And-Ones: Draft, Jackson, J.R. Smith, Blair

The league office proposed a new lottery system for as soon as next season that would more evenly distribute the odds that non-playoff teams would have of ending up with the No. 1 overall pick, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. The proposal to the competition committee, which would cut the worst team’s chance from 25% to 11%, was the dominant subject of talk about lottery reform at league meetings this week, but it’s nonetheless one of many the NBA has considered, Lowe cautions. There’s more draft-related fodder among the latest from around the league:

  • Chad Ford of ESPN.com unveiled his top 100 top prospects list and mock draft for 2015 in a pair of subscription-only pieces. His top three players are Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Karl Towns, Jr. Mudiay’s recent decision to withdraw from college basketball and play overseas shouldn’t much affect his draft stock, according to Ford.
  • Phil Jackson doubts that Jerry Buss, as has been reported, made the final decision to pass Jackson over to hire Mike D’Antoni as Lakers coach in 2012, as the Zen Master writes in an update to his latest book with Hugh Delehanty, as excerpted in the New York Daily News. Jackson also says that he spoke to the Nets, Raptors and Suns about jobs in the wake of Lakers’ choice.
  • J.R. Smith appeared on ESPN’s First Take Thursday, telling the hosts that he wouldn’t blame the Knicks if they traded him (transcription via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com). No. Absolutely not,” Smith said. “The way I was playing, I was playing like a person who didn’t want to be there. Not looking as focused as a person should be in that situation that we were, in the trenches. I wouldn’t blame them at all.” 
  • DeJuan Blair went into Washington’s $2,016,000 trade exception left over from when the team traded Eric Maynor at the deadline, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Previous reports had indicated that the Wizards would absorb Blair into their new $8,579,089 trade exception created through Trevor Ariza‘s sign-and-trade to Houston, but it appears the team will instead preserve that exception. Just how much of the Maynor exception Blair will take up remains to be seen, since the precise amount of Blair first-year salary has yet to be reported.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

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