Non-playoff teams now get their chance of improving their roster. The NBA Draft Lottery is set on May 20 (May 21 Wednesday Manila time) with the Miami Heat (15-67), Seattle Supersonics (20-62) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (22-60) – owners of the three worst records in the NBA getting 25%, 19.9% and 13.8% chances, respectively to gain the top pick. The prize? Well, either Memphis blazing guard 6-3 195-lb. Derrick Rose or Kansas State’s high-scoring forward 6-9 235 lb. Michael Beasley.
Either way you can’t go wrong, although many teams now prefer Derrick Rose as the possible top choice after leading Memphis to the NCAA finals, and with the success of teams led by young and talented points Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets and Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz. Mathematically, there is a chance (albeit slim) that the Golden State Warriors will wind up with the first overall pick despite having an odds of 0.5%. Last year the Portland Trail Blazers landed the top pick despite having a 5.3% chance of winning it. The top 3 worst teams in the league last year: Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks, never got a spot in the top 3 in the lottery. The Blazers used the top pick to select Greg Oden of Ohio State. Oden missed the season for the Trail Blazers but you know the impact of Oden on a basketball team.
If the Miami Heat get the top pick, they will almost surely select Derrick Rose. Rose is a highly-athletic guard who has size (6-3), blinding speed, and leadership skills. He has been compared favorably to the likes of Chris Paul and Jason Kidd, both top caliber guards and could be better because he has great athleticism combined with his point guard skills. Rose almost led Memphis to the NCAA title (they lost 75-68 in OT to Kansas Jayhawks), falling one free throw short but had a remarkable game (18 points) in probably the most important game of his life to show his readiness for the pro league. With Rose and Dwayne Wade on the backcourt, the Miami Heat will put together one of the most formidable backcourt tandem in recent memory.
If Rose is taken in with the top pick expect team number 2, probably the Seattle Supersonics based on the odds, to take Michael Beasley. Beasley is a highly-athletic, high-scoring forward who can shoot the lights out from deep and also score inside. With Beasley and Durant, they have a 1-2 combo who could give other teams fits in the frontcourt. Beasley can play either 3-4 (although he’s best suited at 3 at this point because of his size) and is highly-intelligent. He will create mismatches on the floor with his inside-outside ability.
Other players who could play their way into the lottery are OJ Mayo of UCLA, one of the famed Lopez’ twins 7-0 Brook Lopez of Stanford, Jerryd Bayless who comes in the long line of Arizona’s great guard corps, Eric Gordon of Indiana who have drawn comparisons to Dwayne Wade, 7-0 project DeAndre Jordan of Texas A&M, 6-10 Anthony Randolph of Lousiana State University, 6-9 Italian sensation Danilo Gallinari (who could be the second coming of Toni Kukoc), France’s 6-8 wunderkind Nicolas Batum, 6-9 Kevin Love (have you seen him recently? he’s lost some pounds and moves better), 6-9 Darrell Arthur of Kansas, 7-0 JaVale McGee of Nevada, 6-7 Chase Budinger of Arizona (who plays a lot like a young Brent Barry), one of the nation’s top guards in DJ Augustin from Texas, 6-4 Russell Westbrook of UCLA, 6-8 Joe Alexander of West Virginia and 7-2 278-lb Georgetown center Roy Hibbert (remember how he outdueled Greg Oden in the NCAA tournament last year).
If the New York Knicks wins the lottery on Wednesday (our time), expect hell to break loose in Madison Square leading to the Official NBA Draft on June 26. New coach Mike D’Antoni (previously of the Phoenix Suns) would want no less than an athletic, Steve Nash-caliber point to run the break for the Knicks. Derrick Rose could give life to the city that has not been to the playoffs since the 2003-04 season.