Clippers Find Their 2018 Draft Lottery Lucky Charm
NBA players, coaches and front office members constantly search for marginal advantages, watching hours of film and studying piles of data for insight towards improvement. Outcomes of 48-minute games are decided in flash, whether it be a perfectly timed screen to free the ball handler or a missed defensive rotation. Hours of nuanced practice comes before the moment, with teams rehearsing every conceivable situation that could happen days, weeks, and even months earlier. Yet, although there is such an emphasis on certainty and preparation, the NBA Draft Lottery is the opposite, a random, probability based event that could alter a franchise’s outlook for the next 10 years.
The Clippers, with only a 2.18-percent chance of moving into the top-three of the draft, are doing their best to influence the outcome, bringing along a lucky Clippers medallion courtesy of John Holtz, winner of the organization’s social media campaign to find a ‘lucky charm.’
“My friend Gordon, who is also a season ticket holder, saw it in New Orleans on a trip during Mardi Gras, and was so shocked [to see it in New Orleans] he had to get it for me,” said Holtz.
A 10-year Clippers season ticket member, Holtz volunteers for the Special Olympics, coaching basketball in the Los Angeles region. His players call him “Clipper John” due to his unrelenting fandom and his penchant for wearing Clippers gear at every practice. Everybody that has met John knows he’s a Clipper-lifer, which is why his friend bought him the pendant, featuring the team’s logo on a white medallion, held by red and blue alternating beads.
Is it lucky? Holtz swears it is, declaring that every time he’s worn the charm the Clippers win. On Holtz’s instagram, he’s seen wearing the medallion following a game against the Magic — a Clippers’ victory. All in all, Holtz says he’s 10-0 with the charm.
After his lucky charm was selected as the contest winner, Holtz was invited to visit the Clippers’ training facility to transfer the medallion to the team’s Combine contingent. On-site, he had a chance to meet center Boban Marjanovic.
“[Boban]’s me and my wife’s favorite player,” Holtz said. “Being at the games, everybody wants to see him play. He’s so awesome, and he puts numbers up like crazy.”
The two spoke mostly about Holtz’s day-to-day coaching life, where he preaches an egoless, team-centric style of play. Right now, Holtz is working on boxing out with his team, something he joked with the 7-foot-3 Marjanovic, “you’re pretty good at.”
After talking with Boban, Holtz was lucky enough to cross paths with the man who will be carrying the pendant at the Lottery — Jerry West. The two talked the upcoming draft and the Clippers’ 2017-18 season for a few minutes. As The Logo walked away, he looked at Holtz with a smile and said, “appreciate the charm, we can certainly use the help.”
In 2014, the Cavaliers won the first pick with a 1.7-percent chance. In 2008, the Bulls won with a 1.7-percent chance, as well. Back in 2001, the Clippers entered the lottery with only a 3.38-percent chance of receiving the second pick, and got it. This year, The Clippers have a 0.60-percent chance of winning, a 0.71-percent chance of receiving the second pick, and a 0.87-percent chance of getting the third pick.
Their pick will most likely remain at the 13th spot, but with a little boost from Clipper John’s lucky charm, who knows.