CHICAGO – Lady luck wasn’t on the Dallas Mavericks’ side Tuesday night as the Mavs unfortunately finished with the fifth pick in the annual NBA Draft Lottery, which was held at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel.
However, Mavs vice-president of basketball operations Michael Finley said not to fret. Finley noted that because this is a deep draft, he’s convinced the Mavs will land a player in the June 21 NBA Draft who can seriously help them next season.
“Ultimately when you’re in this position you would love to have the first pick,” Finley said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get that, but we still got a top five pick and we have a chance to get a pretty good player.
“It’s a deep draft with some great young talent, so at the fifth pick I think we’ll still be able to get a player that can come in and help us immediately. It’s a wide variety of sizes and talent in the draft when you look at some of the point guards, some of the wing guys and the big guys. Like I said, it’ll give us a great opportunity to get one of those players, and hopefully that player can help us so we won’t be at this lottery next year.”
The Phoenix Suns wound up winning the lottery, with the Sacramento Kings finishing second, the Atlanta Hawks third, and the Memphis Grizzlies fourth. The Mavs had a 13.8 percent chance of securing the top spot, but the Hawks and Kings – who had worst odds than Dallas — leap-frogged over the Mavs.
Mavs assistant general manager Keith Grant – along with assistant equipment manager Neil Herskowitz — were sequestered in a back banquet room and saw the results of the lottery first-hand before it was shown to the general public on ESPN.
“It’s just disappointing, but it’s the rules,” Grant said. “Two teams behind us jumped up and it is what it is.
“We’ll have to find a player at five instead of at one, two, three or four.”
The only time the Mavs have had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft was in 1981 when they chose Mark Aguirre. Still, despite not bringing home the top prize, Finley enjoyed the overall experience.
“It’s a good thing to say that you’re a part of it, but deep down nobody really wants to be up there,” Finely said. “It means that you had a losing season, unless you’re like Philly and Cleveland, who had success during the year and still was able to get in the lottery (because of trades).
“When you’re a part of this you’re hoping that you can get a pick that can keep you from this type of event. But it was a good experience.”