CHICAGO – For the third year in a row, the ping-pong balls at the NBA Draft Lottery unfortunately didn’t fall the Dallas Mavericks’ way.
Armed with only a six percent chance at landing the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NBA Draft, the Mavs not only lost out on a shot at the Zion Williamson Sweepstakes on Tuesday night at the Hilton Chicago, but they also lost their No. 1 pick.
Last year during the draft, the Mavs chose Trae Young with the No. 5 overall pick. Then they subsequently traded the draft rights to Young and a Top 5 protected pick to the Atlanta Hawks for the draft rights to Luka Doncic, who was drafted third overall by the Hawks.
The Mavs would have been able to keep that pick this year had they finished among the top four picks in Draft Lottery. Instead, the Mavs dropped to the No. 10 slot, and the pick automatically went to the Hawks.
“Oh well, we tried,” said chief executive officer Cynthia Marshall, who represented the Mavs on the stage. “I had fun. I don’t want to do it again.
“It’s ironic because you don’t want to be here, but when you’re here you get caught up in it. And then all you’re just thinking is you want something very, very positive to come out for your team. So that means we’ll just have to focus on the rest of it – free agency and just our scouts — and we’re going to be fine.”
In a related matter, the Mavs were able to move up two spots in the second round of the draft – from No. 39 to No. 37.
“And look what happened in our second round last year — Jalen Brunson,” Marshall said. “So let’s do this. We got this. I’m still positive.”
Brunson was the No. 33 overall pick of last year’s draft and wound up being so productive that he’s got a very good shot at making the NBA all-Rookie Second Team when it’ll be announced later this month.
The New Orleans Pelicans won the lottery and thus will likely draft Williamson, who was the consensus NCAA Player of the Year while playing at Duke this past season. The Memphis Grizzlies wound up with the No. 2 pick.
Ironically, both the Pelicans and the Grizzlies had the same odds of nabbing the No. 1 overall pick as the Mavs – six percent.
“That’s why you just come in positive and just never give up,” Marshall said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen and you don’t know how those (ping-pong) balls are going to drop.
“Yes, there’s a lot of hype and yes it just depends on luck. But there’s some things that don’t depend on luck. And working hard and practicing hard and scouting and all of that is not luck. That’s the hard work of our people and it’ll pay off when the season starts.”
Unfortunately for the Mavs, confusion was the order of the night because the Mavs’ name was never called when the team’s draft selections were announced during the live ESPN broadcast. Instead, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announced the Hawks’ name twice – with the 10th pick and with the eighth pick.
Marshall said she was trying to figure out which one of the those (Hawks’) picks actually had originally belonged to the Mavs.
“I said, ‘Ok, but which one was ours,” Marshall said. “So we fell by one (spot from ninth to 10th).’’
Following the good news for the Pelicans and Grizzlies, the rest of the lottery went this way. The New York Knicks captured the third pick, the Los Angeles Lakers were fourth, Cleveland landed in the fifth spot, Phoenix sixth, Chicago secured the seventh selection, the Hawks were eighth, and Washington nabbed the ninth spot.
Also, the Hawks wound up 10th — via the trade with the Mavs — with their second first-round pick, Minnesota finished 11th, followed by Charlotte, Miami and Boston.
Afterwards, Marshall and her husband, Kenneth, celebrated his 61st birthday. She also said that even with so much at stake on Tuesday, she had a good night’s sleep on Monday night.
“Some stuff you just don’t control,” she said. “You just try to give it a good vibe, and that’s what I was trying to do all day. Just give it good vibes. That’s all you can do.
“You can just tell by the outcome, those odds are just that. They’re just odds. And so you just try to kind of get a good vibe in there and then it’s supposed to come out the way it’s meant to come out.”