(AFP) – May 17, 2010
NEW YORK — Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the new owner of the New Jersey Nets, will represent his club at Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery, hoping luck will bring the top choice all his money cannot buy.
The Nets, whose sale to Prokhorov was approved last week by NBA owners, have the best odds at landing the top selection in next month's annual allocation of unclaimed talent as a result of their league-worst 12-70 record this season.
New Jersey has a 25 percent chance of being given the top pick, the best hope among the 14 clubs that missed this year's playoffs.
But the team with the worst record has not won the lottery for the top pick since 2004, when Dwight Howard was taken by Orlando.
Minnesota has the second-best odds of claiming the top choice at 19.9 percent followed in order by Sacramento at 15.6 percent, Golden State at 10.4 percent and Washington at 10.3 percent.
The top three spots will be decided in the lottery, so the Nets can fall no worse than fourth in the hunt for young talent. The remaining picks will be allocated after that on the basis of fewest season wins.
The Nets won the draft lottery in 1990 and 2000 and hope to continue the trend a decade later under Prokhorov.
"I think we're going to get a lot of positive buzz no matter what," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "The cache that he brings with him, we're going to get a lot of positive feedback, particularly in this area.
"We're in a very good position. Wherever we end up, we're going to get a really good player, so I'm excited about that."
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