Wolves owner Glen Taylor will head east Tuesday, trying to mine NBA draft lottery gold.
It is Taylor’s first shot representing his team at the draft lottery. He joins a list that includes the likes of David Kahn, Kevin Love, Fred Hoiberg, Flip Saunders and Bob Stein.
It will be the Wolves’ 19th appearance in the lottery since 1990, and the third time they have entered it with the best chance to win the top pick.
They’ve never won it.
In fact, in 18 previous lottery appearances, the Wolves have never improved their position in the draft. They have moved back 10 times. The two times the Wolves had the NBA’s worst record, they dropped to No. 2 in 2011, taking Derrick Williams behind No. 1 overall Kyrie Irving, and No. 3 in 1992, settling for Christian Laettner behind Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning. Their biggest drop was in 1993, when they had the second-worst record but fell to No. 5, taking Isaiah Rider in a draft in which Chris Webber was the top overall pick.
This time the Wolves have a 25 percent chance of winning the top pick, a 75 percent chance of moving backward. Minnesota has a one-in-four chance of getting the top pick, a 21.5 percent chance at No. 2, a 17.8 chance at No. 3 and a 35.7 percent chance of moving back to fourth.
Since the NBA went to a weighted draft lottery system in 1990, there have been clear winners (three teams have won three times) and obvious losers, like the Wolves.
The question is: How to rank the league’s 30 teams from luckiest all the way down to the Timberwolves?
To determine ranking, each team’s plus-minus ranking, adding up forward movement and deducting moves back, was deduced, plus lottery wins and significant leaps in particular lotteries. The results yielded this slightly-less-than-scientific list:
1. New Orleans
Trips to the lottery: 14. Net plus/minus: Plus-19.
Biggest move: From 13 to three in 1999 (Baron Davis).
Notes: As the Charlotte Hornets they moved up six spots to No. 2 in 1992 (Mourning) and up four spots to win the lottery in 1991 (Larry Johnson). As the Pelicans, they moved up three spots to win in 2012 (Anthony Davis).
Trips: 14. Plus/minus: Plus-5.
Biggest move: Up eight spots last year to win the top pick (Andrew Wiggins).
Notes: Modest plus/minus, but Cavaliers won the lottery in 2014, moved up two spots to win it in 2013 (Anthony Bennett) and kept the top pick in 2003 (LeBron James). Plus the Cavs held the rights to the Clippers’ pick in 2011, when L.A. moved up seven spots to win it all (Kyrie Irving).
3. San Antonio
Trips: 3. Plus/minus: Plus-6
Biggest move: Up three spots to win in 1987 (David Robinson).
Notes: Three trips to the lottery and the Spurs have moved up every time, winning twice — in 1987 (Robinson), then up two spots to win in 1997 (Tim Duncan).
Trips: 14. Plus/minus: Plus-6.
Biggest move: Moving up 10 to win it all in 1993 (Webber).
Notes: The Magic hasn’t always moved up but wins big when it does. Orlando moved up a spot in 1992 to win it (Shaquille O’Neal), again a year later (Webber, traded to Golden State for No. 3 pick Anfernee Hardaway) and kept the No. 1 pick in 2004 (Dwight Howard).
5. L.A. Clippers
Trips: 18. Plus/minus: Plus-12.
Biggest move: Up seven to win in 2011; unfortunately for them that pick was owed to Cleveland (Irving).
Notes: Moved from eighth to second in 2001 (Tyson Chandler), up two to win it in 1998 (Michael Olowokandi) and up two to win it in 2009 (Blake Griffin).
Trips: Seven. Plus/minus: Plus-4.
Biggest move: Moved up eight to win it in 2008 (Derrick Rose).
Notes: Also moved up two spots to win the lottery in 1999 (Elton Brand). Two wins in seven trips.
7. Oklahoma City
Trips: Nine. Plus/minus: Plus-9
Biggest move: Up eight to No. 2 in 1990 (Gary Payton).
Notes: In the team’s last year as the Seattle SuperSonics, moved up three to No. 2 in 2007 (Kevin Durant); as the Thunder, moved up one to No. 3 in 2009 (James Harden).
Trips: 13. Plus/minus: Plus-12.
Biggest move: Up four to finish No. 2 in 2010 (Evan Turner).
Notes: Moved up two to No. 2 in 1997 (Keith Van Horn) and up one to win in 1996 (Allen Iverson).
Trips: 12. Plus/minus: Plus-8
Biggest move: Up six to No. 1 in 2000 (Kenyon Martin).
Notes: Moved up three to No. 3 in 2011 (Enes Kanter), a pick owed to Utah.
Trips: 15. Plus/minus: Even.
Biggest move: Up five to win it in 2005 (Andrew Bogut).
Notes: Moved down one spot to No. 2 last year (Jabari Parker), up three to win it in 1994 (Glenn Robinson).
Trips: Eight. Plus/minus: Plus-4.
