Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Long Lottery

NBA Draft Lottery goes down tonight at 5 p.m. Pacific. Forgot? You're not the only one.

And in this case, it feels real good to forget. It was miserable ending up with the worst possible pick in 2006 (though that turned out just fine), elating to buck the odds and come away with the top pick in 2007 and somewhat relaxing to end up right where we should have in 2008. Now that we've made our return to the playoffs, we have the luxury of not having to care at all about the Mid-May Ping Pong Ball-a-thon.

But if you're one of those folks who always like to have a pony in the race, consider rooting for the Wizards to beat out the Clippers for position in the draft.

The Clippers ended up tied with the Wizards for the second worst record in NBA last season, which required a coin flip to decide which team would get one extra ball in the hopper during the lottery. The Wiz won the flip, resulting in Washington having 178 chances out of a 1000 to win the lottery. By losing the coin flip, the Clips have 177 chances out of 1000 to win the lottery.

None of that makes much of a difference to we Trail Blazers fans, until you get to the second round. See, the Trail Blazers acquired a second-round pick from the Clippers in exchange for Mike Taylor (the first D-League player to be drafted) during a 2008 draft night trade.

But since the Wizards and Clippers finished with the same record, the order of the second round is determined by which of those two teams finishes higher in the draft lottery. The coin flip doesn't apply. The team that ends up with the better first round pick gets the worse of the second round picks. And since the Trail Blazers own the Clippers 2009 second rounder, we would end up with the 32nd pick, rather than the 33rd, if the Wiz get the better of the lottery. Small potatoes, but at least it's something. And according to Draft Express, that could be the difference between Jermaine Taylor out of Central Florida and Sergio Llull from Euro club Real Madrid. So there's that.

Of course, you could also argue it's better for the higher pick to go to the Eastern Conference, wherein we'll only have to play against said pick twice a season until we make the NBA Championship, but that's a topic for another post.

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