Predicting The NBA Draft Lottery

Alex ShultzCorrespondent IMay 17, 2010

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 27:  John Wall #11 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the east regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 27, 2010 in Syracuse, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images


Most NBA fans are enjoying the Orlando/Boston and Los Angeles/Phoenix battles in the Conference Finals. 

Others are discussing every possible destination for LeBron James in the coming offseason, since he’s sitting at home watching the Celtics and Magic fight it out.

A select group of fans (including myself) root for teams so terrible that there really hasn’t been much for us to talk about. Until Tuesday, that is.

The NBA draft lottery is the start of a new season for every downtrodden fan wishing for a fresh start. I’ve looked into my crystal ball and discovered what’s going to happen on Tuesday night, when one team wins the John Wall sweepstakes. Read below to find out your team’s fate.

Teams are arranged based on their projected chance to win the top pick in the lottery.


First Pick--Projected favorites to win: New Jersey Nets

What will actually happen: New Jersey will slip to the third selection in the draft, but no one in the Nets organization will notice, because they’ll be partying with new owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Actual New Jersey fans will freak out, because their shot at LeBron James instantly decreased from .01% to the same chances that the Clippers will make the playoffs in the next millennium.


Second PickProjected favorites to win: Minnesota Timberwolves

What will actually happen: The Timberwolves win the first pick, because the basketball Gods have an evil sense of humor. David Khan will be ecstatic, because who wouldn’t want three young point guards on one team? Heck, who says Khan won’t grab another point guard at pick 15?

All kidding aside, Khan won’t even consider trading any of his point guards. You’d think that statement in itself would be a joke, but it’s the unfortunate truth. 

On the bright side, if another “NBA Street” video game comes out, the Timberwolves will definitely rack up the most trick points with their guards. So congrats on that.


Third PickProjected favorites to win: Sacramento Kings

What will actually happen: Chris Webber cursed his former team for all of eternity, so it’s a long shot for the Kings to stay at the third pick or even move up. They’ll fall to pick five, because we all know how poorly Sac-Town’s lottery representative, Tyreke Evans, handles long shots.


Fourth PickProjected favorites to win: Golden State Warriors

What will actually happen: The Warriors will stay put, pick DeMarcus Cousins, and possibly surpass the Jail Blazers as the most immature team ever assembled. They will also be more entertaining than “Basketball Wives” on VH1.

Start the countdown: Monta Ellis, Anthony Randolph, and DeMarcus Cousins versus Don Nelson is just a few months away.


 Fifth PickProjected favorites to win: Washington Wizards

 What will actually happen: The basketball Gods might enjoy messing with the Timberwolves, but they aren’t inhumane. The Wizards will move up to the second pick. They deserve a little good luck.

Seriously, their best player, Gilbert Arenas, just left a halfway house. Washington’s two other all-stars are gone, and the one actual scorer they brought in (Josh Howard) had his leg explode two games after getting traded. At some point, the karma has to change.

Plus, Kwame Brown was arguably the biggest bust ever. Can’t forget that.


Sixth PickProjected favorites to win: Philadelphia 76ers

 What will actually happen: Philadelphia is just a boring team. Yeah, Andre Iguodala makes Sportscenter fairly often, but is there anything else to be encouraged about? The 76ers don’t even have a coach yet.

They’ll stick with the sixth selection, and pick a boring player. Cole Aldrich is a good candidate, since his offensive arsenal is a bunch of fundamentally sound, slow moves.

Don’t complain though, Philadelphia fans. You guys have a great baseball team, and you have a hall-of-fame quarterback on the Eagles. Oh wait…


Seventh PickProjected favorites to win: Detroit Pistons

 What will actually happen: The basketball Gods will show their ugly, round, orange heads again. This time, it’s to punish GM Joe Dumars for wasting all of the Pistons’ money on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva instead of waiting until this offseason to go after much better players. Joe, you don’t look very smart right now. I didn’t look very smart after picking Gordon for my fantasy team, but still.

Pistons fall all the way to the tenth pick.


Eighth PickProjected favorites to win: Los Angeles Clippers

 What will actually happen: Hah! It’s the Clippers. They got the first pick last year, and he never even touched the court.

Don’t even bother thinking happy thoughts, Clipper fan (that’s singular for a reason). Los Angeles falls to the thirteenth pick, where their unluckiness as a franchise is metaphorically represented by the most superstitious number possible.


Ninth PickProjected favorites to win: Utah Jazz

What will actually happen: Since the good teams always seem to improve on their winning ways, Utah will move up to the seventh pick. Greg Monroe is a possibility if Carlos Boozer starts indicating that he might bolt from Utah, which he will, since he leaves situations right before something awesome happens (like playing with LeBron James in 2003).

More importantly, the Jazz got this pick from a trade involving Tom Gugliotta in 2004, and he had the coolest name in the NBA during his playing days. I’m not sure why I remembered this, but as I did, it’s obviously relevant.


Tenth PickProjected favorites to win: Indiana Pacers

 What will actually happen: Indiana is a mess. They have no cap room, one good player, and far too many white guys. Just like the 76ers, they’re also a very boring team.

Pacers get pick 11, where they can take a “project player” like Daniel Orton or Hassan Whiteside. Might as well go for the possible home run pick. Beats watching Mike Dunleavy and Roy Hibbert again.


Eleventh PickProjected favorites to win: New Orleans Hornets

What will actually happen: The Hornets struck gold with Darren Collison last year, and this year, they get the ninth pick. Why? No reason in particular, they just have to fit into the lottery somewhere.

Don’t complain about the lack of creativity behind the explanation, Hornets fans. You move up two spots just because the Pistons and Clippers have been cursed. Feel grateful that you’re in the good graces of the basketball Gods.


Twelfth PickProjected favorites to win: Memphis Grizzlies

What will actually happen: There’s always the one lucky team that randomly moves up three or four spots. That’ll be the Memphis Grizzlies going from 12 to 8.

The Grizz don’t necessarily deserve to move up after picking Hasheem Thabeet at number two last year. The majority of America knew Thabeet had “bust” written all over him, but hey, Memphis GM Chris Wallace is the same guy who gave the Lakers Pau Gasol, so what were you expecting?

Use the pick wisely, Chris. Don’t take anyone taller than 7’2", and don’t make a draft-day deal to bring Allen Iverson and Darius Miles out of retirement.


Thirteenth PickProjected favorites to win: Toronto Raptors

 What will actually happen: Toronto will move up to the number 12 pick, and take another European guy so they can break the world record for most languages spoken in a basketball practice.

On an unrelated note, Toronto fans can look forward to Chris Bosh announcing his free agency decision via Twitter this summer.


Fourteenth PickProjected favorites to win: Houston Rockets

 What will actually happen: GM Daryl Morey went to MIT, so don’t question him.

The Rockets will remain at the fourteenth pick, choose someone no one else has ever heard of, and then reap the benefits when he ends up as the next Carl Landry/Aaron Brooks surprise star.

Either that, or he’ll become the next Chuck Hayes, also known as John Hollinger’s surprise star of weird basketball stats.


To recap, here’s the final draft order.


  1. Minnesota Timberwolves
  2. Washington Wizards
  3. New Jersey Nets
  4. Golden State Warriors
  5. Sacramento Kings
  6. Philadelphia 76ers
  7. Utah Jazz
  8. Memphis Grizzlies
  9. New Orleans Hornets
  10. Detroit Pistons
  11. Indiana Pacers
  12. Toronto Raptors
  13. Los Angeles Clippers
  14. Houston Rockets


Mark those picks down. Tim Donaghy told me they were right.



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