Final Four - Louisville v Kentucky

What would it mean for teams to win NBA Draft Lottery


Fates will be decided by some bouncing balls and random numbers Wednesday.

Not just the fate of lock No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis (and guys like Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson and many more). It’s the fate of franchises (and general managers) that will be decided.

What would it mean to the 14 teams in the lottery to win? Here’s a run down (with their odds of pulling the top spot).

1. Charlotte Bobcats – 25.0%: It means a shot at redemption in the marketplace. Former owner George Shinn came in and ruined the Charlotte market, the new franchise has never fully won back the local fans. Not even with Michael Jordan as owner. Only three things can win the market back — a genuine superstar, winning and committed ownership. The Bobcats have had none of this and basically tanked this season with a weak roster to start. Anthony Davis would start to change that. There’d be a long way to go, but it would be a big start if they win this.

2. Washington Wizards -19.9%: You put Anthony Davis with John Wall and you have the cornerstones of a future contender in Washington. They need to change the locker room culture, they need veteran role players, they need a lot of things but Davis and Wall could be contender cornerstones.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers – 13.8%: They’ve started a turnaround with Kyrie Irving there, shaking off the memories of he who shall not be named. Any of the top three (or four) spots lets them bring in another quality player, likely a big, to pair with Irving as the rebuild goes forward. Davis accelerates that fast and you have the building blocks of contention.

4. New Orleans Hornets – 13.7%: They’ve got a new owner in Tom Benson who is committed to New Orleans, let’s just hope he can build a winner with the Hornets faster than he could with the Saints. Winning the lottery certainly speeds that along and gives the franchise a player to build around (with Eric Gordon).

5. Sacramento Kings – 7.6%: Winning the top pick would give the Maloof Brothers someone special they could help sell in the community to get a new arena built in Sacramento. Instead they’ll just try to take him to Anaheim.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (or Nets) 7.5%: The Nets have a slim shot at the top spot but a 25 percent chance of jumping into the top three — which means a 25 percent chance of keeping their pick. The Nets traded this pick to Portland in the Gerald Wallace deal and it is only top three protected. Basically, the Nets get lucky and draw the top pick and they can convince Deron Williams to stay and play with Davis, or they get the 2/3 pick and try to package that in a Dwight Howard trade. Otherwise Portland’s rebuild gets a nice player to fit in. Most likely the Blazers get it. If the Nets get a top pick right before they move to Brooklyn let the conspiracy rumors fly.

7. Golden State Warriors – 3.6%: For new owners trying to breath life into a long-quiet franchise, a marquee name to go with Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut would be a big boost and get them to the playoffs. And might help them sell that new arena they want in the city.

8. Toronto Raptors – 3.5%: They have a long, long way to go to recover from the Chris Bosh trade and they lack a star or team identity. Dwane Casey did a good job under the radar there last year, he deserves the chance to coach real talent.

9. Detroit Pistons – 1.7%: They have some nice young pieces — Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe — and a move up to the top spot suddenly makes them the young team on the rise in the east. Any of the top three spots really helps.

10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota) – 1.1%: Remember last year the Cavaliers got the top pick not on their own high odds but on the low chances from a mid-season trade with the Clippers. That could happen to the Hornets, here.

11. Portland Trail Blazers – 0.8%: Do we really want to see the Trail Blazers draft a big man No. 1 overall again? They already have a good core with LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and guys like Luke Babbitt on the roster, add any of the top three picks and they look like a team on the rise.

12. Milwaukee Bucks – 0.7% They have a back court of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, they win the lottery (or land in the top three) and get a good young big to put with them and you have something to really build on.

13. Phoenix Suns – 0.6%: Win the lottery and they definitely get Steve Nash to stay. Davis’ offense is supposed to be the part of his game that needs to develop. Things develop a lot faster when Nash is feeding you the rock.

14. Houston Rockets – 0.5%: This is a team that has had a lot of good role players — Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry — but no star. They win this and suddenly they are a team on the rise with serious potential.

Cory Joseph drains game-winning three at buzzer for Raptors (VIDEO)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Cory Joseph made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Toronto Raptors an 84-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

Kyle Lowry scored 27 points for the Raptors, who before Joseph’s 3 had not led since early in the first quarter.

