In two months, give or take a few days, the NBA Draft Lottery will be upon us. If nothing else, the lottery is about the dream. A college talent instantly becomes an All-Star or Hall of Famer in the mind. If only it was that easy to project elite talent. It is a beauty contest and is more about luck than about who knows what about who. Of the 14 teams in the lottery, 10 of them were in the lottery last year so young help doesn’t necessarily promise anything.
The 2012 Lottery was a hit. Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond.
The 2013 Lottery was a big miss. Anthony Bennett. Victor Oladipo. Cody Zeller. Ben McLemore. Trey Burke. The best the lottery had to offer was C.J. McCollum, Steven Adams and Otto Porter. McCollum is the only player on the All-Star track.
The 2014 Lottery? You got something. Andrew Wiggins. Jabari Parker. Joel Embiid. Zach LaVine.
It depends on how the talent is, weak or strong, and even then there are no sure things, no one can predict work ethic, injury, right system, desire.
The number one pick on most draft boards is University of Washington combo guard Markelle Fultz who is being described on the high end as James Harden and on the low end, D’Angelo Russell. He was on a pretty miserable team that didn’t make the tournament and his coach was fired so not many saw him play. What was interesting about Fultz, a 6-4 shotmaker, that had nothing to do with his game, was how Lonzo Ball dissed him. Ball said he was the better player as if to put out there his arrogance- like father, like son- implying he should be the number one pick.
Fultz stayed quiet about it which I liked. Not getting into it with Ball. Let the careers speak for themselves down the line. But Fultz had his turn to respond. He admitted Ball’s comments amused him and inspired him. Teams interested in Fultz love this, that he takes a dig and lets it motivate him but isn’t sensitive enough to look at it as hate.
“I have a lot of respect for him and he’s supposed to say that. Anyone that’s your competitor is going to think they are better. To me it was just funny, he just motivated me to work harder and be sure I put myself further and further in front.”
Fultz is a big dreamer. Not only does he want to be the #1 pick, he is eyeing league MVP and Rookie of the Year.
Fultz numbers at Washington are his numbers at Washington. No one expects him to match that his rookie year: 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists. But he is projected as an elite scorer at the point guard position.
If you are in the lottery and finish with the exact record of someone else in the lottery, there has to be a tiebreaker. They were held Tuesday.
In the lottery, the only tie breaker was between the Knicks and the Timberwolves. Of course the Knicks lost. They lose just about everything they do these days, trading for Derrick Rose, signing Joakim Noah, putting Carmelo on blast.
Lonzo Ball-Markelle Fultz Sweepstakes (Percentages)
#1 pick: 25%, Celtics. 19.9%, Suns. 15.6% Lakers. 11.9%, 76ers. 8.8%, Magic. 5.3% Timberwolves. 5.3%, Knicks. 2.8% Kings. 1.7%, Mavs. 1.1% Pelicans. 0.8%, Hornets. 0.7%, Pistons. 0.6%, Nuggets. 0.5%, Heat.
#2 pick: 21.5% Celtics. 18.8%, Suns. 15.7%, Lakers. 12.6%, 76ers. 9.7%, Magic. 6.0% Timberwolves. 6.0%, Knicks. 3.3% Kings. 2.0% Mavs. 1.3% Pelicans. O.9%, Hornets. 0.8%, Pistons. 0.7%, Nuggets. 0.6%, Heat.