While I ignore the Stephen Curry chatter and instead back in the memories of the Knicks coming up big in the rigged first-ever NBA Draft Lottery 25 years ago, New Jersey president Rod Thorn tells the Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro that he’s a fan of the bizarre ping-pong ball spectacle.

“I personally like the lottery,” Thorn president, said Monday, as he prepared for Tuesday night’s annual event in Secaucus. “A lot of my friends, like Jerry West, hate it. But I think it’s exciting. It gives everyone some kind of chance at the first pick, and if you have the worst record, you have a one-in-four chance of winning the lottery.

“And it helps preclude — though not totally — teams from not playing hard down at the end of the year. But I would always tell Jerry, if you go back to the old system, you’ll have two or three teams tanking games, and you can’t have that.”

Though he’ll go through the ceremony of representing the Nets on stage tonight — and hope for lottery lightning to strike — Thorn is already preparing to select at No. 11.

“For a month we’ve been figuring out the candidates at 11, which is probably where we’ll be,” Thorn said. “So we’ve concentrated on those guys, and about 15 or 20 who we might be interested in that will be there.

“But the reality is, we can go as low as 14 or as high as one, two or three. Either way, it adds about five or six players who we’d have to consider.”


Thorn said he already knows what his pick would be if the Nets won the lottery — forward Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (above)  is the consensus choice of every GM, but his name cannot be discussed because underclassmen can still pull out of the draft — but if the Nets landed in the No. 2 or No. 3 position, “it would be more up in the air,” Thorn said.


It is generally accepted that Hasheem Thabeet of UConn and Spanish guard Ricky Rubio are also likely to be picked in the top 3, but some executives say Rubio could slip a spot or two. Thorn agreed: “The third spot may be in the eye of the beholder,” he said.