Biggest move: Up four to win it in 2002 (Yao Ming).
Notes: In eight trips the Rockets have held their pre-draft position seven times, never moving back.
Trips: 17. Plus/minus: Minus-5
Biggest move: Up five spots to No. 3 in 2013 (Otto Porter).
Notes: Moved up only three times in 17 tries, but each was big. Moved up four to win in 2010 (John Wall), and up two to win in 2001 (Kwame Brown). Moved back three in 2009 to No. 5, a pick owed to the Timberwolves (Ricky Rubio).
Trips: Seven. Plus/minus: Plus-4.
Biggest move: Up six to win in 2007 (Greg Oden).
Notes: Up one to No. 3 in 2005 in a pick owed to Utah (Deron Williams). Dropped from No. 1 to No. 4 in 2006 (Tyrus Thomas).
Trips: 10. Plus/minus: Plus-2.
Biggest move: Up two to No. 3 in 2001 (Pau Gasol).
Notes: Moved back only three times in 10 tries, and never by more than one spot.
Trips: 13. Plus/minus: Even.
Biggest move: Up four, twice: To No. 2 in 2009 (Hasheem Thabeet) and to No. 2 in 2000 (Stromile Swift).
Notes: Dropped from first to fourth in both 1997 (Antonio Daniels) and 2007 (Mike Conley).
16. Golden State
Trips: 18. Plus/minus: Minus-2.
Biggest move: Up four spots, twice: To No. 3 in 1993 (Penny Hardaway), and to No. 1 in 1995 (Joe Smith).
Notes: Moved down six times in 18 tries, dropping two to No. 3 in 2002 (Mike Dunleavy) and down three to No. 5 in 2001 (Jason Richardson).
Trips: Five. Plus/minus: Even.
Notes: The Pacers have held their pre-lottery position five times.
Trips: 15. Plus/minus: Minus-2.
Biggest move: Up four spots to win in 2006 (Andrea Bargnani).
Notes: Has moved down five times, including twice by two spots: To No. 5 in 2011 (Jonas Valanciunas) and to No. 4 in 1998 (Antawn Jamison).
19. New York
Trips: Nine. Plus/minus: Minus-1.
Biggest move: Down one to No. 6 in 2008 (Danilo Gallinari).
Notes: It is the only time the Knicks have moved in nine appearances in the lottery.
Trips: Eight. Plus/minus: Minus-2.
Biggest move: Down a spot, twice. To No. 5 in 2013 (Alex Lin) and to No. 9 in 1999 (Tim Perry).
Notes: That is the only two times the Suns have moved in the lottery.
Trips: Six. Plus/minus: Minus-2.
Biggest move: Down a spot, twice. To No. 5 last year (Dante Exum) and to No. 6 in 2005 (Martell Webster), in a pick owed to Portland.
Notes: The Jazz didn’t move in its other four appearances.
22. L.A. Lakers
Trips: Three. Plus/minus: Minus-1.
Biggest move: Down a spot to No. 7 last year (Julius Randle).
Notes: The Lakers didn’t move in 1994 and 2005.
Trips: Eight. Plus/minus: Minus-6.
Biggest move: Down two to No. 4 in 2013 (Cody Zeller).
Notes: The new Hornets/former Bobcats never have moved up in the lottery.
Trips: 10. Plus/minus: Minus-5.
Biggest move: Down a spot five times, including to No. 3 in 1994 (Grant Hill).
Notes: The Pistons have lost a spot five times, held their position five times.
Trips: 10. Plus/minus: Minus-6.
Biggest move: Down three to No. 5 in 2007 (Jeff Green).
Notes: Boston never has moved up, stayed the same six times, dropped four times.
Trips: 11. Plus/minus: Minus-6.
Biggest move: Down three in 1993, from No. 1 to No. 4 (Jamal Mashburn).
Notes: Seven times the Mavs have not moved. The other four times they dropped.
Trips: Seven. Plus/minus: Minus-7.
Biggest move: Down three spots to No. 5 in 1991 (Steve Smith).
Notes: The Heat has moved down in five of seven tries and never has moved up.
Trips: 10. Plus/minus: Minus-10.
Biggest move: Down three spots to No. 4 in 1991 (Dikembe Mutombo).
Notes: The Nuggets have moved down in seven of 10 tries at the lottery.
Trips: 16. Plus/minus: Minus-14.
Biggest move: Down three spots twice. From No. 4 to No. 7 in 1993 (Bobby Hurley) and from No. 1 to No. 4 in 2009 (Tyreke Evans).
Notes: The Kings, who never have moved up, have moved down eight times.
Trips: 18. Plus/minus: Minus-15.
Biggest move: Down three to No. 5 in 1993 (Isaiah Rider).
Notes: Wolves had the worst record in 1992 and 2011. They moved down to No. 3 in 1992 (Christian Laettner) and to No. 2 in 2010 (Derrick Williams). They have moved down 10 times.