When it comes to the NBA Draft, everybody likes to talk incessantly about lottery picks — those coveted, early first-round selections who are deemed to be potential difference-makers for a franchise.
Theoretically, they’re supposed to belong to the league’s lousy, non-playoff teams from the previous season.
Of course, over the years, we’ve seen several of the league’s top teams, via some shrewd trades combined with blind luck, wind up with lottery picks, too.
Like this year’s Boston Celtics, who boasted the best record in the Eastern Conference and reached the conference finals this season, yet still wound up with the No. 1 pick in Thursday night’s annual draft, thanks to some slick front-office wheeling and dealing with the New Jersey Nets in 2013, combined with a little good fortune in the recent NBA Draft lottery.
Boston traded that top pick away to the Philadelphia 76ers last weekend, showing us once again that, when it comes to draft night, there’s really no such thing as a sure thing.
But what does seem like a sure thing is that, every dozen years or so, the Utah Jazz have displayed a knack for finding a second-round draft pick that winds up being a definite difference-maker for the franchise.
And that possibility could turn out to be huge this year for a Utah team which, with a pair of second-round picks (Nos. 42 and 55 overall), might be able to bolster a lineup which already appears on the verge of great things — if they can keep the pending free agency of Gordon Hayward, George Hill and other players from potentially destroying what they’ve begun to build.