LIVE › 9-1 p.m. Mackey & Judd
NEXT › 1 p.m. ESPN SportsCenter
1:05 p.m. Garage Logic with Joe Soucheray
1:25 p.m. 1500 ESPN Rewards Listen & Win Code - Grab 100 points for 1500 ESPN Rewards
1:30 p.m. Twin Cities Sports Update - with John Heidt
2 p.m. ESPN SportsCenter
2:05 p.m. Twin Cities Sports Update - with John Heidt
Updated: May 20th, 2014 9:07am
Sandell: A look at Wolves' unlucky history in NBA draft lottery

Sandell: A look at Wolves' unlucky history in NBA draft lottery

SportsWire Daily

Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports

Signup!
by Nate Sandell
1500ESPN.com

Whether you chalk it up to a long run of tough luck or go as far as to label them a "cursed franchise," the Minnesota Timberwolves have rarely had good fortune in the NBA draft lottery.

The Wolves have never improved on their draft position in 15 lottery appearances (does not include the 1999 draft when they owned the Nets' lottery pick as a result of the Stephon Marbury trade). Minnesota has fallen back in the order eight times. It has become an annual refrain.

Could this be the year the ping pong balls finally fall in the Wolves' favor?

It would take an improbable strike of luck for the Wolves to move up in Tuesday night's lottery. They enter slotted 13th out of 14 teams. Minnesota has only a 0.6 percent chance of landing the top pick and a combined 2.18 percent chance at winning a top-3 selection.

Odds are that the Wolves will stay at No. 13 (96.02%). However, there is a nightmare scenario that could cause their draft plans to go awry. If Phoenix defies the 1.8% odds to leapfrog into the top-3 and the Wolves drop to No. 14, Minnesota would be forced to surrender its pick - a byproduct of the 2012 Wesley Johnson trade.

As you wait to see where the Wolves end up this year, take a look back at how the franchise has fared in the lottery.

--

1990

Pre-lottery position: No. 5

Chances (out of 66): 7

Probability of landing top-3 pick: No. 1 - 10.61%, No. 2 - 10.77%, No. 3 - 10.92%

Ended up: No. 6

-- The Wolves selected Felton Spencer with the sixth pick. Derrick Coleman was the top overall selection, followed by future Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton.

--

1991

Pre-lottery position: No. 7

Chances (out of 66): 5

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 7.58%, No. 2 - 7.97%, No. 3 - 8.42%

Ended up: No. 7

-- After sticking with the seventh pick, the Wolves drafted Luc Longley, who spent two disappointing seasons in Minnesota before being traded to the Chicago Bulls late in the 1993-94 season.

-- Four of the six players drafted ahead of Longley went on to appear in at least one All-Star game (Larry Johnson, No. 1; Kenny Anderson, No. 2; Dikembe Mutombo, No. 4; Steve Smith, No. 5).

--

1992

Pre-lottery position: No. 1

Chances (out of 66): 11

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 16.67%, No. 2 - 15.56%, No. 3 - 14.35%

Ended up: No. 3

-- It's the quintessential example of the Wolves' rough lottery luck. Coming off a league-worst 15 wins, Minnesota slid from the top slot to the third pick, which they used on Christian Laettner. The drop in position ended up costing the Wolves a chance to take Shaquille O'Neal (No. 1) and Alonzo Mourning (No. 2). Orlando scored the biggest upset in lottery history by winning the top pick despite a 1.52% chance.

--

1993

Pre-lottery position: No. 2

Chances (out of 66): 10

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 15.15%, No. 2 - 14.47%, No. 3 - 13.68%

Ended up: No. 5

-- The Wolves fell three spots - their biggest drop in the lottery. They drafted Isaiah Rider after Chris Webber, Shawn Bradley, Anfernee Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn were taken with the first four picks.

--

1994

Pre-lottery position: No. 3

Chances (out of 1000): 164

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 16.40%, No. 2 - 16.41%, No. 3 - 16.13%

Ended up: No. 4

-- In the first year under the current lottery system, the Wolves dropped one spot to the fourth pick. With Glenn Robinson, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill off the board, Minnesota went on to select Donyell Marshall. Forty games into his rookie season, Marshall was traded to Golden State for Tom Gugliotta. Robinson (2), Kidd (10) and Hill (7) ended up making a combined 19 All-Star game appearances.

