Things To Know Prior To The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery

By Sam Smith

The odds are more than 13 million to one to pick a perfect NCAA bracket. It’s 5,000 to one for a golf hole in one and 11,000 to one to bowl a perfect game. Now, that abides. It’s 88,000 to one to date a super model; higher for many others of us. More than 20,000 to one to become a professional athlete. It’s 182 trillion to one the chances of being hit by a meteor and more than 110,000 to one to be hospitalized from a pogo stick injury. Though I’ve threatened those odds.

But all of that is somewhat similar to the chances—perhaps more than 10,000 to one--the Bulls will get a lottery pick Tuesday. It happens if three teams with the lowest odds—the teams now slated nine through 14--get the right lottery balls and each of their teams move into the top three of next month’s draft.

So, yes, that means there is a chance.

Of course, that also means you may want to keep your eyes out for meteors.

The Bulls have the No. 16 selection in this year’s NBA draft. The lottery is for the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs, or basically made fairly questionable trades.

That would mean you, Brooklyn, which traded the Boston Celtics the right to swap draft picks from the trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Nets finished with the league’s worst record and have the best odds to get the top pick in Tuesday’s lottery drawing.

Even without Red Auerbach running the team, the feeling is the Celtics will exercise their option to switch.

The Lakers also went for it all in similarly ill-advised fashion when they traded for Steve Nash. The Suns got their 2017 pick conditionally. The Suns subsequently traded it to the 76ers in the Michael Carter-Williams/Brandon Knight deal. The Bucks since traded Carter-Williams to the Bulls for Tony Snell. Knight comes off the bench in Phoenix. The Lakers currently have the third best odds. If they fall one spot to No. 4 or below in the lottery, the 76ers get the pick. The Lakers also lose their 2019 first round pick to the Orlando Magic if they fall out of the top three in this drawing.

If that occurs, they’ll need more than Magic.

The Pelicans’ pick will go to the Kings from the Buddy Hield trade unless it’s top three.

That’s where the Bulls come in with Sacramento.

The Bulls have the rights to the Kings’ pick with protection through No. 10 from the Luol Deng trade. The Kings have the eighth best odds. If three teams pass them and they fall to No. 11, the Bulls get the pick. That’s where the long odds come in. If that doesn’t happen, the Bulls get the Kings second round pick this year, No. 38, to end the deal.

The Kings also made another deal with that pick, though the Bulls have first rights. From the Nick Stauskas deal, if the Kings move up in the lottery to top three, the 76ers have the right to swap picks with the Kings. Yes, it has been a confused franchise as well.

Sort of the bi-coastal dysfunction: Brooklyn and Sacramento.

It’s actually going to be an intriguing draft with a sort of consensus No. 1 pick.

Not quite LeBron, but Washington’s Markelle Fultz is regarded by most team executives as the kind of two-way guard who can lead a team. The Celtics with the best odds for the top pick are said to be excited about the chance to pair Fultz with Isaiah Thomas. Which is why they supposedly have not offered any team a trade involving the pick they’ll get from the Nets. The Celtics also own the Nets 2018 first round draft pick from the same deal. Yes, Billy King should get the 2018 Executive of the Year after this for perhaps setting up the Celtics for another championship.

King is the former Nets GM who made those draft pick deals, though, to be fair, it supposedly was under pressure from Russian owner Mikhail Prokorov. Congress should be investigating that. Well, also.

Though not many of us have actually seen Fultz play since his U. of Washington team was 9-22. I know there were likely a lot of factors, but he’s the No.1 pick ready to star in the NBA and his college team in a weak conference was 9-22?

So maybe someone else goes No. 1.

If the Lakers draw the pick, the belief is they’ll select UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who seems as stable and team oriented as his publicity-seeking father seems erratic and selfish. Though many GMs say dad’s antics won’t scare off teams, there are several hoping someone else takes him. Can you imagine Ball’s dad in New York with Phil Jackson, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis? And the New York media asking dad almost every day about lineups, coaching decisions and Anthony’s crazy shots. You really have to root for that one.

The third elite, start-your-team-with point guard is Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, whom some teams like well enough for him to jump to the top two. Kansas Josh Jackson supposedly rounds out that top four first level of the draft.

Others like Duke’s Jayson Tatum, North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith, Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen and Kentucky’s Malik Monk also get mentioned at the fringe of that top four.

With that uncertainty facing the Lakers and perhaps losing the pick, the 76ers could come into next season with the best college team in NBA history. They’ll have last year’s No. 1, Ben Simmons, coming back after missing his rookie season with injury and could end up with two of the top four picks in this draft to go with, hopefully, a recovered Joel Embiid.

Once the order of selections is revealed Tuesday, the trade rumors will start. Or continue.

If Boston doesn’t get a chance at Fultz, would they look to trade the pick? How about the Suns with all their young players and their management now said to be on the clock unless there’s substantial improvement? How about Tom Thibodeau’s Timberwolves? Local media have been beating up Thibodeau for what they call a failure of a season despite the talent. Do the Timberwolves need a top veteran instead of another young player? And, of course, the Knicks. Would they even throw in the pick to get someone to take Anthony?

What’s the odds of that one?

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

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