T'was The Night Before The NBA Draft Lottery and All Through The League
We all know this lottery is believed to be known in history as the "John Wall Draft.". Like some fans have said, it has all the makings of 2007 with Oden vs. Durant, which one to do?
We also know that each year there are a few givens which I've explained in this article: Timberwolves, Ready To Get Screwed on the NBA Lottery Again? You're Not Alone" target="_blank">Timberwolves, Ready To Get Screwed on the NBA Lottery Again? You're Not Alone. One team will move up that is unexpected, one team will fall back that should have got the No. 1 pick (New Jersey Nets) and the Minnesota Timberwolves will get screwed.
I like many Wolves' fans, are already preparing for the worst . The Wolves picking No. 5, despite the fact they have a 12 percent chance. In Stern's NBA that's more than enough.
While I know the Wolves really pissed him off in 1998 with the Joe Smith illegal signing, that doesn't explain 1989-1997 and the Wolves never so much as moving up once.
If I was an NBA prospect there are three places I'd dread to be drafted: Golden State, L.A. Clippers, and Minnesota.
First, Golden State because of outside of 2007 when they shocked the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks, they historically don't know how to draft and players end up being wasted and mis-used. See Stephen Curry this year.
Sure, promising stats but what did it get the team? Right back early in the lottery. Twenty-six wins, fifth worst record in the league. Its a never ending cycle and Curry is just the latest victim. Look at their roster. Tons of young talent, yet they always go nowhere. Soon, we have to ask why, if you haven't already. Its where careers go to die.
Next, the L.A. Clippers for obvious reasons. Not only are they the butt of every NBA joke the last twenty decades or whenever they began for their history of dubious drafts, but when they literally share the same town as the NBA's (Purple and) Gold Standard, as the second most successful team ever, in the L.A. Lakers and the fact is they simply will never, ever compare no matter what Griffin etc. does. By simply sharing their city, as bad as they do only magnifies it all the worst when the Lakers are right in their backyard all the time.
Finally, the Minnesota Timberwolves with consideration for the Washington Wizards. I cannot put them there because not only did they win an NBA title, even if it was in the 1970's but they also won lotteries even if they did turn into busts in Kwame Brown.
Milwaukee Bucks? Nope. They dominated the 1970's and won a lottery-2005 Bogut and having just made the playoffs with ROY candidate Jennings, their future is looking bright despite their favorable market size to Minneapolis.
New York Knicks? Try again. Not only were they in an NBA finals as late as the 1990's but they also had a good run in the 1970's and won a lottery or two-1985 Patrick Ewing even if you believe as I do it was the start of the draft rigging .
Sacramento Kings? Toronto Raptors? New Jersey Nets? Nope. Kings had nice years from 2000-2002 and proved if not for the Lakers they'd have had at least one title. Raptors had the VinSanity years and a good run or two in the mix. Besides, they too won a lottery in 2006, and as a result things are looking up. Even the Nets made two NBA Finals before losing to the better team each time.
The Wolves have never done any of these things and outside of 2004-05 season when they figured out the recipe for success was to add veteran talent (go figure) and the 1995 Kevin Garnett miracle pick, have nothing to show for 21 years of existence.
With these premises in mind, here is my best guess on the 2010 NBA draft lottery, (will be adjusted in a future column once the actual order is revealed after tomorrow).
1. Sacramento Kings-John Wall
Wall, paired with rookie of the year Tyreke Evans, Carl Landry, and big man Michael Thompson could turn this team around in a hurry, even in the deep Western conference. More likely, however, is that he's just a flashy piece at this point, with that club for years to come as he forms a scary backcourt with Evans giving the fans in NoCal something to buzz about as they rebuild.
I told you someone will move up and Sacramento with about equal odds 15.6 percent @ one compared to 19.9 percent for Wolves) as the Wolves, are primed to do it.
2. Toronto Raptors-Evan Turner
The lottery gets busted. This team made huge strides last year winning 40 games and just missing the playoffs. Obviously Turner's addition pushes both Sonny Weems? Who? aside but more importantly puts Toronto firmly in the playoffs next year. Does it do enough to convince potential free agent Chris Bosh to stay? Depends on how bad the rigged NBA wants this to be a relevant market. Once Bosh leaves that has the potential to dip, even though they'd still survive with their nice nucleus.
3. New Jersey Nets-DeMarcus Cousins
Wolves' fans better pray that the NBA would really like to see Mr. Wall in a big and emerging East Coast market, one that I believe, could include LoseBron James . We already know he and Wall are boyz and could get East coast guy, Calipari to come with them, so it all makes sense. Still, worst case scenario, Nets fall here and take a big man which by shifting either Yi Jilian or Terrance Williams to the bench, instantly makes this 12 win team that much better and deeper. Addition by subtraction.
