The draft is coming up again and I am reminded how ‘luck’ is so much a factor in the success or failure of franchises. The lottery teams are able to get a chance at picking first from the talent pool in any particular year. This system gives the teams that did poorly during the previous season a chance to close the talent gap with the more successful teams. It really points out how the teams that do well from year to year manage to stay at the top. In 1969 when I was drafted, the Milwaukee Bucks won a coin toss for my draft rights. A year later they made the deal that brought Oscar Robertson to the team. Since then their luck and negotiating powers have not got them over the hump but I know they are giving it all they’ve got.
Under the leadership of Jerry West the Lakers were able to dominate the Western Conference and win a trip to the Finals capturing the NBA crown five times in the 1980’s. Without Jerry’s keen eye this would not have been possible. In addition to being smart, Jerry and the Lakers were also lucky. They traded Gail Goodrich for the New Orleans Jazz for a future draft pick. That pick in 1979 was none other than Earvin Magic Johnson. It seems that luck has always been a lady to the Lakers.
The Clippers will get the first choice this year and their probable pick will be the outstanding Oklahomer Sooner forward, Blake Griffin. The Clippers have been lucky in getting good draft picks recently and unlucky in having the shadow of injuries take down some of their best players, Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Kevin Martin come to mind. We’ll see who lady luck will smile on in a few days. Until then, NBA fans will be rubbing rabbits feet with snake oil and lighting candles while humming that refrain from Guys & Dolls… Luck Be A Lady Tonight.