Tuesday , May , 22 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

On the clock: Portland gets first pick in NBA Draft

Secaucus, NJ (Sports Network) – The Portland Trail Blazers saw the ping-pong
balls bounce their way as they won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night and
will have the top pick on June 28.

The Trail Blazers, who finished with a 32-50 record this past season and
missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year, had just the sixth-best
chance (5.3 percent) of winning the lottery, but beat the odds and will have
the No. 1 draft selection in a year that is full of quality prospects.

“I didn’t think we had any chance,” said NBA Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy,
who represented the Trail Blazers at the lottery. “I was up there talking to
Lenny Wilkens, and I told him I really wasn’t expecting this at all. Last
year, Portland had the worst record in the NBA and wound up with the fourth
pick, so I knew anything could happen. In the end, I think it’s great.”

By winning the lottery, Portland has the opportunity to immediately improve
its franchise by selecting the highly-touted Greg Oden of Ohio State or Texas’
Kevin Durant as the likely top pick.

“I was really getting nervous,” explained Roy after making it into the top
three. “Before it started, I figured things would probably hold up. Then when
we made it to the top three, I started thinking about the possibility of
playing with a Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. We really have a chance to have a
great young team, and I’m excited to grow with this team.”

The Seattle SuperSonics will pick second, followed by Atlanta, Memphis and
Boston. The Grizzlies, who had the league’s worst record (22-60) this past
season, had the best opportunity with a 25-percent chance at getting the top
selection. The Celtics had the second best chance of getting No. 1 overall at
20 percent.

Milwaukee, which had a 15.6-percent chance at the top selection, dropped to
the sixth pick, followed by Minnesota, Charlotte, Chicago via New York, and
Sacramento. Atlanta via Indiana, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and the Clippers
completed the field in the lottery.

By remaining in the third spot, the Hawks now have two picks in the lottery.
If Atlanta dropped out of the top three, the Phoenix Suns would have received
the pick as part of the Joe Johnson trade from 2005. The Pacers, who needed to
slide into a top three spot to keep their selection, send their pick to the
Hawks due to the Al Harrington trade from last offseason.

“I’m happy because we got two picks in the first round,” said Atlanta vice
president of basketball operations Dominique Wilkins. “We were positioned if
we get the fourth pick, we lose that pick, so to keep the pick and get the
11th spot here is great for us.”

The lottery has been in place since June of 1984 when the NBA Board of
Governors voted to adopt a lottery system among the non-playoff teams to
determine their order of selection in the first round of the NBA Draft
beginning in 1985.

From 1966 through 1984, the teams that finished with the worst records in each
conference participated in a coin flip to determine which team would draft
first. The remaining teams picked in inverse order of their won-lost records.

The New York Knicks won the first-ever lottery and used their No. 1 selection
on Georgetown center Patrick Ewing.

Toronto won last year’s draft lottery and selected Italy’s Andrea Bargnani
with the first overall pick.