4. Washington Wizards-Derrick Favors
So what if the Wolves have the best statistical chance (31.9 percent) of getting the fourth pick and at least salvaging what is left of the NBA's premier talent. At least here maybe you'd be able to spin you got "the best of the rest" when we really know the truth and much better. Favors either pushes Oberto to the bench or former Wolf (thank God) Mike Miller to the bench. Either way, he has a more impactful season than your trash first-first round pick.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves-Wesley Johnson
No team falls further despite better odds than the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, the team the NBA loves to hate. We got you again! they yell! Good luck winning with those scraps. Wolves' fans are once again screwed over by the system again despite needing the second most help and most deserving of a break considering they've never got one once in their entire history.
Wolves' fans you really didn't think you'd be drafting here right? That would mean you'd probably be getting one of the NBA's better players and Stern just can't have that right? Anybody but you and your dumb second-year GM. I mean, you are the franchise that not only screwed up last year but the Joe Smith years, Roy for Foye, Love over Mayo and so on. In the NBA's eyes they are doing you a favor since you'd just mess it up.
Want the preview of the first bust of the 2010 NBA draft? If this scenario plays out, look right here.
6. Golden State Warriors-Cole Aldrich
Why Golden State here? Not only can the Wolves fall no further but considering all the years the Wolves chose here and never moved up (did I mention that) or actually slipped to here from five, I know it can be done. Why Cole Aldrich? Does it matter? He can just join the long list of NBA busts here. A perfect match (sorry Cole its not you, its the system as explained above. No one can win here. He won't either.
7. Philadelphia 76ers-Patrick Patterson
When Jason Kapono is your starting small forward at least on the depth chart you know you can use an upgrade. The versatile Patterson fits that need.
8. Detroit Pistons-Ed Davis
It was really who eventually replaces Tayshaun Prince (can you believe he's 30? me neither) or Richard Hamilton whose 32. Over Al-Farouq Aminu I went with Davis but it could go either way at this point.
9. L.A. Clippers-Al Farouq Amiru
Does it really matter? Even if he has success, his team won't. See Gordon, Eric, Brand, Elton, or any other pick in this franchise's putrid history.
10. Utah Jazz, Epke Udoh
Someone is going to have to replace Carlos Boozer as a big once he leaves. Udoh does that nicely as he forms a new frontcourt of the future with Paul Milsap a very nice player that no one knows about because of where he plays. Udoh's small school will help him disappear into this environment of small markets that are actually successful despite the perception.
11. Indiana Pacers-Greg Monroe
The NBA lottery generator I used on ESPN.com had Udoh and Monroe switching spots. I knew that they meant. Each team needs a big so it really doesn't matter which one it is unless you are a fan of either of these teams. I am not, so Monroe is the next best fit, in every sense of the word, here.
12. New Orleans Hornets-Hassan Whiteside
My NBA lottery generator spit out Kentucky's Daniel Orton here but if we are just going to go with over-matched crap prospects, at this point why not try Hassan Whiteside who I, and many would argue has better up-side no pun intended. Be wary though that like Patrick O'Bryant out of Bradley, Whiteside too comes out of a small school in Marshall meaning his potential to bust is higher. The clueless and declining Hornets seems like the right match for this.
13. Memphis Grizzles, James Anderson
Outside of predicted 2009 bust Hasheem Thabeet, the young Grizzlies roster is actually quite solid. Whoever gets picked here won't start but will add tremendous depth, perhaps as a sixth man. Because we're just going for depth here, anyone is in play but why not the steady James Anderson out of Oklahoma State who I've always liked and whom nbadraft.net currently has as the pick . I said this much before I saw that. Maybe we are on to something?
14. Houston Rockets, Donatas Motiejunas
When you get beyond the one surprise of the lottery each year, this year Toronto I pick makes the big jump they don't deserve, even though I have no problem with them, the rest of the lottery has to be chalk. In a team with a history of of foreign players: Scola, Ming, Mutombo, or one of my all-time favorites, Hakeem Olajuwon, as well as a growing diverse market, this would make sense. If he's seen as a throw-away pick who cares, they can stash him and develop him.
I hope I'm wrong, for the sake of the Wolves who desperately need it, and the league who doesn't. This has never really been my forte, but we'll know soon enough!
Statistics and information courtesy: ESPN.com, NBAdraft.net, and Youtube which directly contributed to the content of this article.
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