For the teams that did not make the playoffs, this is what the 2014-15 season was about.
Some teams (see Philadelphia) began the the season doing all they could to have the best odds of landing a high draft pick. Others (see Oklahoma City) began the season with dreams of still playing at this time of year, only to have injuries thwart their postseason hopes.
The NBA draft lottery determines which teams select in the top three before records decide the order for the final 11 picks.
Minnesota had the league’s worst record because of a combination of injuries and so many young players. If the Timberwolves land the top pick, they could have the No. 1 selection from the last three drafts on the their roster after acquiring the last two top picks – Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins – from Cleveland for Kevin Love last offseason.
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Here’s a look at how the lottery portion of the June 25 NBA draft might go if it follows the odds and the order remains the same:
1. Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, 6-11, PF/C, Kentucky: Already loaded with young talent, Minnesota can add a potential star who will make this an attractive coaching job when Flip Saunders returns to the front office full time.
2. Knicks, Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, C, Duke: He likely would be the best offensive center the Knicks have had since Patrick Ewing – even before he plays a game. He probably is the most NBA-ready prospect this draft class and would be featured prominently in the triangle offense.
3. 76ers, D’Angelo Russell, 6-5, PG/SG, Ohio State: After drafting big men high in the first round the last two years of their rebuilding project, the 76ers can add a savvy player who could become the best perimeter player in this draft class.
4. Lakers, Emmanuel Mudiay, 6-5, PG, China: Assuming Julius Randle fully recovers from the broken leg that cost him his rookie season, Mudiay would give the Lakers another solid young player to build around as they transition from the Kobe Bryant era.
5. Magic, Justise Winslow, 6-6, SF, Duke: Winslow is a superb athlete who would fit perfectly with some of the Magic’s recent draft picks. He could emerge as a solid defender before his offensive game develops.
6. Kings, KristapsPorzingis, 7-0, PF, Latvia: The Kings’ quest to add more shooting continues. Though Porzingis might not help immediately, his size, shooting and athleticism are qualities the Kings want as they remake the roster again.
7. Nuggets, Mario Hezonja, 6-8, SG/SF, Croatia: Denver wants to return to the style that was successful a couple of years ago, so it will need more shooters and athletes. Hezonja fits that strategy. He’s a versatile athlete who could develop into a player that creates mismatches on the perimeter.
8. Pistons, Willie Cauley-Stein, 7-0, C, Kentucky: The junior’s game on the defensive end already might be ready for the NBA. If the Pistons lose Greg Monroe in free agency, Cauley-Stein could fill a need immediately.
9. Hornets, Stanley Johnson, 6-7, SF, Arizona: The Hornets struggled to score last season. Johnson would help on offense and could fit into the team’s defensive philosophy, too.
10. Heat, Devin Booker, 6-6, SG, Kentucky: With improved health and depth, Miami could return to the playoffs next season. Booker would ease the scoring load for Dwyane Wade, who at this stage of his career could use some relief.
11. Pacers, Frank Kaminsky, 7-0, PF, Wisconsin: Indiana, looking to create more scoring, could select a big man whose outside shooting will help open up the floor.
12. Jazz, Myles Turner, 6-11, PF-C, Texas: Utah already has a solid young nucleus, so Turner will have time to develop behind Rudy Gobert.
13. Suns, Kelly Oubre, 6-7, SF, Kansas: The freshman is an athletic wing player who fits Phoenix’s style. The Suns will need to be patient with Oubre as he develops.
14. Thunder, Cameron Payne, 6-2, PG, Murray State: Adding another player who can initiate the offense would free Russell Westbrook to be even more aggressive. That’s a scary proposition for opponents.
NBA draft lottery
- When: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.
- TV: ESPN
- Kings’ odds: No. 1, 6.3%; No. 2, 7.1%; No. 3, 8.1%; No. 6, 43.9%; No. 7, 30.5%; No. 8: 4%; No. 9, 0.1%