The NBA Draft Lottery is a night of potentially endless chaos. Teams could lose picks to rivals. Barely eligible lottery teams can make a jump into the top three slots, giving GMs the chance to select a franchise changer. Executives have to put their phones in sealed envelopes! There’s a secret ping-pong ball ceremony! The madness. The intrigue.
That is, unless, you have a night like Tuesday in which everything goes just how it’s been drawn up and all lottery-bound teams maintain the pick they were supposed to, the likelihood of which was slim according to KSL.com beat writer and Salt City Hoops overlord, Andy Larsen:
The odds of the lottery resulting in exactly the same order are about 2 percent, if I’m doing the math correctly.
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) May 18, 2016
The Utah Jazz entered the Draft Lottery with a mere 0.7% chance of jumping to the top spot, comparable odds to going night swimming, getting dragged underwater by a Tiger Muskee and being adopted by mer-people: slim. While it was certainly “So you’re saying there’s a chance,” territory, it was just not at all likely. In fact, no team with less than 1% chance of winning the lottery has actually made that jump. The Orlando Magic did it in 1993 with a 1.5% chance.
Having sent Jazz President (and blobfish enthusiast) Steve Starks to New York as a representative, the team sat with a 93.54% chance of staying at 12 — a pick that served them well in a deep draft in 2015 when they selected versatile big man Trey Lyles.
My quick draft lottery day thoughts. pic.twitter.com/VeReLbDTfp
— Steve Starks (@StevenStarks) May 17, 2016
“We honestly knew what the odds were, we hoped for better and kind of expected it,” Starks said in a post-lottery interview with the media. “I know Dennis and these guys will do a great job at 12.”
Echoing that sentiment, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said, “We assumed that we were picking at 12 all along. That’s what the odds told us. No big surprise. Not disappointed in the least as we’ve already starting studying this draft’s prospects.”
Lindsey basically left all options open as to what the team will do with that pick.
“I could see us taking any of the three guard, wing, big positions,” he said. “I could see us taking an anticipation pick where we wait a few years before their impact becomes relevant.”
Similarly, Lindsey said that he and his brain trust haven’t committed to using the pick at all.
“We’ll be very active towards looking to trade up, trade back, trade out,” he said.
As the team does their due diligence with workouts and scouting in the weeks to come, Lindsey said he has faith.
“I’m very confident in our diligence,” he said. “I’m very confident in our process.”
The quest for top picks in LSU forward Ben Simmons and Duke alum Brandon Ingram will be a battle between the Philadelphia 76ers, who got the first pick, and the Los Angeles Lakers who will draft second in June. The draft-pick rich Boston Celtics — who fell out of the Eastern Conference playoffs in the first round — will be selecting third.
While there was no miraculous jump, Jazz fans can be excited about how nice the new logo looked on stage!
— Jonathan Rinehart (@jonrinehart) May 17, 2016
And in a separate universe ruled over by the malevolent Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune (who may or may not have been having a fever dream when he conceived this Photoshop), the Jazz got the number one pick, and did something unprecedented:
Took a team of unpaid interns a month of continuously refreshing the mock lottery to get my dream scenario but … pic.twitter.com/nPyL66Jy1b
— Aaron Falk (@aaronfalk) May 17, 2016