With the season coming up, the Clippers have been unable to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans, who we now know to be a legitimate threat.
Miserable sounds emanated from the Staples Center, but a whole fanbase ignited miles away. Oklahoma City had just secured another lottery ticket.
With the loss in Los Angeles, OKC has an 85% chance of picking No. 12 overall and about an 8% chance of landing a top four pick. Had the Clippers officially entered the postseason, OKC would have been stuck with the #15 pick.
It seems like a small jump, just three spots in a relatively weak draft class, but it’s bigger than it seems.
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Lottery picks are generally held in higher esteem, so not only will Oklahoma City select a better player, but the player will have more value simply for being in the top 14.
It’s no secret that OKC needs big men, and it just so happens that three probably occupy the top three spots on most GM’s big boards. The Thunder could take their chances on a number of teenage player archetypes, but should teams ahead of them not think hard about their picks, 12th pick could offer a safety net or some sort of consolation prize.
It could also be used in a variety of hands-on deals or in later and better drafts, especially for teams that don’t like first-round picks this year.
Of course, general manager Sam Presti certainly has his own plan to have nothing to do with what’s being mentioned here, but there’s no question that the Clippers draft pick makes that plan that much, much easier.
The 2022 NBA Draft Lottery takes place on Tuesday, May 17th.
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