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Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  May 19, 2010 04:14 PM

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The NBA conducted its draft lottery Tuesday night and the Washington Wizards ended up with the No. 1 overall pick, despite having the league's fourth-worst record. The New Jersey Nets, who flirted with NBA ignominy most of the season and netted just 12 wins, didn't even end up with the No. 2 pick. They dropped to third, as the Philadelphia 76ers moved up due to the ping-pong balls and the fact the league draws for its first three picks.

It was the sixth year in a row that the team that finished with the league's worst record didn't end up with the No. 1 overall pick. The NBA needs to look at overhauling the lottery to make it fairer for failing teams. Instead of drawing for the top three, the league should take a page out of the NHL's playbook and only draw once and make only the top five teams eligible to take the top spot.

This wouldn't have changed the outcome of this year's lottery, but it would ensure that the Nets, and any future holder of the league's worst record, select no worse than second. It would also avoid situations like 2007 when the Memphis Grizzlies and the Celtics finished with the worst records in the league and picked fourth and fifth, respectively, and 2008 when the Bulls had the ninth-worst record and got the No. 1 overall pick.

Lotteries are by nature luck of the draw, but it shouldn't be a complete crap shoot. The NBA should do more to make sure the worst teams have a better chance to change their fortunes.

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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news


...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.

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