NBA Lottery: On right bounce, Williams may rise

2011-05-17T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T13:49:55Z NBA Lottery: On right bounce, Williams may riseBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 17, 2011 12:00 am  • 

In two seasons with the Arizona Wildcats, Derrick Williams displayed the kind of versatility, body control and off-the-charts offensive efficiency that have all but guaranteed he will become a multimillionaire after next month's NBA draft.

And, if a few pingpong balls bounce his way today, Williams could earmark another million or so for his bank account, too.

While Duke's Kyrie Irving remains the consensus No. 1 pick in mock NBA drafts, it is possible that Williams could leap into the spot if a team such as Washington or Milwaukee earns the No. 1 pick in tonight's NBA lottery. The Wizards have John Wall and the Bucks have Brandon Jennings, lessening the need for Irving at point guard.

"I would think if Washington gets No. 1, they'd be a lot more likely to take Williams than Irving," said Jonathan Givony, publisher of Draft Express. "I think Irving makes sense for all teams in the top 10 except for Washington or Milwaukee."

ESPN.com's mock draft generator, which plugs teams in the lottery and predicts whom they would take under different scenarios, even has the Toronto Raptors taking Williams if they received the No. 1 pick - although the Raptors could use a point guard.

But it's also possible that Turkish big man Enes Kanter or Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas could change the equation. Kanter is a particular wild card because he might have become the No. 1 prospect had an NCAA ruling not prevented him from playing this season at Kentucky.

If a similar rookie salary scale to the current one is adopted when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, the difference between a No. 1 and No. 2 pick would be about $550,000 per year - meaning the difference is more than $1 million for the two-year period that contracts are guaranteed. Teams also hold options for a third and fourth season in the current CBA.

Here's a look at how the lottery teams stand entering today's draw:

Minnesota

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 25.0 percent. Chances of No. 2 pick : 21.5.

• Analysis: The Timberwolves have two point guards on hand (Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn) and the rights to another (Spain's Ricky Rubio) but still might want to go after a potential franchise point guard. A potential lockout is making Rubio's appearance more uncertain. "Minnesota will be interesting," said Chris Monter, of Monter Draft News. Rubio "is supposed to come over this year, but who knows?" Minnesota also has solid forwards in Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, so Irving appears to be the likely choice.

Cleveland

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 22.7. Chances of No. 2 pick : 23.2.*

• Analysis: The Cavaliers have respectable help at point guard and power forward, but in this post-LeBron era, they need talented bodies, period. So they could just jump at the best available player and grab Irving. However, the fact that forward Antawn Jamison's contract expires next summer could make them think a bit about Williams.

Toronto

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 15.6. Chances of No. 2 pick: 15.7.

• Analysis: Former UA standout Jerryd Bayless did not grab the Raptors point guard spot definitively this season, so the Raptors are still expected to chase Irving if they can. But they have holes at power forward, too.

Washington

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 11.9. Chances of No. 2 pick: 12.6.

• Analysis: Unless there's a trade involved, the Wizards are expected to choose Williams first because of Wall's presence, and they would jump at him with a No. 2.

Utah

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 8.2. Chances of No. 2 pick: 9.2.**

• Analysis: The odds are against the Jazz replacing one D-Will (Deron Williams, traded to the Nets in February) for another (Derrick) - not only because of the Jazz's few pingpong balls but also because it has plenty of power forwards. It might do it with a No. 2 pick, however.

Sacramento

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 7.6. Chances of No. 2 pick: 8.4.

• Analysis: Could the Kings work in Irving next to scoring-minded point guard Tyreke Evans? It's probably a moot question. Sacramento's chances are also slim for Williams, who could make an immediate impact with the Kings.

Detroit

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 4.3. Chances of No. 2 pick: 4.9.

• Analysis: The Pistons might think about shipping point guard Rodney Stuckey if they somehow land the No.1 pick and take Irving.

Charlotte

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 1.7. Chances of No. 2 pick: 2.0.

• Analysis: Bobcats wouldn't likely pass on a Dookie with an upset No. 1 pick.

Milwaukee

• Chances of No. 1 pick: 1.1. Chances of No. 2 pick: 3.0.

• Analysis: Jennings, who famously signed an Arizona letter of intent only to play in Italy, has locked up the Bucks point guard spot. But the Bucks probably won't pick soon enough to see Williams, either.

• Other teams with chances at first and second picks: Golden State (0.8, 0.95), Utah (0.7, 0.83), Phoenix (0.6, 0.71)

* Cleveland's figures are a combination of those from its own pick (19.9 percent for the No. 1 pick, 18.8 for the second) and from a pick it received from the Los Angeles Clippers (2.8, 3.26).

** Utah's figures are a combination of those from its own pick (0.7, 0.83) and from rights to Nets' pick (7.5, 8.34)

TODAY

• What: NBA draft lottery

• Where: Secaucus, N.J.

• When: 5:30 p.m.

• TV: ESPN

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