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Bucks hope for lucky lottery leap

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Charles F. Gardner
May 17, 2011
— The Milwaukee Bucks will be seeking a first in today’s NBA draft lottery.

They are hoping to become the first team to jump from the No. 10 spot to the No. 1 overall pick since the weighted draft lottery system began in 1990.


The Bucks did move from the No. 6 slot to No. 1 in 2005, when they selected 7-foot center Andrew Bogut. They had a 6.3 percent chance to grab the top spot that year.


Bucks general manager John Hammond will represent the Bucks during the lottery ceremony, which will be held in Secaucus, N.J., around 7:30 p.m. (Milwaukee time) and televised on ESPN.


A total of 14 teams will have a shot at the No.1 pick, with the Minnesota Timberwolves having the best chance (25 percent).


The Bucks have a 1.1 percent chance of grabbing the top pick and nearly a 4 percent chance of moving into one of the top three spots.


Hammond also represented the Bucks at the lottery proceedings in 2009, when they were at No. 10 and stayed there, eventually drafting point guard Brandon Jennings with that pick.


Milwaukee made the playoffs a year ago and did not have a lottery pick last June but took power forward Larry Sanders with the 15th pick.


“What the lottery does, it gives you the opportunity to focus on fewer players,” Hammond said. “The higher in the lottery you are, the smaller group you’re going to have.”


Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, Arizona power forward Derrick Williams, Turkish center Enes Kanter and Connecticut guard Kemba Walker are considered some of the top players in the draft.


Irving could be the top pick despite playing only 11 games as a freshman with the Blue Devils after injuring his right big toe in an early-season game.


But an uncertain draft picture could change several times in the next month as the NBA draft combine takes place in Chicago this week and teams begin bringing players to their facilities for workouts.


The Bucks will be represented in Chicago by Hammond, coach Scott Skiles, assistant general manager Jeff Weltman, director of player personnel Dave Babcock and director of scouting Billy McKinney. They will have the chance to interview as many as 18 draft prospects in 30-minute sessions during the combine.


In the first weighted lottery held in 1990, Seattle moved up from No. 10 to the second pick and chose point guard Gary Payton. New Jersey had the top pick that year and chose forward Derrick Coleman.


In 1993 Orlando went from No. 11 to No. 1, a result that led to a tweaking of the lottery format to give the team with the worst record a better chance of winning the lottery.


The Timberwolves will be trying to counter some tough lottery luck as they aim to remain in the No. 1 slot. In 13 previous trips to the lottery, the Timberwolves have gone backward seven times and stayed put six others.


The last time the team with the worst record won the lottery was in 2004, when Orlando picked center Dwight Howard.


Cleveland will have two chances in the lottery, holding the second and eighth slots entering today. The Cavaliers will have a 19.9 percent chance of winning with their own pick and a 2.8 percent chance with the pick owed them from a February trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.


The Utah Jazz also have two chances of winning, from the sixth and 12th positions.


The Bucks have won the lottery twice, in 1994 and 2005. They went from fourth to first in ‘94 when they selected Purdue forward Glenn Robinson.



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