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Updated: May 16th, 2011 7:10pm
Luck on Wolves' side at this year's draft lottery? History says no

Luck on Wolves' side at this year's draft lottery? History says no

by Nate Sandell
1500ESPN.com
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Heading into Tuesday's NBA Draft lottery in New Jersey, the 14 teams hoping to land the No. 1 pick need a little luck on their side.

Luck, however, is not a word associated with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Wolves have been in the lottery 13 times but have never improved their position and have fallen to a lower pick on seven occasions.

Moving up in the order isn't an option this year. Thanks to a league-worst 17-65 record, the Wolves hold the top overall odds (25%) at garnering the No. 1 pick for only the second time.

But having the best shot at the top pick has rarely paid off. Since the current lottery system was established in 1994, only two teams with the best odds (Cleveland in 2003, Orlando in 2004) have nabbed the No. 1 spot.

The trend has held true with the Wolves as well. In three times entering the lottery with the first- or second-best odds (1992, 1993, 2010), they have dropped either two or three spots.

To make matters worse, the last time the Wolves had the top odds coincided with one of the biggest draft busts in team history. After falling to the third pick in the 1992 lottery and missing out on Shaquille O'Neal, the Wolves went on to select Christian Laettner, who fell far short of the hype in his four years with the team.

The years of lottery disappointment has even triggered the Wolves to temper expectations. Gone this year is any pre-lottery hype or promotions, unlike the "Lottery Luck Guaranteed" Lucky Charms' boxes dolled out in 2010.

Whether taking a scaled back approach can reverse the team's misfortune is yet to be seen. But for a struggling and woeful franchise, it could be time for something to give.

President of basketball operations David Kahn is set to represent the team yet again at this year's lottery. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN, with the pick being unveiled starting around 7:25 p.m.

Wolves lottery history

            Season finish   Lottery order   Player selected
2010 --          2                   4              Wes Johnson
2009 --          5                   5              Jonny Flynn
2008 --          3                   3              O.J. Mayo
2007 --          7                   7              Corey Brewer
2006 --          6                   6              Brandon Roy
2005 --         14                 14             Rashad McCants
1996 --          5                   5              Ray Allen
1995 --          3                   5              Kevin Garnett
1994 --          3                   4              Donyell Marshall
1993 --          2                   5              Isaiah Rider
1992 --          1                   3              Christian Laettner
1991 --          7                   7              Luc Longley
1990 --          5                   6              Felton Spencer

2011 draft lottery odds

1. Minnesota (17-65) -- 250 (out of 1,000)
2. Cleveland (19-63) -- 199
3. Toronto (22-60) -- 156
4. Washington (23-59) -- 119
5. Sacramento (24-58) -- 76
6. New Jersey* (24-58) -- 75
7. Detroit (30-52) -- 43
8. LA Clippers** (32-50) -- 28
9. Charlotte (34-48) -- 17
10. Milwaukee (35-47) -- 11
11. Golden State (36-46) -- 8
12. Utah (39-43) -- 7
13. Phoenix (40-42) -- 6
14. Houston (43-39) -- 5

* New Jersey pick goes to Utah
** Clippers' pick goes to Cleveland

Nate Sandell is a contributor to 1500ESPN.com.
Email Nate | @nsandell
In this story: Corey Brewer, Jonny Flynn
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