Lottery Notes: Magic, Draft Combine, Lottery Room, Pistons, Cavaliers

Tuesday’s lottery provided some hope for the Magic and their fans after a long season of losing, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The ping pong balls bounced the right way for Orlando, giving the franchise its first number one pick since 2004. The Magic were among four teams that entered the lottery with a 14% shot at the No. 1 choice, and president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman called it a “privilege” to have the pressure of making the selection.

“These are hard seasons when you’re not winning,” Weltman said. “It takes a lot out of you and you’ve got to carry your belief in your team, players and the organization through. So when you get a break, it helps. That’s how teams are built. Tonight’s a good night for us.”

Orlando was 22-60, the second-worst record in the league, in its first full season after parting with Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier at the 2021 trade deadline. First-year coach Jamahl Mosley is looking forward to a quick turnaround and admits there were some tense moments as the final envelopes were being opened.

“I wasn’t trying to go too far ahead. I was just trying to work on just breathing and staying in the moment as best as possible,” Mosley said. “I was getting excited for our fanbase, the organization and how exciting it is for this group of young men to add another young talent to this group that’s already so tied together.”

There’s more lottery-related news to pass along:

  • Getting the No. 1 pick puts the Magic in a strong position heading into the draft combine, which takes place today through Friday in Chicago, Price notes in a separate story. While the top prospects usually don’t scrimmage or take part in drills, they’re all on hand to talk with team representatives and try to improve their draft status. Teams can interview up to 20 players during the combine, and each player is permitted to speak with 13 teams.
  • Zach Lowe of ESPN provides an inside look at the lottery room, which was filled with assorted lucky charms and other superstitions. Joel Glass, the Magic‘s chief communications officer, brought the three ping pong balls from the other years the franchise landed the No. 1 pick and grabbed a fourth with the team’s logo on his way into the room. He left with the four balls that gave Orlando a winning combination: 14, 1, 13 and 6.
  • The Pistons were among the teams in play for the top pick after the first three balls were pulled, Lowe states in the same piece. Assistant general manager George David recognized what was at stake during the 10-second interval before the final ball came up with a 6 and Detroit fell to fifth.
  • Teams with better records are typically assigned higher numbers, so there was some excitement when 14 was pulled first, Lowe adds. “I allowed myself to dream for 10 seconds,” said Jon Nichols, vice president of basketball strategy and personnel for the Cavaliers, who wound up staying at No. 14.
  • Lowe notes that there had been concerns throughout the league that there was too much movement on lottery night since the new system was adopted three years ago. But the biggest moves Tuesday were the Kings rising from seventh to fourth and the Pistons falling to fifth despite being tied for the best odds, so those objections are on hold for now.
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