By winning the NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday, the Chicago Bulls gave themselves the chance to pick a hometown star with the top pick in next month's NBA Draft.
The Bulls, without a coach since sacking Jim Boylan hours after their 33-49 season ended, had only a 1.7 percent chance of landing the top pick in the June 26 draft but defied the odds to capture the top prize on offer.
Coincidentally, one of the two top-rated prospects available with the No. 1 selection, point guard Derrick Rose, is from Chicago.
Rose averaged 14.9 points a game this past season as a freshman in leading the University of Memphis to the US college finals and a record 38 victories.
His main rival for the top spot in the eyes of most scouts is Kansas State big man Michael Beasley, who averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds in leading the Wildcats into the national college tournament.
“We’re very excited. Whichever way we go we will get a great player,” said Bulls vice president of business operations Steve Schanwald.
The Miami Heat, which finished an NBA-worst 15-67 last season, settled for the second pick with Minnesota third as the Bulls, with the ninth-worst record in the league, had more luck than their 13 other non-playoff NBA rivals.
The Heat’s failure continues a legacy of lottery heartache for the clubs with the worst season records. Only four have taken the top pick since the lottery began. Only two have done it since 1994.
Miami has never picked first and blew a 25 percent chance of taking the top pick when the ping pong ball coded for the Bulls was pulled from the hopper.
“We have a great opportunity to get a great young player,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.
Seattle, with the second-worst record at 20-62, settled for the fourth pick, followed in order by Memphis, New York, the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, Charlotte, New Jersey, Indiana, Sacramento, Portland and Golden State.