When the NBA Draft Lottery results roll out Tuesday night on ESPN, the television production crew, hosts and analysts will be reacting in real time, so it’s no surprise the network is rehearsing the event hours before the real thing.
It’s adding to fans’ nerves that the network practiced using a made-up order of lottery teams — and that some random human with a cell phone rolling caught the end of the run-through.
In what is certainly a tease of Phoenix Suns fans, the Suns were ESPN’s choice to win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes during the rehearsal. Is it prophetic planning or a jinx?
No, hopeful desert denizens, the lottery drawing hasn’t taken place yet. It will occur about an hour before the first overall pick is announced on live TV, in a room that will be on complete lockdown.
The lottery results will begin broadcasting around 5:30 p.m., and the first overall pick isn’t expected to be announced until close to 6 p.m.
The rehearsal caught on camera does, however, provide a fun way to look at potential outcomes.
In this scenario, the New York Knicks, who like Phoenix have 14% odds of winning, come in with a disappointing fifth overall pick, which is their worst-case scenario. The Cavs have the second-best odds but end up with a shrug-worthy No. 4 pick. The Chicago Bulls perhaps get a fun perimeter player, Ja Morant or R.J. Barrett, to complement their young big-man duo of Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen.
Dallas moves up to No. 2, and the thought of pairing Williamson and potential 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic is fun. But in the end, it’s Phoenix slotting Williamson next to Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker.
It’s a fun thought exercise. Now with your mental health in mind, prepare to be disappointed.