Lottery losers: Reviewing Timberwolves awful history at NBA Draft Lottery

New team president hopes to change the luck in Chicago Tuesday night

Adam Carter
May 13, 2019 - 5:09 pm

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The ping-pong balls will be bouncing Tuesday night in Chicago, and with it, the fortunes of NBA teams.

When it comes to the NBA Draft Lottery, it's hard to argue any team has had less luck than the Minnesota Timberwolves.

So if you're not familiar with the draft lottery, is goes like this: Teams that fail to make the playoffs appear in the lottery which gives teams a chance to get lucky and move up in the drafting order.  Even though the team with the worst record from the previous season still is the odds-on favorite to secure the top draft pick.

In the Timberwolves' 30 seasons as a franchise, they have appeared in the NBA Draft Lottery 21 times.  Which tells you everything you need to know about the Wolves.

But with all those appearances in the draft lottery, you'd figure the Timberwolves would have had Lady Luck on their side once or twice.

Nope.  Never.  Not one time.  

The Wolves have never gained ONE SPOT in the draft thanks to the lottery.  In fact, if you add it all up, the Wolves have lost 16 spots in the draft order thanks to the luck of OTHER teams.  

Furthermore, in the three times the Wolves have carried the worst overall record into the draft, they've only secured the number one overall pick once.  That was in 2015 with Karl-Anthony Towns. 

Who could forget Flip Saunders celebration the night of the 2015 draft lottery.  It's almost as if he couldn't believe it himself.  

The first time the Timberwolves had the best chance at the first overall pick was in the 1992 draft.  But in the lottery, the Wolves were bounced down to third.  Minnesota selected Duke's Christian Laettner.  Who went before the loveable Laettner?  Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning.  You may have heard of them. 

The second time the Timberwolves were favorites to land the top pick was in 2011, but again fate was against them.  The Cleveland Cavaliers beat out the Wolves for the top pick.  With the second-overall pick, Minnesota selected an unimpressive Derrick Williams.  With the top pick, the Cavs selected Kyrie Irving, anything but unimpressive.   

New team President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas clearly knows the Timberwolves are due when it comes to luck at the lottery.  He talked about it last week with Chad Hartman.

"You need to catch breaks in this league in order to have success.  You see it over history - San Antonio getting Tim Duncan (1997). Crazy things have happened in this league."

Rosas, fittingly, will be representing the Timberwolves at tonight's NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago.  The Wolves are in 10th position with only a 3% chance of landing the first-overall pick. 

But, who knows, maybe luck will change and Zion Williamson will make it to Minneapolis after all.  


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