There are no guarantees, even if you "win" this draft lottery thing that returns Tuesday night, as this year's losers land in the middle of an epic NBA playoff season like a Bjork dress at the Oscars. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo addressed the media yesterday on the subject, his overall message along the lines of: don't expect much. This is not exactly news if you've been following the Raptors the past decade, the team having never had the No. 1 pick overall.
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Here's Colangelo's outlook as the Raps face this offseason with their main need a lead guard and a big (my italics for emphasis):
"It's tough to look at the draft and say you're going to address one of those needs. That's more likely to be acquired by trade or free agency as far as someone being plugged into starting lineup."
And, this, from Rob MacLeod in the Globe:
"The draft doesn't have a LeBron James type, but it's a good draft. The free agency doesn't have a Steve Nash type, but it's a good free-agency group if you chose to spend the money in appropriate fashion.
"And I think our biggest thing is we've got to be very careful not to overspend on mediocre free agents. So don't expect us just to go out and spend money just to spend it. That would be a big mistake in terms of the future."
"I know in the past we were too old," Colangelo said.
"Now, perhaps, we've gone too young. And I think we've got to find a good balance somewhere in the middle.
"Whether it's the free agents or the trades, we'll address that."
This is all pretty standard stuff, clearheaded and reasonable, and it leads to this 'don't expect much' notion. One conclusion: That last bit seems to indicate BC is pretty open, maybe even aggressively open, to trading the lottery pick if he can get a veteran who can step into the lineup and fill a hole.
Anyway, here's some draft lottery history for ya: the ones with the best lottery luck, how they used it, and who the "unlucky" runner-up ended up with:
Lottery winners (second pick in parentheses)
'92.....Shaquille O'Neal (Charlotte, Alonzo Mourning)
'93.....Took Chris Webber, traded his rights to Golden State for rights to Penny Hardaway and three future first-round choices (Philadelphia, Shawn Bradley)
'04.....Dwight Howard (LA Clippers, traded #2 pick to Charlotte and selected Shaun Livingston at #4)
'86.....Traded pick to Cleveland (who took Brad Daugherty) for Roy Hinson and cash (Boston, Len Bias)
'96.....Allen Iverson (Toronto, Marcus Camby -- Raptors "won" lottery but according to terms of expansion agreement were not allowed the No. 1 pick for the first five years of the franchise)
'94.....Glenn Robinson (Dallas, Jason Kidd)
'05.....Andrew Bogut (Atlanta, Marvin Williams)
LA Clippers (2)
'88.....Danny Manning (Indiana, Rik Smits)
'98.....Michael Olowakandi (Vancouver, Mike Bibby)
San Antonio (2)
'87.....David Robinson (Phoenix, Armon Gilliam)
'97.....Tim Duncan (Philadelphia took Keith Van Horn at #2, traded his rights to New Jersey in a package that brought back the rights to Tim Thomas, among others)
New Jersey (2)
'90.....Derrick Coleman (Seattle, Gary Payton)
'00.....Kenyon Martin (Vancouver, Stromile Swift)