Even if they’ll never admit it, professional sports leagues have outcomes they root for during the draft process. Big stars in big markets means monumental revenue for these associations. At the 2015 draft lottery, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman appeared saddened when the city of Edmonton was awarded top prize Connor McDavid. The opposite could be said about the NBA when the LeBron James sweepstakes revitalized Cleveland’s franchise nearly fifteen years ago. Undoubtedly, a few certain scenarios could benefit the league more than others during tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery.
Here are a few lottery outcomes the league would be wise to cheer for:
Los Angeles Lakers (15.6% chance)
Behind the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns, the Lakers have the third best odds of landing the top pick overall. LA winning the lottery may create a juicy storyline that might not exist otherwise. Magic Johnson and company are reportedly enamored with Lonzo Ball. LA and Ball could be a match made in star-power heaven. Would the Lakers take Ball over the consensus number one pick Markelle Fultz and turn the entire draft on its head?
Philadelphia 76ers (11.9% chance)
What the Eastern Conference has lacked for the majority of the past decade is a team that serves as a consistent threat to LeBron James. Whether it’s the Toronto Raptors or Indiana Pacers, the East always seems to come up short when trying to compete with James and company. The 76ers may be a few years away, but adding Fultz or Ball to their emerging young talent like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could have Philly fans returning to their former glory.
New York Knicks (5.3% chance)
Perhaps it’s Phil Jackson’s fault that the Knicks don’t have better odds in this year’s lottery. Although the acquisitions of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah did help the Knicks improve slightly early in the season, a full-blown rebuild might have been the better way to go in 2016-17. Should the Knicks win the lottery, drafting Fultz may mean the end of the Carmelo Anthony era in NYC. A player with Fultz’s potential, and good return on a Melo trade could set the Knicks up to (finally) be a contender.
Dallas Mavericks (1.7% chance)
The Mavs have always done things the right way under Mark Cuban’s guidance. With Dirk Nowitzki’s career coming to a close, Dallas could use a young stud to learn from one of the classiest players in the league. With the Golden State Warriors showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, the Mavs would have plenty of time to build an up and coming team seeking Western Conference supremacy.
Phoenix Suns (19.9% chance)
The NBA just seems to be a better league when the Suns are important. The Steve Nash-led units of the mid-2000’s were some of the most fun offensive teams to watch in the modern era. It’s been a very long time since Phoenix made an impact on the rest of the league, and pairing Fultz with budding star Devin Booker would immediately make them relevant again.