The NBA Draft Lottery is tomorrow. So we obviously have to look at the teams in it, and their relative potentials for winning it. There's also Jazz news with people going out on job interviews . . . including someone you didn't know what super important. Also, yes, is awesome. We really missed him this year. And last, don't forget to sim the lotto.
Yes, the big story for lottery teams and NBA Draft heads alike is the lottery. Just a recap of what it is, if you haven't been paying attention, it's a chance to change the fortunes of your franchise in a heartbeat. We've seen great luck, like Cleveland and Orlando winning it in years they should not have. And we've seen very poor luck as Minnesota failed to win it years and years in a row. There are a bunch of teams who are rebuilding, again, and need a franchise player. Others are "playoff competitive" and need a little deeper roster. Who is going to be there? Here's the list:
|Seed||Team||W||L||%||Top 3||On-Stage||Title||In Lottery Room||Title|
|1||76ers||10||72||12.2%||64.6%||Brett Brown||Head Coach||Art Wrubel||Co-owner|
|2||Lakers||17||65||20.7%||55.8%||Mitch Kupchak||General Manager||John Black||Vice President, Public Relations|
|3||Celtics||21||61||25.6%||46.9%||Player||Wyc Grousbeck||Managing Partner and Governor|
|4||Suns||23||59||28.0%||38.7%||Player||Julie Fie||Vice President, Basketball Communications|
|5||Timberwolves||29||53||35.4%||29.1%||Player||Brad Ruiter||Vice President, Communications|
|6||Pelicans||30||52||36.6%||21.5%||Head Coach||Dell Demps||Senior Vice President and General Manager|
|7||Nuggets||32||50||39.0%||15.0%||Michael Malone||Head Coach||Josh Kroenke||President|
|8||Kings||33||49||40.2%||6.8%||Player||Anthony McClish||Manager, Basketball Operations|
|9||Raptors||33||49||40.2%||6.8%||Masai Ujiri||President and GM||Dan Tolzman||Director of Player Personnel|
|10||Bucks||33||49||40.2%||6.5%||Head Coach||Alex Lasry||Vice President, Strategy and Operations|
|11||Magic||35||47||42.7%||2.9%||Rob Hennigan||General Manager||Pat Williams||Senior Vice President|
|12||Jazz||40||42||48.8%||2.5%||Steve Starks||President||Justin Zanik||Assistant General Manager|
|13||Wizards||41||41||50.0%||2.2%||Zach Leonsis||Vice President||Scott Hall||Senior Director, Communications|
|14||Bulls||42||40||51.2%||1.8%||Player||Matt Yob||Senior Manager, Public and Media Relations|
- If LAL doesn't get a Top 3 pick then their pick goes to PHI
- BOS pick is from BKN, and thus runs off of the odds the bad Brooklyn Nets earned
- The New York Knicks used to have a pick, but it goes to DEN
- If SAC is not a Top 10 pick, it goes to CLE, who then gives it to CHI
- If WAS is not a Top 3 (top 9 overall) then it goes to PHX
It should be noted that the Jazz will continue to not send players for a while, but whatever. The Jazz have a greater chance to drop to #13 or #14 than they do to make it to the Top 3. But I'm an optimistic fool. So let's go Jazz!
You may have noticed that General Manager Dennis Lindsey's top guy, Justin Zanik, is going to be with the Jazz and looking over the ping-pong balls directly. He's a key guy for the team. And it's not just because his brother, Jeff Zanik, is a big deal over at Andy Miller's agency ASM. (ASM is an NBA Powerhouse, representing -- among others -- , , , , , , Jeff Teague, Jodie Meeks, , Kevin Garnett, Kristaps Porzingis, , , , Myles Turner, Nerlens Noel, Roger Mason (How u), , , and .) Zanik is very well regarded both for his experience in front offices and also his experience working for both ASM and Priority Sports. In fact, his expertise in contract negotiation and strategic planning extends over a decade at the highest level.
