If you ask anybody in the Mavericks’ organization what the best part about today is, the obvious answer is:

Not being at the draft lottery.

Any year when you can avoid sending a team representative to the stage for the NBA’s annual gathering of playoff wannabes, it’s a wonderful thing.

Yes, the Mavericks have a collection of staffers at the NBA draft combine, which is running this week in Chicago. But they won’t have to worry about the lottery Tuesday night (which again will happen virtually) before Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

The Mavericks not only don’t have a seat at the lottery table. They don’t have a draft pick, either, as things stand. That could always change, although you have to figure that they need a couple of intermediate steps before worrying about the draft – finding a general manager and head coach come to mind.

Those are major decisions for owner Mark Cuban.

But at least he doesn’t have to worry about these things:

  • Having only a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick. That’s the best – the best!!! – odds for any individual team to get the top pick. Houston, Detroit and Orlando each have a 14 percent chance.
  • Losing a high pick to another team. That’s Houston’s situation. If the Rockets finish fifth (and there is a 48 percent chance of that happening), their pick goes to Oklahoma City. Minnesota will lose its pick to Golden State if it falls outside the top three. Same goes for Chicago, which will lose its pick to Orlando if it’s outside the top four.
  • More bum luck. The Mavericks have never moved up in the draft lottery. They will be happy to take their chances in free agency, both in terms of undrafted players and for players whose contracts expire on Aug. 1. But if they never go back to the lottery, that would be just fine with them.

Remember, the Mavericks were in the lottery as recently as 2018, when they had the third-best chance of getting the No. 1 pick, but were leapfrogged by two teams and wound up with the fifth pick.

That forced them to make a trade to move up to No. 3 in order to get Luka Dončić. It cost them their 2019 draft pick, which also was in the lottery. Atlanta got the asset in return for drafting Dončić third in 2018 and trading him to the Mavericks for the fifth-overall pick, Trae Young.

The Mavericks horrid lottery luck even lasted beyond their own franchise as the Hawks only got the No. 10 selection despite the Mavericks finishing tied for the seventh-worst record in the league. They got Cam Reddish, who has averaged 10.7 points in two injury-marred seasons.

Suffice it to say that both teams were happy with that trade.

After all, both franchises have moved along from their draft lottery days.

Twitter: @ESefko

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