M.L. Carr said he didn't bring any good-luck charms with him to
yesterday's draft lottery and nerve festival here at the NBA
"I've already done
my work," the former coach and director of basketball operations said
after the Celtics had suffered their 68th setback of the season,
finishing with the third and sixth picks (the latter courtesy of
The Celts actually didn't need
luck. With far and away the best chance of all 13 lottery teams to get
the top pick, they just needed the odds to hold true.
San Antonio made the leap from third to first, winning the right to
Wake Forest center Tim Duncan. Philadelphia, aided by a loaned charm
from famed Boston Strangler Andrew Toney, also vaulted the Celts, moving
on up from the fifth position to second.
we have rather had the No. 1 pick? Definitely," said Carr, who held
down the Celtics' place on the televised panel but is no longer involved
in player operations in his new role as vice president for corporate
"But we're still going to get
two good players if we stay in those positions at 3 and 6. Obviously we
wanted No. 1, but you have to remember we've already made a big score by
getting Rick Pitino to come in and run things. To get Rick Pitino and then the No. 1 pick? How fortunate could you be?
"But I'm telling you, getting Rick Pitino and the No. 3 and 6 picks is still hitting a home run."
With the Celtics possessing the best cards coming in, Philadelphia president Pat Croce set his sights on knocking them off.
day I was just telling someone that I wanted to get a better pick than
the Celtics, that I wanted to be the new Boston Strangler," the colorful
Croce said. "The next thing I new, Andrew Toney sent me a letter with
this shoelace in the envelope."
Croce help up a sneaker lace and displayed the handwritten correspondence from the former Sixers guard.
read: "This shoe string comes from the right sneaker that I wore in the
championship playoffs in '83. Please send it back when you get a
chance. Thanks, Andrew. P.S. Good luck in the lottery."
Croce, "I love that Boston didn't get No. 1. Everyone said there was a
36 percent chance Boston was going to get him (Duncan), and M.L. and I
have said that we would love to have the rivalry of the Sixers and
Celtics up again. You should have heard M.L. in the beginning when they
started announcing. He said, 'I don't feel good about this, Croce. Get
off there. Get out of here.' "
But Carr was taking no credit or blame for the game of chance that went on yesterday in a separate room.
balls, I didn't touch any one of them," he said. "I didn't touch a
single ball. The job that I did got us to this point. So as far as the
balls coming out, I don't believe in good luck and bad luck.
you asked me any other time, I would say (the Celtics luck) is pretty
good because we have 3 and 6. Your expectations are a lot higher
obviously because Tim Duncan is sitting out there. But I think we have
two quality players with 3 and 6. Coach Pitino will put that together with what he already has. Coach Pitino
knows these players. He had to prepare for them (as coach at Kentucky)
and he had Ron Mercer on his team. He knows them as well as anyone."
clearly, the Celtics coveted Duncan, not only because he is the
consensus best available player in the draft but because he would also
fill a glaring need at center. But the Spurs were all over this one. One
of their numerical combinations came up first. Then another San Antonio
number came up second. It was, of course, put aside, and a Philadelphia
number bounced out.