The National Basketball Association held its annual Draft Lottery on Wednesday night, a bit of made-for-TV programming that is about as interesting as a turtle race.
Hopefully Bucks general manager John Hammond took the family to the Big Apple and built a vacation around the evening as he knew the Bucks would probably do no better than the pick – No. 12 – that they were projected to get coming in.
Milwaukee entered the night with a 93.55 percent chance of staying at 12 and actually had a greater shot at moving backward (3.89-percent to get No. 13) than making a huge leap lower in the June 28 draft.
The Bucks had only a 0.7 percent chance of landing the top pick, and a 2.54 percent chance of moving into the top three.
The formulas used to determined lottery odds have changed over the years, so in the current system the lowest seeded team entering the lottery to win the top overall pick was the Chicago Bulls, which jumped from No. 9 to No. 1 in 2008 and picked Memphis point guard Derrick Rose.
The old Charlotte Hornets franchise (now New Orleans) made the biggest leap under the current system, as they improved from No. 13 to No. 3 in 1999 where they picked point guard Baron Davis out of UCLA.
At the end of the season, Hammond was asked if the depth of this draft could compare to those of 1984 (seven all-stars) and 1996 (10 all-stars). He wouldn't go that far, but did concede that there was a breadth of talent that made picking at No. 12 somewhat comfortable.
"I think why people are saying that is because you have the real heavy pick at the top, supposedly, and then there's another grouping of maybe guys – I don't want to take the group too far – maybe it's two to five, two to six, a grouping of players there," Hammond said. "And then there's another grouping of players in our range, in that six to 12, 14 range.
"But the real interesting part that I think people are talking about in this draft and why it's interesting is because maybe you can get as good a player at 18 as you can 12. And that's not taking anything away from the 12th player. I think its saying what could possibly be there at 18. I think it's a very deep draft in that regard."
Hammond left the door open that the Bucks might move up or down in a draft day trade, depending on what scenarios play out and what players – like Orlando's Dwight Howard – force their team's hand with a trade demand.
"Size is something we're going to have to address and I'm not sure that's going to be at 12," Hammond said, before catching himself. "It could. It may not be. We do think adding little pieces along the way we can find a way to stay competitive and be more competitive, really."
If they stay put at 12, Hammond talked about adding a player who could contribute immediately off the bench.
"You sure hope so," he said. "You look at a late lottery pick, that's what you hope you get out of that to be honest with you. If you look at the history of the 12th pick, there are a lot of players that have made it, a lot of players that haven't made it, and maybe a handful of guys who are starters. But for the most part, what you're hoping is to get a strong rotation player at a pick like that and I think we can. If we can get a strong rotation player and a guy that can help us as we move forward next year, there you go, there's one more good piece for us that we think can help us make the difference."
In reality, the Bucks would be better off finding a way to trade the pick in a draft day deal that nets them a legitimate rotation player – if that's what they're looking for.
Hammond is right in saying that some former No. 12 picks have made it, and some haven't. But look at the following list of No. 12 picks since 2000 – you can't say you'd really expect any of these guys to be a key contributor to a winning team.
2000: Etan Thomas, Dallas
2001: Vladimir Radmanovic, Seattle
2002: Melvin Ely, Los Angeles Clippers
2003: Nick Collison, Seattle
2004: Robert Swift, Seattle
2005: Yaroslav Korolev, Los Angeles Clippers
2006: Hilton Armstrong, New Orleans
2007: Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia
2008: Jason Thompson, Sacramento
2009: Gerald Henderson, Charlotte
2010: Ed Davis, Toronto
2011: Alec Burks, Utah
Despite recent history, Hammond had to stay as positive as possible regarding that pick.
"I don't know if it's going to be the kind of deep draft that you look back in upcoming years and say that wow, now there's six all-stars in this draft," he said. "Can we get a rotation player at 12? I think we can. And who knows, maybe that guy could be a starter."
The odds say he won't be, which could make draft night all the more interesting for the Bucks.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.