Orlando Magic win NBA draft lottery

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CHICAGO — Joel Glass, a longtime public relations officer for the Orlando Magic, entered a segregated ballroom in the ballroom of the McCormick Place Convention Center with a black backpack with a team-issued bag label and Three lucky charms.

The Magic, who have missed the playoffs in eight of the past 10 seasons, named Glass as their lottery representative in the NBA’s draft lottery, meaning that when Ping-Pong was selected to determine the top-four pick but was eliminated, he Will be in attendance until the results are announced on national television. The people in charge of the job were always superstitious, and Glass brought original ping pong balls from the 1992, 1993 and 2004 drafts, three of which Orlando won the top pick.

Orlando won the lottery for the fourth time on Tuesday, earning the rights to the No. 1 overall pick in the June 23 draft, when Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. and Duke’s Paolo Banchero will compete for the first pick. player. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings will choose second, third and fourth.

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“It’s more than anything,” Glass said, applauding when NBA vice president Mark Tatum announced the selection and shook hands with Magic coach Jamal Mosley on stage.

The Washington Wizards have a 3 percent chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick and will select the 10th overall pick. In the past two lottery appearances, the Wizards selected 2019 Rui Hachimura and 2020 Denis Avdia with the ninth overall pick in 2019. Arizona guard Benedict Maturin, Memphis center Jalen Durham and G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels are all candidates if Washington uses the 10th pick. pick.

To ensure integrity and prevent spoilers, the NBA draft lottery is a cape-and-dagger affair: team representatives, a small group of media members, a handful of league employees, a few videographers and Ernst & Young’s representative firm must agree to waive them mobile phones and smartwatches to ensure that the drawing results are not leaked.

NBA president of operations Byron Spruell announced the top four picks, which were generated by selecting 4 of 14 ping pong balls from a funnel, with each team based on the Their regular-season record is allotted a percentage out of 1,001 possible combinations. Drawings are held before the broadcast to illustrate the possibility of machine failure or repeated selections by the same team.

Orlando finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 22-60, with a 14 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick. The winning combination was 14-1-13-6. If the final number is 2 or 3, the Rockets will win the pick. If it’s No. 10, 11 or 12, the draft goes to the Detroit Pistons. Orlando also has 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9.

When Orlando was declared the winner in the living room, an Eastern Conference executive squeezed Glass’ shoulder, praising him as “the next Pat Williams,” the former Magic exec who helped the team win The first three lottery winners.

While those wins gave the Magic the rights to Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber (traded to Anfernee Hardaway) and Dwight Howard, its luck has dried up in recent years. Orlando selected Joel Embiid with the fourth overall pick in 2014, then narrowly missed Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic and Trey in subsequent drafts. Young and other players. Orlando slipped from the projected top three to fifth last year, leaving the top three Rookie of the Year — Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham — out of reach and.

Magic president Jeff Weltman, who joined the organization in 2017, said, “We haven’t had the luck of the lottery lately. Winning this doesn’t change our evaluation process. We’re not a needs-based team. We’re looking for talent. and character.”

Once Mark Tatum revealed the final choice, the sealed living room was opened and Glass rushed out the door, the first to leave. Taking to the TV stage, he joins Mosley, Weltman and an elated Magic team that includes general manager John Hammond, CEO Alex Martins and former team owner Richard DeVore Coldworth’s grandson. Fortunately, the 25-year-old DeVos wore a Bremont watch with a blue strap that matched the Magic color scheme, which belonged to his grandfather, who passed away in 2018.

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Tuesday’s win is a long time coming for the beleaguered Magic, which hasn’t had a real team player or won a playoff series since Howard left in 2012. Orlando went through a deep rebuild ahead of the 2021 trade deadline, moving Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon to draft picks in hopes of sparking a youth movement.

Glass, who has been with the organization for more than 25 years, has had few opportunities to celebrate; he’s back to taking group photos and coordinating media interviews.

“We’ve been lucky enough to win the lottery in the past and it propelled our organization to the NBA Finals [with O’Neal and Howard],” Martins said. “We can only hope for similar results. “

General manager Sam Presti has overseen a similar rebuild and amassed numerous draft assets in Oklahoma City, which he acquired since Kevin Durant in 2007. His team’s highest pick since second place. If the Magic take Smith, a 29th-ranked Thunder forward who could elevate Orlando’s smooth-shooting forward offense could pick Holmgren, a versatile 7-footer who can block shots, handle the ball and shoot from long range.

After Oklahoma City slipped to sixth in last year’s lottery, Presti came with two lucky green stones, one of which was picked by his 7-year-old son Nicholas. When Sproul read the numbers, Presti sternly wrote them down in his notebook. He later savored the victory by watching longtime Thunder player-turned-special assistant Nick Collison get the good news on stage.

“Luck favors perseverance,” said Presti, whose Thunder also has this year’s No. 12, 30 and 34 picks. “That’s the first step. These things change the franchise.”

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