Joseph took DeMar DeRozan‘s pass in the corner and nailed the winning shot. He finished with 12 points as Toronto won its fourth straight despite tying a season high with 22 turnovers

Bradley Beal scored 20 points for Washington, which lost its fourth straight despite allowing its fewest points of the season.

John Wall added eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, but missed a pair of late free throws that opened the door for Toronto to win in regulation.

With 3.0 seconds left following those misses and a timeout, DeRozan got the ball, drove toward the baseline and kicked the ball out to Joseph in the left corner. Joseph rose and sank his 3-pointer as time expired.

Washington failed to hit a field goal over the final 4:24 to fall to 1-8 in its last nine regular-season games against Toronto. The Wizards did sweep the Raptors in the first round of last season’s Eastern Conference playoffs.

Toronto trailed by as many as 10 before Lowry’s 3-pointer from the left wing tied it at 70-all early in the fourth.

Washington answered with a 10-2 run before Toronto scored the next seven points, with Lowry’s 3-pointer off DeRozan’s kickout making it 80-79.

After DeRozan and Lowry each missed shots with a chance to take the lead, Wall and DeRozan traded free throws. But Wall missed a pair next, setting up the final sequence.


James hits game-winner, Cavs edge Nets (VIDEO)

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CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James made a running hook shot with a second left and scored 26 points, giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a 90-88 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

After Joe Johnson‘s three foul shots tied the game with 15.2 seconds left, the Cavaliers called timeout and took the ball at midcourt.

James took the inbounds pass, dribbled to the top of the key before cutting to the right of the lane and hitting a hook shot over Brook Lopez, the Nets’ 7-foot center.

James scored 10 points and added a key steal late in the game to help Cleveland (13-4) remain unbeaten at home in nine games.

Kevin Love also scored 26 points for Cleveland, which played a sluggish first half and didn’t take its first lead until midway through the third quarter.

Lopez led Brooklyn (4-12) with 22 points. Johnson added 17 for the Nets, who fell to 1-10 on the road.

Tristan Thompson‘s basket with 1:13 remaining gave Cleveland an 86-85 lead and James made two free throws with 16 seconds left, but Johnson was fouled by J.R. Smith attempting a 3-pointer.

Johnson hit all three foul shots, but James made sure the Nets’ strong effort fell short.

James helped Cleveland rally from an 83-76 deficit in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and a three-point play before the Cavaliers took the lead on Thompson’s basket with 2:44 remaining.

Brooklyn built the lead to double figures in the second quarter and led 50-44 at halftime. Cleveland took its first lead at 61-60 on Love’s 3-pointer midway through the third. Matthew Dellavedova‘s 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers a 69-68 lead going into the final period.

Mo Williams scored 14 points for the Cavaliers while Thompson had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Thaddeus Young had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets.


Scott Skiles says he would not have traded Tobias Harris to Magic

Tobias Harris, O.J. Mayo
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Back at the start of the season in 2012 and into early 2013, Tobias Harris was buried on the bench in Milwaukee — glued there by coach Scott Skiles. At the trade deadline that February, the Bucks sent Harris to Orlando  — where he blossomed into a quality forward that is part of the Magic’s future.

The Magic now coached by Scott Skiles.

Did Skiles want Harris moved at the time? No, he told Journal Sentinel (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“He was pretty mature as a person even then,” Skiles said of Harris, who left Tennessee after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft. “In camp he got sick; he fell behind.

“At that time, we just felt (Luc) Mbah a Moute was a better defender and (Mike) Dunleavy was a better offensive player, and Tobias didn’t get as many minutes. But we were high on him.

“Not that anybody would have listened to me, but if I would have still been the coach, I would not have been for moving Tobias. That’s for sure, if somebody would ask my opinion.”

Skiles was under pressure to win back then in Milwaukee (he was let go at the end of the season) so you can’t be surprised he was playing the veterans he trusted over the young player who would be making mistakes.

Skiles trusts Harris now; he’s giving him more than 30 minutes a night. While he’s played some small four to start the season, Skiles has switched the lineups and now has Harris starting at the three (Channing Frye is at the four). In that role he has averaged 18 points through two games, Harris has looked more comfortable. We’ll see if that sustains, but you know Skiles is giving him a chance.


DeMarcus Cousins out for Kings vs. Warriors Saturday

DeMarcus Cousins, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams
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As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.

Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.

Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.