Bullets guaranteed top-five pick in draft


The Washington Bullets and Minnesota Timberwolves split the two games they played during the just-completed regular season. The two teams met again yesterday in a special blind draw to establish positioning in the draft lottery, and the Bullets came out victorious -- assuring themselves of the second position in the lottery and no worse than the fifth choice in the draft.

The Bullets and the Timberwolves ended the season with 21-61 records, tying them for second worst in the league behind the Los Angeles Clippers.

At a pre-draft meeting yesterday in Secaucus, N.J., the final order of the draft was determined by a blind draw. The name of the Bullets came up first.

"By winning the blind draw, we know we will pick no lower than fifth in this year's NBA draft," said Bullets general manager John Nash. "We're confident we will get a quality player with one of the top five selections."

The NBA lottery will determine the first three picks in the draft, to be held June 28 at SkyDome in Toronto.

After the first three picks are determined, the remaining lottery teams will pick in inverse order of their regular-season records with two exceptions -- the two expansion teams, Toronto and Vancouver, will each pick either sixth or seventh, with that order to be determined after the NBA Finals end.

The Timberwolves, in losing yesterday's blind draw, could pick as low as eighth if the three worst teams would finish out of the top three picks in the draft lottery.

This year's draft is expected to be strong at the top if some of the top underclassmen opt to leave school. Thus the difference between five and eight could be tremendous.

There also is still a chance the Bullets could wind up with the top pick (an 18.3 percent chance, second only to the Clippers' 25 percent shot at the top pick).

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