The New York Knicks’ victory in the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery, which landed them the top overall pick Georgetown center Patrick Ewing, is such a part of NBA legend that it even spawned a long-held conspiracy theory that the lottery was rigged in the Knicks favor.
Now, with the Knicks once again hoping to get the top pick and use it on a college big man, Ewing will be returning to represent the Knicks at this year’s lottery next Tuesday night.
Per a tweet by ESPN’s Marc J. Spears, Ewing, who is now Georgetown’s head coach, will represent the Knicks at the lottery along with another former Georgetown center, Alonzo Mourning, representing the Miami Heat, where he is currently a vice president. Also there will be former players Horace Grant, who is a special adviser to the president of the Chicago Bulls, and Memphis Grizzlies minority owner Elliott Perry. Active players Kyle Kuzma (the Los Angeles Lakers) and Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns) will also appear on the lottery stage.
The draft lottery was instituted for the first time in 1985, the year the Knicks won it and selected Ewing. It’s meant to prevent teams from losing on purpose, although teams have continued to do so in order to improve their lottery odds. Rules have changed this year to make the top four picks available in the lottery as opposed to three; the teams with the worst records are given greater odds.
Per Tankathon, a website that runs lottery simulations, the Knicks, Cleveland, and Phoenix each have a 14 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick, while Chicago has a 12.5 percent chance and Atlanta a 10.5 percent chance. Zion Williamson of Duke is expected to be the top overall choice in this year’s draft, which takes place in June.
Team participants for the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/P1xoezT7l4— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 8, 2019
Actress Jami Gertz, who owns the Atlanta Hawks along with her husband Tony Ressler, will be on stage, as will Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and someone who has been seen as a “good luck” charm for the team in past lotteries, per Fox 8. Head coaches Alvin Gentry of the New Orleans Pelicans and James Borrego of the Charlotte Hornets will be there as well.
Gersson Rosas, the newly named president of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, will represent that team, with others on stage including Boston Celtics President Rich Gotham, Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall, Philadelphia 76ers President Chris Heck, and Washington Wizards Vice Chairman Raul Fernandez.