|NBA's losing teams hope for big score in lottery|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 19 May 2008 11:31|
Mike D'Antoni will try to make the Knicks fortunate before he can make them good, and the Seattle SuperSonics are sending Kevin Durant in hopes of landing the next, well, Kevin Durant.
They are all expected Tuesday night at the draft lottery, the NBA's shortcut to go from loser to winner.
Just like last year, two stud freshmen are the top prizes. The Miami Heat have the best chance to win the right to choose between Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose, but history says they won't. Only twice, in 2003 and '04, has the team with the best odds won under the current lottery format, which began in 1994.
That's why the other 13 teams headed to Secaucus, N.J., will do what they can to boost their hopes. The hometown Nets, back in the lottery for the first time since 2001, are sending team investor Shawn Carter, better known as rap mogul Jay-Z, to take their seat on the stage.
``This is very exciting and I hope my nickname 'Lucky Lefty' holds up,'' he said.
The Nets have just a 1 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick. Jay-Z will be seated next to Indiana Pacers president and Hall of Famer Larry Bird. Durant and Miami's Dwyane Wade are among the star players representing their fallen franchises.
The Knicks, with a lottery pick again after shipping top-10 choices to Chicago each of the last two years in the Eddy Curry trade, are sending new coach D'Antoni.
``I want Mike to come with me because he's lucky they tell me,'' new president Donnie Walsh said. ``We need somebody with luck. I haven't been lucky in that thing.''
The lottery determines the top three picks, with the rest of the first 14 spots made in inverse order of a team's record. The Heat's NBA-worst 15-67 finish gives them a 25 percent chance of choosing first and they can do no worse than fourth.
Seattle has a 20 percent chance of getting the top pick, with Minnesota and Memphis at 14 percent.
The odds meant nothing last year, when Memphis, Boston and Milwaukee, the teams with the three worst records, all fell out of the top three spots, the first time that had happened under the current format.
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The Celtics were one of the devastated teams last year, when they had the second-best chance of landing a top-two pick and instead tumbled all the way to fifth. Boston then packaged that pick in a trade with Seattle to acquire Ray Allen, and later pried Kevin Garnett from Minnesota in another deal.
The Celtics will be hosting Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals a few minutes after the lottery finishes, so perhaps the Heat or Sonics shouldn't despair if the balls don't bounce their way.
``If it's not No. 1 or No. 2, the balls fall as they may, the chips fall as they may,'' Wade said. ``We've just got to make the best choice that we can make. Whether it's keeping the pick, trading the pick, whatever we're doing, we've just got to make the best choice for the team that we have and the faces of the team that we have ... bringing the right guy in, that's what it's all about.''
New York has the fifth-best chance at No. 1, with the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Chicago and New Jersey rounding out the top 10. Indiana, Sacramento, Portland and Golden State - which missed the playoffs in the powerful Western Conference despite a 48-34 record - are the four biggest long shots.
The Knicks can do no worse than eighth, still an improvement after losing what would have been the Nos. 2 and 9 choices the last two years. That's little reassurance to Walsh, hoping to quickly jump-start the rebuilding in New York.
``I'm not comfortable at all. I want to win it. I really want to win it,'' Walsh said. ``There's good talent, one through eight. Obviously one is going to be better than eight.''
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.