Utah Jazz: Team is a long shot to win NBA's draft lottery
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA will hold its annual draft lottery tonight, and, sorry to break the news, but the Utah Jazz's odds of winning one of the top three picks isn't good.
They aren't quite as big of a long shot as Utahns who drove up to Idaho to buy those lottery tickets.
But being the best of the worst teams in the NBA only gives the Jazz, who finished 43-39 but two games out of the playoffs, just half of a 1 percent chance of moving up from their current position at No. 14 to the top spot of the 2013 draft.
Utah also has a 0.59 percent shot at getting the No. 2 selection and a 0.72 percent probability of securing the third pick for the June 27 draft.
On the bright side, their chances are much better than Lloyd's one-in-a-million odds of getting a date with Mary in "Dumb And Dumber."
In other words, yes, we're saying they have a chance.
Just an itsy-bitsy one.
"You have hopes that you just move up," Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said. "It certainly changes your tactics and how you're going to treat the draft. You're able to bring in a different set of prospects."
Jazz president Randy Rigby will be the organization's representative on the live broadcast of the lottery's unveiling, which will take place at 6 p.m. MDT on ESPN from the Disney/ABC Times Square Studios.
Kevin O'Connor, the team's executive vice president of basketball operations, was Utah's rep the previous five times the franchise participated in the lottery.
Lindsey will also be at the event in New York City for Utah. Even if the Jazz don't get as lucky as they did two years ago when fate bumped them up from the No. 6 spot to the third position, the GM likes the team's current spot. The Jazz own two first-round picks — 14th and 21st (from the Deron Williams deal) along with the No. 46 spot in the second round.
In 2011, Utah picked Enes Kanter with the third pick after beating the odds (9.39 percent chance of moving up).
"If we stay there, we like the projections and the different possibilities at 14," Lindsey said. "But I think we'll be able to add to the group in a number of different ways, whether we move up or not."
While landing a lottery spot would be a huge boost for the Jazz, who only have five young players under contract for next season, Lindsey admitted he's leaving the superstitions to Rigby because the Jazz president is the one who'll be on the stage.
Lindsey did recall that he still has a good-luck charm from 2002 when his Houston team jumped up four places and was able to draft Yao Ming despite only having an 8.9 percent chance of getting the top spot.
"I was fortunate enough to find a pretty scuffed-up penny the day we moved from five to one in Houston," Lindsey said. "I may have to go on a long morning walk to see what good-luck charm would be best representative to the Jazz this year."
It better be something really good.
No team with the projected 14th pick has ever nabbed a top-three lottery spot. Charlotte won the third selection from the No. 13 spot in 1999, while Orlando remains the only franchise to go from last to first, but there were only 11 teams in the lottery when that magic happened in 1993.
Orlando has the best shot of winning the lottery this year with a 25.0 percent chance, followed by Charlotte (19.9 percent) and Cleveland (15.6 percent).
JAZZ LOTTO NOTES: The Jazz's highest pick was No. 2 in 1980 (Darrell Griffith). Utah has had six lottery selections, including Kris Humphries (2004) and Ronnie Brewer (2006) at No. 14; Alec Burks (2011) at No. 12; Gordon Hayward (2010) at No. 9; and Deron Williams (2005) and Enes Kanter (2011) at No. 3. The Jazz have never drafted in positions 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 or 13 since the lottery began in 1985.
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