask Cousins' defensive issues.
Davis could be a savior for basketball in Sacramento. Even if the Kings don't stay in Sacramento, some new city will be lucky to be handed the best low post combination since Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
1. Charlotte Bobcats
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Chance of Getting the No. 1 Pick: 250 combinations, 25.00%
If the Charlotte Bobcats don't win the No. 1 pick, the days of basketball in Charlotte could be numbered.
There's not much to like on the Bobcats' roster. The Bobcats will pay Corey Maggette and Tyrus Thomas a combined $18,924,138 next season. The key building blocks for the Bobcats are Kemba Walker, DJ Augustin and Bismack Biyombo. The issue—none of them are that good.
Anything less than the No. 1 pick will be a failure for the Bobcats. They desperately need the top pick more than any other NBA team. It's not close. If the Bobcats don't get it, next year will be even worse.