So while he's there with the Jazz right now, he just may not be flying back with them. For reals. He is so highly regarded that the Milwaukee Bucks are going to interview him for a front office position. The Bucks also want to interview Rod Higgins, as ESPN's Marc Stein reports:
Milwaukee plans to interview Jazz exec Justin Zanik and ex-Charlotte GM Rod Higgins this week for a front-office post, league sources say.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 15, 2016
What we know is that the Bucks are good at General Manager and are in good hands with John Hammond. So he's not interviewing for that job. In fact, we don't know what position he is being interviewed for. But personally, I don't think you interview for a similar or lesser position unless there's a push factor involved in your current job. But what do I know about being a highly regarded exec, right?
So maybe you play the game by interviewing for each job that's offered to you? (Similar to the game of interviewing college kids who have little chance to get drafted, just so you keep good relations with their agents?)
Hopefully the interview goes well, but Zanik decides to stay with the Jazz. We're really going to need him going forward withlikely to opt out, guys like , Dante Exum, and needing extension deals after their rookie deals are up, and so forth.
Keeping up with our Jazz family,has interviewed with the New York Knicks for their vacant head coaching job.
The Knicks, league sources say, have interviewed Jeff Hornacek for their coaching job along with Frank Vogel.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) , David Blatt and May 16, 2016
That's gotta suck, to be part of that organization, right? But he's got other suitors as well:
Hornacek has been in the mix for nearly every head coach job this offseason. New York, Houston, Memphis and Orlando all still have vacancies— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 16, 2016
I don't know which team I'd want him to be the head coach though, out of those four. Maybe the Orlando Magic? It could be worse, though. Specifically:
Sources say Golden State also has strong interest in Hornacek to join the Warriors' bench next season if he's still on the market by then.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 16, 2016
That's a 100% "The rich get richer" move, if it happens. If Jeff is going to be an assistant coach why not with the Utah Jazz? I know that we have development coaches working with players on their shooting (Johnnie Bryant, Igor Kokoskov), but for reals, Jeff Hornacek back with a stable organization would be great. Also, yeah, I'd really expect the team to be much better at the free throw line if he was part of our coaching staff. (2014-15: 26th Rank in FT%, 2015-16: 24th Rank in FT%)
Also, why wouldn't you want this guy back in town?
The Jazz do well in the lottery, getting *at least* rotation players with each time they've dipped their feet in it over the last four plus decades: Rich Kelley (#7, 1975), James Hardy (#11, 1978), Darrell Griffith (#2, 1980), Danny Schayes (#13, 1981), Dominique Wilkins (#3, 1982), Thurl Bailey (#7, 1983), Karl Malone (#13, 1985), Kris Humphries (#14, 2004), Deron Williams (#3, 2005), (#14, 2006), Gordon Hayward (#9, 2010), (#3, 2011), Alec Burks (#12, 2011), Shabazz Muhammad (#14, 2013), Dante Exum (#5, 2014), and (#12, 2015). (Yes, 'Nique was traded, same with 'Bazz.) (Yes, part two, these are ALL of the lotto picks the team have drafted ever. Only 16 players.)
One guy we haven't seen nearly enough of yet is combo guard Dante Exum. Exum's offense is going to really be something special as he ages, but right now it's his ability on defense that makes people take notice. B/R's Andy Bailey broke down his influence on his teammates there:
Dante Exum made everyone but Rodney Hood look better on defense in 2014-15... pic.twitter.com/Mr2oWXrY4Q— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) May 16, 2016
It's not a huge difference for every player, but it's worthwhile to know that he was a huge part of a historically difficult to score on defense. I can't wait to see him get back to it in his soph season next year.
Can't wait to see you on the court, Dante.
Well, we have a day now until the lottery. It took me four tries today to get the Jazz to move up. Go here to sim the lottery to your heart's content:
If the Jazz do get a Top 3 pick that would be amazing. You almost HAVE to listen to offers though, with where the team is right now in terms of their playoff aspirations, right?