At the NBA Draft Lottery, luck is everything and deserve's got nothing to do with it
From inside the room in Chicago where the lottery actually happens ... here's how Victor Wembanyama became the next Spurs superstar from abroad
CHICAGO — In the inner sanctum of the NBA’s Draft Lottery, there are no phones allowed, no escape privileges even for bathroom emergencies and absolutely no hints of suspenseful buildup to the results that the world is waiting for.
It makes total sense that the actual lottery draw in the Drawing Room starts right with the reason we’re all there — determining the No. 1 overall pick — as you can see for yourself in the enclosed video of the 16 minutes and 42 seconds of action that Drawing Room inhabitants like me were just treated to. Yet it’s still somewhat of a shock to the system to learn that only the top four picks will be decided, from No. 1 down to No. 4, when you’ve watched the first 38 lotteries of your life counted upward on television from the lowest pick to the top spot.
At 6:12 PM Central time Tuesday night, more than an hour before NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum opened the envelope on ESPN that revealed the Charlotte Hornets as holders of the No. 2 overall pick on June 22 and thus confirmed the San Antonio Spurs as winners of the Victor Wembanyama Sweepstakes, I already knew how the ping-pong balls had pinged and ponged in the league’s Smartplay lottery machine.
Not that there was any way to do anything with that delicious info.
That next hour and change was so surreal, congregating with 17 other journalists who had been stripped of their tweeting devices and then watching the whole lottery broadcast with the 14 team representatives and various league officials who likewise had to sit on such juicy details and, in some cases, stifle their glee or anguish in such a staid setting.