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Clippers hit it big, win draft lottery

By Brian Mahoney
Associated Press / May 20, 2009
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SECAUCUS, N.J. - The Los Angeles Clippers won the NBA's draft lottery last and own the No. 1 pick in next month's draft.

The Clippers moved up from the third-best chance to earn the top pick for the third time, earning the right to draft All-America forward Blake Griffin of Oklahoma, the national college player of the year.

Memphis vaulted to second and Oklahoma City will pick third.

Sacramento, which had the best chance to win the lottery after finishing with a league-worst 17-65 record, fell to fourth, and Washington dropped from second to No. 5.

The Clippers last had the No. 1 pick in 1998 and, perhaps predictably, blew it, taking eventual bust Michael Olowokandi. They stand a better chance of getting it right this time if they go with Griffin, who led the nation with 30 double-doubles and 14.4 rebounds per game, while also averaging a Big 12-best 22.7 points as a sophomore.

The top three teams all moved up, making the 25th lottery as unpredictable as most of its predecessors. Not since 2004, when Orlando took Dwight Howard, had the team with the best chance to win ended up with the No. 1 pick.

Minnesota has the sixth pick followed by Golden State, New York, Toronto, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Charlotte, Indiana, and Phoenix.

The draft is June 25 at Madison Square Garden.

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