BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: May 19, 2009 at 8:32 am •  Published: May 19, 2009
It only lasts a few minutes. A person opening envelopes isn’t exactly riveting television, but for many Oklahomans tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery is must-see.

With Oklahoma City now among the 30-team NBA fraternity, combined with local star Blake Griffin projected as the first Big 12 player to ever be selected No. 1, many Oklahomans said they’ll watch the drama unfold. Some will watch from home, others at a sports bar.

"This doesn’t happen too often in our football-heavy state,” said Jared Atha, 25, of Clinton. "The chances of the Thunder landing the No. 1 pick are slim, but the excitement will keep me tuned in.”

Around 7:45 tonight on ESPN (Cox 29), the lottery show will reveal where the Thunder will select in the June 25 NBA Draft.

"The consensus is we’re on the cusp of becoming a great team,” said Ryan Doonkeen, of Clinton. "People around the nation were catching on at the end of the season that we’re an exciting, young team that has a ton of potential.

"With this draft (lottery), our chances increase with who we draft.”

The Thunder finished 23-59 its first season in Oklahoma City after the franchise moved last summer from Seattle.

While the dream is for the Thunder to land the No. 1 pick and get Griffin, some would settle for a top-three selection, knowing Oklahoma City would get either Griffin, Spanish teenage point guard sensation Ricky Rubio or UConn 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet.


HOW-TO GUIDE TO WATCHING THE LOTTERY

Fans wanting to know what to root for while watching the NBA Draft Lottery tonight must be familiar with the procedure.

The lottery determines only the top three selections. After that, everything else is slotted based on inverse win-loss records.

When NBA officials reveal the draft order around 7:30, Thunder fans will want to see the following teams’ names announced in this order, signifying no team leapfrogged over Oklahoma City:

14-Phoenix; 13-Indiana; 12-Charlotte; 11-New Jersey; 10-Milwaukee; 9-Toronto; 8-New York; 7- Golden State; 6-Memphis; 5-Minnesota.

If any of those 10 teams don’t land in those specific draft selection spots, it signifies that team has received a top three selection. It also reduces Oklahoma City’s chances of getting a top-three selection, much less the No. 1 overall pick.

The lowest the Thunder can select is seventh. If two teams on the above list are not announced in their respective spots, odds indicate that Oklahoma City probably will draft No. 6, which is where the Thunder landed in The Oklahoman’s jelly bean lottery on NewsOK.com.

BY MIKE BALDWIN

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