Good luck is the last thing Golden State general manager Garry St. Jean wants in the NBA Draft Lottery Sunday.
The reasons are complicated, but - barring a couple of longshot chances involving Orlando and Washington - the Warriors don't want to win the right to pick first overall in the NBA Draft June 24 at Vancouver.In this crazy season where they won 19 games and got more attention for Latrell Sprewell's attack on coach P.J. Carlesimo than their accomplishments on the court, winning the lottery would be equivalent to losing.
"I am coming there, probably one of the few in the history of the lottery wishing for bad luck," St. Jean said. "We don't want one, two or three. If you are going to be there, you can bring a black cat for me."
If one of the Warriors' 105 four-number combinations is drawn when the ping-pong balls pop up, the real winner will be Orlando. The Magic hold the rights to Golden State's pick as part of the 1993 trade in which Orlando shipped Chris Webber - the No. 1 pick overall - to Golden State for Anfernee Hardaway - the No. 3 pick - and three first-round draft choices, including 1998.
So if one of the Warriors' numbers is selected to pick first, second or third in the draft - and Orlando and Washington also don't get a top pick - then the Magic get Golden State's pick.
Because of other trades, most notably the 1994 deal that sent Webber from Golden State to Washington, the Warriors will have a first-round pick.
A longshot would be for Washington to win the lottery. The Warriors hold the rights to that choice. The chances of that happening are less than 1 percent.
And Golden State would be allowed to keep a top three lottery pick if it and either Orlando or Washington finished in the top three for the draft.
"You don't have enough inches in your article for me to explain the total ramifications of that thing that my man Nellie (Don Nelson) did," St. Jean said. "There are scenarios with odds that are phenomenal. It's best to say if we stay out of the top three, we can be 5, 6 or 7, and if we are in that 1-2-3, then we are going down to 12 or somewhere around there."
Denver (11-71) has the best chance at winning the No. 1 pick. The Nuggets have 250 chances out of 1,000 entered in the lottery.
The Los Angeles Clippers have the second best chance, followed by Orlando because of a trade with Golden State. Others eligible to win the lottery are Dallas, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Boston, Detroit and Washington.
The draft is not considered very deep despite the addition of 40 underclassmen, including four high school players and six from overseas.
While there isn't a franchise player like Tim Duncan in 1997, personnel directors say there are six very good players - Arizona's Mike Bibby at point guard, Vince Carter of North Carolina and Paul Pierce of Kansas at the swing position, Antawn Jamison of North Carolina and Raef LaFrentz of Kansas at forward and Pacific's Michael Olowokandi at center.
The lottery will be held about 4:30 p.m. EDT at the headquarters of NBA Entertainment. It will be televised during halftime of the Eastern Conference playoff game between Indiana and Chicago.