In 1987, the NBA's Board of Governors fine-tuned the lottery system to apply to determine the order of selection for the first three teams only and the remaining non-playoff teams would select in inverse order of their final regular season records. Over the next three years, a weighted lottery system was developed which gave the franchise with the worst regular season record, the best chances of winning the top overall selection in that year's draft. But since that 1990 NBA Draft, only three teams who finished the regular season as the league's worst team have won the lottery: New Jersey in 1990, Cleveland in 2003, and Orlando in 2004; the Nets selected Derrick Coleman with the first overall pick that year, while the Cavs took hometown hero LeBron James and the Magic followed the next year with Dwight Howard as the top pick.
The Nets flirted with history over the course of the 2009-10 NBA season, eventually finishing with 12 wins, three more than the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers. Their reward? The third overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. While New Jersey and their new owner must be disappointed in the end result tonight, they are not in a bad situation. John Wall would sure attract attention from fans and help build their Brooklyn fan base and potential free agent prospects, but at the three spot, the Nets can actually draft to fill a need. Derrick Favors, the freshman forward from Georgia Tech should be available and would give New Jersey a long-term answer at power forward, teaming up with Brook Lopez as one of the best young frontcourts.
Minnesota wasn't much better than the Nets, finishing this year's campaign with 15 wins, second-worst in the league, but find themselves in a favorable position with the No. 4 pick in the Draft. Last season, the Timberwolves spent their two top selections on point guards- one being starter Jonny Flynn, while the other is playing in Spain still- Ricky Rubio, so John Wall would have forced a trade of one of their backcourt pieces; their frontcourt is powered by potential all-star Al Jefferson and young gun Kevin Love. A key piece to the Minnesota puzzle is a versatile player- a shooting guard or a small forward would fit best. Evan Turner is the team's top choice, but he surely won't fall to the T-Wolves at 4, but Syracuse's Wes Johnson should be available for their picking. He is an uber-athletic swingman who can shoot the lights out, rebound and defend.
Washington and Philadelphia jumped up from their slotted 5th and 6th spots to grab the top two picks overall so look for the Wizards to lock up John Wall as the franchise's centerpiece, while the 76ers add versatile do-it-all guard/forward Evan Turner to the mix.