Skip to content

NBA draft lottery: Who needs to win this most?

May 16, 2011, 10:09 PM EST

Minnesota Timberwolves v Boston Celtics Getty Images

Your team isn’t in the NBA draft lottery unless it needs help (or you used to do trades with Isiah Thomas).

Everybody in it needs to win it. Especially this year, where the drop off from All-Star to “maybe he can be a rotation guy in a couple years” to “we’re hoping he can develop” is very quick and steep. The prize at the top is Kyrie Irving of Duke, and although you can debate if he is a future All-Star or superstar, the consensus is you’re getting a very good point guard. And if you’re in the lottery, you take him.

Who needs to win this most? Here are our five picks:

Minnesota Timberwolves (25 percent chance of getting top pick). Why they need to win the lottery: The Wolves won 17 games last season, so they need all the help they can get. They have one building block inside in Kevin Love and a couple decent wing players (Wesley Johnson, Martell Webster), but they need a Mr. Outside. In theory that would be Ricky Rubio, the guard they drafted from Spain two years ago, but despite what Timberwolves management says, there is no reason for him to come over. They win and draft Irving, and they can shop Rubio to fill another need. They won 17 games, so there are a lot of needs.

Cleveland Cavaliers (22.7 percent chance of getting top pick, via their own pick and the Clippers pick). Why they need to win the lottery: Their last top lottery pick left them, and they need another. The Cavaliers won 19 games with a sad roster that suffered a lot of injuries (frankly explaining cold fusion would be easier than explaining how Minnesota won fewer games than Cleveland). There is no position on the floor where they are set. They need stars and role players, as such they are wisely stockpiling draft picks. Irving would give them a guy to start building around. They have two lottery picks, so theoretically they could get the top two picks, and now we are taking about the rebuilding getting fast tracked. And, despite all of Dan Gilbert’s actions, they are owed a break by the basketball gods.

Toronto Raptors (15.6 percent chance of getting top pick). Why they need to win the lottery: Their best player left them and they need a star to replace him. This team won the lottery in 2006 and has Andrea Bargnani to show for it (Hey, it could have been worse, they could have drafted Adam Morrison.) Really, this team has a few pieces — DeMar DeRozan is a good athletic wing, Ed Davis was solid as a rookie, Jarryd Bayless is a quality guard, and even Bargnani can shoot. A top-flight point guard such as Irving ties this team together, and they get a lot better fast. Well, on offense. Until they start defending it’s all moot, but that’s another issue.

Detroit Pistons (4.3 percent chance of getting top pick). Why they need to win the lottery: Maybe this will convince them it’s time to blow it up and rebuild. The Pistons have lived in a limbo with roster that was begging to be broken up and rebuilt, but that couldn’t happen with an unsettled ownership situation. Throw in veteran players in virtual open mutiny against the coach and things got ugly. Right now Rodney Stuckey is the point guard of the future, but he is no Irving at the point. They have a good young center in Greg Monroe and Austin Daye can be a part of the future, but Irving and a new owner might lead to the rebuilding of this team that has been needed for more than a season.

Golden State Warriors (0.8 percent chance of getting top pick). Why they need to win the lottery: This is a long-suffering fan base that had an owner that really didn’t care, they deserve a break. This is a team with some pieces that is about to undergo a makeover and winning the lottery helps that along dramatically. New owner Joe Lacob — who will represent the team at the lottery — is looking to change this franchise into one that plays defense and not Don Nelson’s scatter ball. Sure, they already have two guards in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, but they win the lottery and one of those (*cough* Curry *cough*) will be moved.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Timberwolves signing Miroslav Raduljica to guaranteed contract

    Dec 29, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpty5nmqwmwi1ngu5ownhm2m0nwu5zwvjmwzlnmy0njm4 AP

    Center traded by Bucks, waived by Clippers, signed in China since last season

  2. PBT’s Top 10 NBA stories of 2014, No. 8: Kobe Bryant returns

    Dec 29, 2014, 8:30 AM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    He’s back. And the league is more interesting to watch with him in it.

  3. Raptors’ Tyler Hansbrough dunks, J.J. Hickson ends up in poster (VIDEO)

    Dec 29, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors Getty Images

    Hickson tries to make the right play, but it doesn’t exactly go his way.

  4. Carmelo Anthony sits out second half vs. Portland with sore knee

    Dec 29, 2014, 12:18 AM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwiwm2izn2i3yme1njvjowyzmzi5ywnlndmznzjhztrk AP

    The Knicks next play Wednesday against the Clippers.

  5. Report: Timberwolves expect Ricky Rubio to return in mid-January

    Dec 28, 2014, 10:30 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic Getty Images

    Flip Saunders said this a few weeks ago, too, but Rubio isn’t ready to stick to a timeline just yet.

  6. Paul Pierce ‘shocked’ by Celtics trade of Rajon Rondo to Mavericks

    Dec 28, 2014, 7:30 PM EST

    Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo AP

    It had been brewing for a while, but it still caught most of us by surprise.

  7. Lakers claim Tarik Black off waivers, create roster spot by waiving Xavier Henry

    Dec 28, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings

    Nice move by the Lakers, who pick up a promising big man prospect with an inexpensive non-guaranteed contract.

  8. Kyrie Irving to miss second straight game, out Sunday vs. Pistons

    Dec 28, 2014, 4:29 PM EST

    Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Knee injury suffered on Christmas Day will continue to keep Irving sidelined.

  9. Kobe Bryant will return to Lakers lineup Sunday vs. Suns

    Dec 28, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    Bryant has uncharacteristically sat out the previous three games simply to rest.

  10. PBT’s Top 10 NBA stories of 2014, No. 9: Eastern Conference inadequacy

    Dec 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    Eric Bledsoe, Marcus Morris AP

    Western Conference ends season with huge advantage, begins another right where it left off

  11. John Wall with another 360 layup (VIDEO)

    Dec 27, 2014, 9:00 PM EST

    Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards Getty Images

    He’s done it twice in the last two games.

Featured video

Who will land Josh Smith?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Durant (8658)
  2. K. Bryant (7866)
  3. C. Bosh (6622)
  4. K. Martin (6564)
  5. J. Smith (6512)
  1. K. Leonard (6359)
  2. D. DeRozan (5572)
  3. T. Parker (5479)
  4. A. Bogut (5438)
  5. T. Jones (5415)