No moving parts in Wolves' lottery luck

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2014 - 6:57 AM

The bouncing balls left them no better off — as owners of the 13th pick.


Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin, left, and minority owner Jeff Cohen celebrated after their team won the top pick in the the NBA draft lottery for the third time in four years.

Photo: Kathy Willens, Associated Press

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Given their lack of luck in such a thing during the franchise’s 26-year history, maybe that’s something of a victory.

The Wolves stayed put right where their 40-42 record last season placed them — with the 13th overall pick in the June 26 draft. Meanwhile, Cleveland won the draft’s first overall pick for the third time in four years.

Milwaukee will pick second overall despite posting the league’s worst record. Philadelphia will pick third.

Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders waited until Tuesday’s lottery before he proceeds with his coaching search, just so he knew better how his team might look before he hires someone to replace retired Rick Adelman.

Saunders has interviewed former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. Saunders is believed to have interviewed former Toronto coach and former Wolves player Sam Mitchell and former Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles. He still could hire one of those three, or consider possibilities such as longtime NBA coach P.J. Carlesimo, European coach David Blatt, Memphis coach Dave Joerger — if the Grizzlies make more unexpected front-office changes — or himself.

The Wolves survived a 1.8 percent chance that they’d lose that 13th pick to Phoenix as a condition in a trade they made with the Suns nearly two years ago.

The Wolves would have owed Phoenix their pick had the Suns vaulted from the lottery’s 14th position into the top three Tuesday in a made-for-TV event held at a Times Square studio in New York City.

But the Suns didn’t defy the long odds, so the Wolves keep their pick at least until next season, when they will owe Phoenix their pick if the Wolves don’t draft among the top 12 teams.

The Wolves never have beaten the lottery odds during their 26-year history. The best they’ve ever done is draft right there they should have been, given their regular-season record that year.

They didn’t get any luck, either, Tuesday night when both Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers moved back a slot after the Cavaliers, with a 1.7 percent change, leaped from the ninth slot all the way to No. 1.

The Celtics will pick sixth and the Lakers seventh. Either team would have had more ammunition for a potential trade with the Wolves for discontented star Kevin Love had it become a winner Tuesday and moved into the draft’s top three.

The Cavaliers also won the top pick in 2011, when they selected Duke guard Kyrie Irving, and 2013, when they took UNLV forward Anthony Bennett after superstar LeBron James left them in free agency in 2010.

The Wolves sent General Manager Milt Newton to represent them in New York City, but you could have figured their slim chance of finally finding luck in the lottery was doomed when another employee — sent to witness the actual lottery drawing behind closed doors — headed to the hospital before the drawing because of kidney stones.

The Wolves will choose from such prospects as Kentucky swingman James Young, Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas, UCLA combo guard Zach LaVine or possibly Michigan State shooting guard Gary Harris or Creighton forward Doug McDermott if they keep that 13th pick.

Notable former No. 13 overall picks including Karl Malone in 1985, Kobe Bryant in 1996, Jalen Rose in 1994, Corey Maggette in 1999 and Richard Jefferson in 2001. In recent years, that slot brought teams Ed Davis, Markieff Morris, Kendall Marshall and Kelly Olynyk.

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    Wednesday May 21, 2014

    June 26 • New YorkFirst round 1. Cleveland 2. Milwaukee 3. Philadelphia 4. Orlando 5. Utah 6. Boston 7. L.A. Lakers 8. Sacramento 9. Charlotte (from Detroit)10. Philadelphia (from...

  • Michigan’s Nik Stauskas (11) could give the Wolves help at shooting guard if he’s still on the board when the Wolves, if they keep the pick, select No. 13 in June. They again failed to move up in the lottery.

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 89 4th Qtr 8:48
Golden State 104
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
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(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
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Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
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Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
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(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
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