Tonight the NBA holds its annual draft lottery, a weighted process that decides the top three picks in the June 24 draft. Staff writer Rick Bonnell suggests the five most interesting destinations for Raleigh's John Wall, the heavy favorite to be the top pick regardless of who has that selection:
1. Utah Jazz: The final statement on Isiah Thomas' mismanagement of the Knicks would be New York's lottery pick jumping to the head of the line.
The pick Thomas sent to Phoenix in the Stephon Marbury deal in 2004 no longer has any lottery protection. That pick was acquired by the Jazz in a later deal. It would be hilarious if the Jazz gets a point guard it doesn't need (Wall is good, but not better than Deron Williams) and the Knicks forfeit a huge piece.
The Jazz is such a well-run organization, I'm sure it would figure a way to convert Wall's value (then or later) into something else it needs.
2. New Jersey Nets: Nets chief Rod Thorn says he believes any team would choose Wall, Kentucky's freshman point guard, first overall. Considering the Nets already have a former All-Star point guard in Devin Harris, this would be a complication. A nice complication, but a complication.
I don't know that they would trade Harris immediately, but trading Harris to address another need would seem justified.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: David Kahn, the T-Wolves president, is a smart, out-of-the-box guy, all the way back to when he was a prodigy sportswriter for UCLA's student newspaper.
But it's possible to outsmart yourself, and Kahn maybe did just that by drafting one ... two ... three point guards in the first round a year ago.
OK, the last of those - North Carolina's Ty Lawson - went to Denver in a prearranged deal (which means, by the way, that the Timberwolves get the Charlotte Bobcats' first-round pick). But they're still dealing with Jonny Flynn being there and Spain's Ricky Rubio not being there.
Add Wall and you have to wonder if any practice would have enough balls.
4. Golden State Warriors: Before Stephen Curry had ever practiced with the Warriors, Monta Ellis declared he didn't see how Curry and he could co-exist as a backcourt. Ultimately, Ellis was hurt so much last season that his concerns didn't much matter. Curry still thrived, finishing as the runner-up to Sacramento's Tyreke Evans for Rookie of the Year.
Imagine adding Wall to that mix; Curry and Ellis both can play shooting guard, but either one is better with the ball rather than spotting up.
5. Toronto Raptors: Under the weighted lottery system, the Raptors would have just six chances in 1,000 of getting the top pick. But imagine how fortunate Toronto would be in beating the odds this time:
The Raptors' biggest problem is persuading unrestricted free agent Chris Bosh to re-sign, after this team failed to reach the playoffs in an April collapse. A gift of fate - the No. 1 overall pick - would either be reason for Bosh to think twice about leaving or at least serve as a fine consolation prize.