LOS ANGELES -- What better place to take in the drama, the suspense, the hysteria of the Clippers winning the NBA draft lottery than the press room of the building where they have played mostly disastrous basketball for years? Yes, here I am in Staples Center, where everyone is in stitches over the Clippers getting the No. 1 pick in the June draft.
Go ahead laugh ... it's funny!
First of all, let there be no mistake. The No. 1 pick in this draft is Blake Griffin. This is what you and I have been hearing for months, and I spoke Tuesday with an NBA team executive I trust to make sure it was still the consensus. He assured me that there was no conceivable scenario in which someone other than Griffin is the No. 1 pick. Now, there was news out of Dallas Tuesday that a woman gave birth to twins who were fathered by different men, so I suppose anything is possible. But let's just call this as stone cold a lock as you can have.
Two thoughts came to mind when the final three teams in the lottery were announced. First, how thankful must David Stern be that Oklahoma City didn't get the No. 1 pick? The conspiracy theories about the fix being in for the Thunder to get their Oklahoma guy would've been overwhelming. Second, to be brutally honest, I felt pity for Griffin, who said the following in a televised interview immediately after the draft order was announced:
"I'm going to try to make the best out of whatever situation I'm put in."
Good luck with that, Blake.
"I hope I can make a big impact," Griffin said. "I'm going to try to learn as much as I can on the fly and hopefully help the team out."
The questions about what Griffin hopes to learn about being a pro from the likes of Zach Randolph ... well, those will have to wait for another day.
I can't speculate on how much of an impact Griffin will make on the Clippers, who've been trying to positively define the word impact for as long as Griffin has been alive. But one thing the NBA executive I spoke with made clear was this: If the Clippers got the No. 1 pick, you can bet money that either Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby will be traded this summer. If you want to bet that it'll be a bad trade, that's up to you.
On the bright side, maybe the Sacramento Kings have eclipsed the Clippers as the most cursed franchise in the NBA. Despite the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick, the Kings fell all the way to fourth. The Kings needed Griffin a lot more, and probably would've had a better chance of improving with him than the Clips.