Nets can't catch a break

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:13 PM ET

Even with the odds overwhelmingly in their favour, the New Jersey Nets ended up losers.

Given their lost season, perhaps Tuesday night’s lottery result was a fitting end.

In a touch of symbolism, the Washington Wizards ended up with the first overall pick in next month’s draft.

Irene Polin, the widow of Abe Polin, represented the franchise on the podium wearing the 1978 championship ring her late husband proudly displayed.

Like the Nets, the Wizards experienced their share of misery, but there was utter embarrassment stemming from an locker room incident involving Javaris Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas, who drew guns on each other in the Wizards’ locker room during a Christmas Eve argument over gambling debts.

Minority owner Ted Leonsis, who is in the process of taking over the Wizards as majority owner, wouldn’t commit on the team selecting Kentucky guard John Wall, the consensus first overall pick.

Whatever direction the Wizards decide to take, it’s highly doubtful they’re going to screw up the process like they did in 2001, the year they used the first overall selection on Kwame Brown.

A rehabilitated and a healthy Arenas paired with Wall gives Washington a dynamic combo, but there are many areas that need upgrading.

The Wizards had a 10.3% chance of winning the lottery.

Because they finished with a league-low 12-70 record, the Nets had a 25% chance of selecting first on June 24.

Wall was viewed in New Jersey as a changing of the guard, the start of something good to a franchise that has struggled.

Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov is thinking big as majority owner and was hoping to use the lottery as a springboard to usher in major changes.

Barely one week into his tenure as owner and already the billionaire has to deal with a setback and life as a Net.

The Nets, who have $26 million in cap space, could have helped their cause of attracting a marquee coach and a big-time free agent had the lottery gone their way.

Now, they have to sit back to see who Washington takes, followed by Philadelphia, who, next to Washington, emerged as the evening’s biggest winners by selecting second.


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