The Orlando Magic possess the best chance of winning the NBA Draft lottery, which of course means they probably won’t.
That’s just the way the lottery typically works. You lose all season long — then you lose again.
It’s actually a good system, as the league doesn’t reward a team for stinking. You can be awful, the NBA seems to say, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the first overall pick in the draft. You just can’t do worse than third.
Unless you’re the Magic, who could really use the No. 1 pick. But history shows that the inception of the lottery in 1985, the team with the worst record has won just four times.
That’s four times … in 27 years.
On the bright side, the Magic were one of those teams, in 2004, when they drafted Dwight Howard.
Coming in with the second-worst record are the Charlotte Bobcats, followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
What makes this particularly lottery so interesting is, even if you win it, there’s no clear-cut top prospect. A lot of folks are saying it will come down to Kentucky center Nerlens Noel or Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.
But Noel tore his ACL in February and McLeMore bombed late in the season and at the draft combine. Still, the draft is all about upside these days, and those two are viewed as the two guys with the most.
If the Magic win the lottery, they’re seem more likely to take McLemore. Same with the Bobcats. If the Cavs or Phoenix Suns (fourth-worst record), they’re more likely to go with Noel.
But that’s just a theory, and most of what happens between now and the June 27 draft will be determined by how well prospects perform when teams bring them in for individual workouts.
If those don’t go well, teams will consider trading their pick. If there ever were a year to do it, league executives have hinted, this is it.
Either way, by the end of the night, the NBA Draft will become very interesting. It just might be as interesting as the team with the league’s worst record may like.