CHICAGO — Cynt Marshall did all she could, but even her magic touch couldn’t change the Mavericks’ lottery luck.
Actually, it was rotten lottery luck as it was terrible coin-flip luck that ruined the Mavericks’ lottery Tuesday night.
To clarify: A couple days after the season ended, the Mavericks, New Orleans and Memphis, all of whom finished with identical 33-49 records, had a series of coin flips to determine where they would fall in the pre-lottery draft order.
New Orleans won the coin flip and placed seventh. The Grizzlies got the second flip to go their way and were placed eighth. The Mavericks were slotted in ninth.
It didn’t change their chances to get one of the top four picks. But it did change the numerical sequences that they had.
The result: New Orleans won the lottery and the right to draft Zion Williamson. The Grizzlies got the second pick. The Mavericks dropped a spot to No. 10 and must convey their pick to Atlanta as compensation for the Luka Doncic trade on draft night last year.
So three teams had a 6 percent chance to win the lottery. One finished first, one finished second, the other 10th and walked away with only a second-round pick in June’s draft.
The Mavericks will draft 37th.
All of this proved that the NBA’s new lottery system seems to be wide-open, which should give teams pause when they think about tanking for a better chance in the lottery. It didn’t work for anybody this year. New York finished third despite having the worst record in the league. The Lakers were fourth even though 10 teams had a better chance at the top four than they did.
None of this dampened the spirits of Marshall, the Mavericks’ CEO who has been on the job a little over a year and has done wonders with the front office.
Armed with several lucky charms, Marshall thought she had karma on the Mavericks’ side, but when the draft order was revealed at the Chicago Hilton, the Mavericks were disappointed again. This makes 16 trips to the draft lottery in franchise history and seven times that they’ve actually dropped spots.
They have never moved up.
Had the Mavericks gotten one of the top four picks, they would have kept the pick.
Marshall spent a good portion of Tuesday formulating her lucky strategy. She had several lucky charms with her, including the commemorative ticket from Dirk Nowitzki’s last home game. That ticket was numbered 221 out of 19,600.
Feb. 21 was the day Mark Cuban called Marshall and put the wheels in motion for her to become the Mavericks’ CEO. Marshall also had a picture of her and husband Kenneth from high school when they were representing California at a high-school symposium, which was in Chicago, plus a cross with her blue birthstone (blue topaz).
When it was done, she remained upbeat.
“Some things you can’t control,” she said. “You just try to give it a good vibe. It was fun.
“We’ll be fine. We’ll focus on our scouts. We have great players. We have great coaching. Donnie (Nelson) and his team do a tremendous job. So we’re going to be fine.”
But Marshall made no mistake about how she feels about future lotteries.
“I don’t want to do it again,” she said.
Neither do fans or anybody else in the Mavericks’ organization.