Utah Jazz: Long odds separate Jazz from top of lottery
Randy Rigby considers himself a lucky guy, yet he's never bought a lottery ticket.
"I don't do any gambling," the president of the Utah Jazz said. "But you know what? When I've played golf, when I've done different activities I've always felt like I had pretty good fortune for myself."
The Jazz will need that fortune to be in overdrive when Rigby represents them at Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery if they intend to buck history and move out of the caboose of the lottery, No. 14 in June's draft, and into the top 3.
"We're assuming we're 14 until we, fortunately, would hear differently," General Manager Dennis Lindsey said.
The lottery will be held at 6:30 p.m. MDT in Times Square, and can be watched live on ESPN. Former Weber State point guard Damian Lillard, the sixth pick in last year's draft and the NBA's Rookie of the Year, will represent the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Jazz are coming off a 43-39 season, giving them the best record among the 14 teams to miss the playoffs. They officially have a 1 in 200 chance (or 0.5 percent) of landing the top pick, with slight increases of finishing with Nos. 2 or 3.
Those are pretty good odds compared with getting dealt a royal flush in poker (1 in 649,739), but are more realistically compared with those of the Orlando Magic, who have a 1 in 4 chance of landing the top pick.
Since the NBA revamped the lottery system in 1994, only Charlotte in 1999 jumped from the final lottery spot into the top three.
The Jazz have picked 14th twice in their history. In 2004 they selected Kris Humphries, and two years later drafted Ronnie Brewer. The slot has not produced an All-Star since 1996, when the Sacramento Kings drafted Peja Stojakovic.
In the Jazz's five previous trips to the lottery, Executive Vice President for Basketball Operations Kevin O'Connor, then the GM, represented the Jazz on national television. This year, with O'Connor taking on a less visible role with the franchise, the duty went to Rigby.
"He said, 'Have better luck than I've had,'" Rigby said. "That was his only tip."
This draft has been called "historically weak" by one NBA GM, and Lindsey called it "a little flatter up top instead of tiered," meaning there is not clear separation between players who will go in the top few picks and, say, No. 14.
Lindsey, Executive Vice President Kevin O'Connor and former coach Jerry Sloan returned Saturday from the pre-draft combine in Chicago, where Lindsey said the Jazz received "very good reception and interest from agents and players just because we have a lot of roster spots and opportunity to carve out playing time."
This summer, the Jazz will have as many as 10 roster spots to fill due to free agency. The process of reshaping the roster will begin with the June 27 draft.
The Jazz will have three picks in the draft. In addition to their lottery pick, they also own Golden State's first-round pick (No. 21), and in the second round, the Jazz will pick No. 46.
But, depending on where the Jazz ultimately end up in the draft, they will have options.
Lindsey said being "open is a good thing," and that the Jazz, who don't evaluate the draft to be as weak as others, say picks 14 and 21 could both yield good players. Still, they're open to moving up or down.
"I think we can move up," Lindsey said. "We've already had a few loose conversations around that so there's some potential there."
A sticking point there could be whether the Jazz want to part with the No. 21 pick, which is the last piece of the Deron Williams trade, and whether the Jazz could get high enough to warrant shedding a second first-rounder.
"I'm not sure there's great separation between where we're going to pick and how high we can move up and the cost of moving up," Lindsey said. "If that's 21, that's a pretty good player."
Twitter: @tribjazz The odds of the Utah Jazz winning the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery
NBA Draft Lottery
P When • Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
Where • Disney/ABC Times Square Studios in New York City
On TV • ESPN
Implications • The Jazz are slotted No. 14 in the lottery, and have a 0.5 percent chance of earning the first overall pick. They have a 0.59 percent chance of winning the No. 2 pick, and 0.72 percent chance at No. 3.
• The Jazz are making their sixth appearance in the lottery. In 2011, they drafted Enes Kanter and Alec Burks.
• President Randy Rigby will represent the Jazz on national television. In the Jazz's five previous lottery appearances, executive Kevin O'Connor filled the seat.
• If the Jazz remain at No. 14, GM Dennis Lindsey says they are open to moving up or down in the draft, or simply picking there.
The Utah Jazz are slotted 14th in Tuesday's draft lottery. No team has ever jumped into the top-three picks from the 14th spot. Here are the biggest leaps in the lottery since 1994.
Year Team Original position Draft position
1999 Charlotte Hornets 13 3
2000 New Jersey 7 1
2007 Portland 6 1
2008 Chicago 9 1
*NBA revamped weighted lottery in 1994 to give worst team a better chance at winning No. 1 pick. In 1993, the Orlando Magic jumped from the 11th spot to No. 1.
* The Hornets were the final team in the lottery, which did not expand to 14 teams until the league expanded with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004.
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