--

1995

Pre-lottery position: No. 3

Chances (out of 1000): 182

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 18.20%, No. 2 - 17.80%, No. 3 - 16.96%

Ended up: No. 5

-- Turns out the Wolves were just fine falling to the fifth pick. They drafted Kevin Garnett. Garnett came after Anotonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace had gone with the three picks before him. Joe Smith, who became an NBA journeyman, went No. 1 overall.

--

1996

Pre-lottery position: No. 5

Chances (out of 1000): 77

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 12.98%, No. 2 - 4.56%, No. 3 - 8.35%

Ended up: No. 5

-- In one of the deepest drafts in NBA history (Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, etc.), Minnesota picked Ray Allen but traded him to Milwaukee for Stephon Marbury, who had been selected one pick earlier.

--

2005

Pre-lottery position: No. 14

Chances (out of 1000): 5

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 0.50%, No. 2 - 0.59%, No. 3 - 0.73%

Ended up: No. 14

-- Back in the lottery after eight consecutive playoff appearances, the Wolves stayed put in 14th position. They drafted Rashad McCants.

--

2006

Pre-lottery position: No. 6

Chances (out of 1000): 53

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 5.30%, No. 2 - 6.02%, No. 3 - 6.96%

Ended up: No. 6

-- On draft day, the Wolves swapped picks with Portland (No. 7), trading Brandon Roy for Randy Foye. Portland's All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge was the No. 2 pick, selected after Andrea Bargnani went first to Toronto.

--

2007

Pre-lottery position: No. 7

Chances (out of 1000): 53

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 5.30%, No. 2 - 6.00%, No. 3 - 7.00%

Ended up: No. 7

-- Portland entered the lottery with the same longshot odds as the Wolves, but the Trail Blazers emerged with the top pick. Minnesota selected Corey Brewer at No. 7.

Kevin Durant, the NBA's 2014 MVP, has turned out to be the standout of the 2007 draft. He was selected second overall behind Greg Oden. Al Horford, Mike Conley Jr. and Jeff Green went with the third, fourth and fifth picks.

--

2008

Pre-lottery position: No. 3

Chances (out of 1000): 138

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 13.80%, No. 2 - 14.24%, No. 3 - 14.54%

Ended up: No. 3

-- For the fifth time in a row, the Wolves didn't move from their original seeding. It worked in their favor this time. Minnesota shipped the third pick, O.J. Mayo, to Memphis in a trade that brought in All-Star forward Kevin Love -- the fifth overall pick.

--

2009

Pre-lottery position: No. 5

Chances (out of 1000): 76

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 7.60%, No. 2 - 8.43%, No. 3 - 9.46%

Ended up: No. 6

-- The Wolves ultimately got the fifth pick in a trade with the Wizards, going on to draft Ricky Rubio. One pick later, they took Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry with their lottery selection. Blake Griffin was selected first overall by the Clippers.

--

2010

Pre-lottery position: No. 2

Chances (out of 1000): 199

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 19.90%, No. 2 - 18.80%, No. 3 - 17.10%

Ended up: No. 4

-- The Wolves had their second-best lottery odds, but it still resulted in a two-spot drop. John Wall, Evan Turner and Derrick Favors were taken in the top-3. Minnesota went with Wesley Johnson at No. 4.

--

2011

Pre-lottery position: No. 1

Chances (out of 1000): 250

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 25.00%, No. 2 - 21.50%, No. 3 - 17.80%

Ended up: No. 2

-- Missing out on their best opportunity to land the top pick, Minnesota slotted in at No. 2 and selected Derrick Williams after Kyrie Irving went No. 1 to the Cavaliers.

--

2013

Pre-lottery position: No. 9

Chances (out of 1000): 17

Probability of landing a top-3 pick: No. 1 - 1.70%, No. 2 - 2.00%, No. 3 - 2.41%

Ended up: No. 9

-- The Wolves held on to their pre-lottery position for the seventh time. Minnesota drafted Trey Burke but quickly traded him to Utah for the 14th pick, Shabazz Muhammad.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to 1500ESPN.com.
Email Nate | @nsandell
10484