in the NBA Draft Lottery. Following is a brief
insight from Warriors Legend Alvin Attles, who has
made a few trips to past lotteries.
I've represented the Warriors at the Lottery on three different occasions. I went to New Jersey, where the NBA Draft Lottery is held each year, in the initial year of the Lottery in 1985. Prior to that season, what they would do was flip a coin between the team with the poorest record in the Eastern Conference and the team with the poorest record in the Western Conference. In 1984-85, those two teams were the Warriors and Pacers. So we were thinking we had a chance to get Patrick Ewing, who was on every NBA's wishlist coming out of Georgetown in 1985. I remember him being the main guy everyone was hoping to get going into the Draft.
Going into that Draft, I had this premonition that we were going to get the third pick. I didn't bring any good luck charms with me, because I don't really believe that stuff makes a difference, but for some reason I had a premonition. I didn't think we were going to get the number one pick. What I remember most about that Lottery, was that it fell on Mother's Day. I had arranged to bring my sisters and my mother with me to New Jersey. Following the Lottery, I made reservations to take them to dinner.
So the day of the Lottery, I'm sitting in my seat with a little table in front of me. As they were preparing to reveal the positions, I remember hoping we would get number one, but thinking we would get the third pick. Then just that quick, the first name out of the box was the Golden State Warriors. Number seven. The worst pick we could have received. At that moment, I thought of a couple of things. Number one was to turn over that table. That was my first thought. Stand up while grabbing beneath that table and flipping it over in a quick burst of rage. But my rational thinking got the best of me, so I didn't do that. That wouldn't have been too classy. There are a number of people who still tell me they remember my face when they called out that seventh pick. Because what happened was, as soon as the pick was displayed as being ours, the camera zeroes in right on my face. People always say I just had this look of disgust on my face, like, "You've got to be kidding me?"
The funniest part about it was later that night when I went out to eat with my family. The meal was excellent and everything was fantastic; but the greatest thing about it was I didn't jump out of one of those high-rise windows.
As you all know, the Knicks ended up with Patrick. In the end, however, the seventh pick turned out to be a blessing for us as it was Chris Mullin. You take the seven Lottery Picks that season, and it's between Mully and Patrick as to who had the best NBA career.
I think people, by watching the Lottery on television, assume that whoever is representing the team has something to do with the results. The fact is, though, that it is all done for you. We have nothing to do with what happens. People would tell me, "Oh, so you ended up taking the seventh pick in the Draft." I would say, "Oh no, I didn't pick any number. I didn't touch a thing."
I also represented the club in 1986 and 1997. They've changed it a lot from since I first began going. Initially, they would grab that big cardboard envelope out of the Lottery machine, but they stopped that because of the controversy. People thought the cards were too big, or you could see which team's card was in the envelope. That perception put a damper on the Lottery, so now the NBA holds it in a hidden back room where each team also has a representative present. So two people from each team go, one on the stage and one in the back. If you have to be at the Lottery, that's not a bad place to be, in the back. You get to stay out of the limelight. The funny thing is that they also sequester you in that back room. Once you are in that room, you can't leave until the Lottery is over. They have a restroom back there and food, and they also have league observers in that room. That way, once it's been done, you can't go out and leak it during that short period before they go out on stage and announce it to the public.
Warriors General Manager Larry Riley will represent the team at this year's Lottery, and my only advice for him is to not flip over that table in front of him or jump out of any windows if he can help it.