Odds were defied at the top of Tuesday’s draft lottery, but not by the Utah Jazz.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers climbed two spots to pick No. 1 overall in June’s draft, the Jazz remained slotted at No. 14, the final pick in the lottery.
“It certainly gives us clarity,” Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said. “We had done all of our work up to this point with 14 in mind, and that if we moved up we’re playing with house money there.”
With less than a 2 percent chance of moving into the top three of the draft, the Jazz were a near-lock to pick 14th for the third time since 2004. In ’04, the Jazz selected Kris Humphries, and two years later picked guard Ronnie Brewer.
The Washington Wizards shook up the draft order when they jumped from eighth to third, knocking Charlotte — which on Tuesday announced plans to revert to the nickname of the city’s first franchise, the Hornets — out of the top three and into fourth.
The Orlando Magic, who entered the lottery with a 25 percent chance of picking first, dropped to second. They will be followed by Washington, Charlotte, Phoenix, New Orleans, Sacramento, Detroit, Minnesota, Portland, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Dallas and the Jazz.
The Thunder, who won the Western Conference this season, moved into the lottery by virtue of a leftover piece of the trade that sent James Harden to Houston.
While the lottery has become an annual tradition for some franchises — Cleveland will pick first overall for the second time in three years — it remains a somewhat unusual place for the Jazz to be. Tuesday marked just the sixth time the franchise appeared in the lottery, although two of those have come since 2011.
With executive vice president Kevin O’Connor, formerly the Jazz’s general manger, stepping out of the spotlight this year, president Randy Rigby replaced him as the face of the Jazz for the nationally televised lottery, which was held at ESPN studios in New York City’s Times Square.
“Odds weren’t in our favor,” Rigby said, “but it was an enjoyable experience, but hopefully we’re not going to be there often to keep doing this.”
The Jazz will have numerous opportunities to redirect the franchise this summer, with two first round picks (the Jazz also own No. 21, courtesy of Golden State and the Deron Williams trade) and will have as many as 10 free agents to replace.
At the top of the draft, the Cavs are favored to select Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, with other top prospects including Kansas guard Ben McLemore, Georgetown forward Otto Porter, and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo. The top point guard in the draft, Michigan’s Trey Burke, is expected to be off the board by the time the Jazz pick at 14.
If they pick at 14.
Lindsey has made it clear the Jazz are open to the possibility of moving up or down in the draft, although he said they would not move up simply to move up.
“The bar would be very high for us to make that decision,” he said, “and usually you’re talking about one or two specific players when you get down to it.”
Still, No. 14 has been something of dead man’s land in the last decade-and-a-half. The slot has not produced an All-Star since Sacramento drafted Peja Stojakovic in 1996.
The Jazz’s top priority in the offseason will likely be adding a point guard. All three point guards on the roster last season — veterans Mo Williams, Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson — are free agents and all 30 or older.
At the pre-draft combine last weekend in Chicago, Lindsey said the Jazz were popular among potential draftees, particularly guards.
“The players,” Lindsey said, “were very aware of the opportunities that are available in Utah. ... As you can imagine there were a few guards that were aware that we didn’t have anybody under contract.”
6. New Orleans
12. Oklahoma City
With the 14th pick …
The Jazz have the No. 14 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Players who might be available (in alphabetical order):
Player Ht/Wt Pos From
Steven Adams 7-0/255 C Pittsburgh
Comment: Size, athleticism and a mid-range jumper
Rudy Gobert 7-1/235 C/PF France
Comment: Young (19) rim protector with 7-9 wingspan
C.J. McCollum 6-3/190 PG Lehigh
Comment: Jazz dream scenario might be him slipping
Kelly Olynyk 7-0/234 C/PF Gonzaga
Comment: Has Utah asked John Stockton about him?
Mason Plumlee 6-11/245 PF Duke
Comment: Has the look of a solid pro for a long time
Dario Saric 6-10/235 SF Croatia
Comment: Size, game a little like Andrei Kirilenko
Dennis Schroeder 6-2/168 PG Germany
Comment: Made a huge impression at NBA combine
Recent No. 14 picks
2012 • John Henson, Milwaukee
2011 • Marcus Morris, Houston
2010 • Patrick Patterson, Houston
2009 • Earl Clark, Phoenix
2008 • Anthony Randolph, Golden State
2007 • Al Thornton, L.A. Clippers
2006 • Ronnie Brewer, Utah
2005 • Rashad McCants, Minnesota
2004 • Kris Humphries, Utah
2003 • Luke Ridnour, Seattle
2002 • Fred Jones, Indiana