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NBA DRAFT LOTTERY

One Spot Makes All Difference for Clippers

May 23, 2003|Mark Heisler | Times Staff Writer

And then there are those who get bumped down one key slot.

Masters of so many other lotteries, the Clippers started Thursday night with the fifth-worst record. However, when the Detroit Pistons jumped into the No. 2 spot (with a pick owed to them by Memphis), it forced the Clippers down to No. 6, which is another strata in this draft.

At No. 5, the Clippers, who are expected to let center Michael Olowokandi leave as a free agent this summer, would have been looking at one of two big men, Central Michigan's 7-foot Chris Kaman and Georgia Tech's Chris Bosh.

If current projections hold, LeBron James, Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, Kaman and Bosh will go in the first five, leaving no players of their caliber in the draft and the Clippers figuring out what their next move is.

"You're always disappointed but I think a lot of those other clubs are disappointed," General Manager Elgin Baylor said from the lottery in Secaucus, N.J.

"People who finished second and third, they're not as disappointed. It makes it a little tougher but there will be some good players there. I don't believe they'll be in the category of LeBron James or [Anthony and Milicic] at this point in time but who knows? In time, some of these other players could develop to be outstanding players.

"The question is, between now and June 26, which of these guys are going to stay in? Some of the high school players will go to college and some of the college guys will go back and some of the Europeans will go back to Europe. If the Europeans stay in the draft, a lot of them will go in the first round, and some in the lottery."

*

NBA DRAFT ORDER

1. CLEVELAND

2. DETROIT (from Memphis)

3. DENVER

4. TORONTO

5. MIAMI

6. CLIPPERS

7. CHICAGO

8. MILWAUKEE (from Atlanta)

9. NEW YORK

10. WASHINGTON

11. GOLDEN STATE

12. SEATTLE

13. MEMPHIS (from Houston)

14. MILWAUKEE

15. ORLANDO

16. BOSTON

17. PHOENIX

18. NEW ORLEANS

19. UTAH

20. BOSTON (from Philadelphia)

21. ATLANTA (from Indiana)

22. NEW JERSEY

23. PORTLAND

24. LAKERS

25. DETROIT

26. MINNESOTA

27. MEMPHIS*

28. SAN ANTONIO

29. DALLAS

*from Sac. through Orlando

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