Hours before their franchise-change night, the Orlando Magic underwent a rare transformation.
President of Basketball Operations Jeff Veltman was due to be the Magic’s on-stage representative after he went to the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday evening in Chicago.
But before the lottery began, coach Jamahl Mosley told Veltman that he was “feeling a little lucky” and asked if he could replace him on stage – an irresistible switch that Veltman agreed.
How did this affect the Magic eventually winning the lottery and securing the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft for the fourth time in franchise history?
As Veltman put it, “It didn’t hurt.”
“I haven’t been very good at it,” said Veltman, the last three times he has been the representative after the Magic fell in the draft lottery. “It’s funny. The coach was feeling lucky, we let him roll the dice and tonight he’s the best coach of the year.
The Magic ended their tendency to stay or fall in their pre-lottery position in their last 14 tries in 1993 by winning the top pick in the June 23 draft.
After finishing the 2021–22 regular season with the second-worst record, Orlando entered Tuesday with three other teams for the best chances of getting the No. 1 pick (14%), but falling out of the top. There was also a 59.8% chance. three.
Mosley didn’t bring any special lucky charms with him, leading him to believe that the NBA Draft Lottery that had plagued Orlando for nearly 20 years was about to end.
Rather, it was a set of recent events that made the 43-year-old coach Max feel that it was a turn of magic to get lucky.
Three people close to Mosley had birthdays on Sunday: his eldest son, CJ; Orlando assistant coach Nate Tibbetts; and Magic Guard Cole Anthony.
Mosley also attended a memorial service on Sunday for the father of one of his closest friends – a man Mosley said was a patron.
“We thought we were seeing people watching over us, trying to make sure we got the No. 1 pick,” Mosley said.
If there was a singular good luck charm for magic inside McCormick Place, it might be Cole DeVos—grandson of former Magic owner Rich DeVos and son of Magic president Dan DeVos.
On Tuesday, Cole entered the draft lottery for the first time in person.
“I was giving Jeff a hard time, like ‘Maybe it’s a good thing we have a gag because you were there in the past… and we haven’t had the best of luck the last few years’,” Cole said. said . “Being there, we had some good luck charms. I felt good. Over the years I was nothing but nervous, but I enjoyed walking around the building.”
Cole wore his grandfather’s watch, which was given to him after Rich’s death in 2018, during Tuesday’s lottery for the first time.
“I was actually thinking about putting it in a case,” Cole said. ,[Tuesday] Took the right day to put it on for the first time. I know he is happy for us and happy for this organization. This team was his pride and joy.”
The Magic’s on-site team felt the same joy, with the Orlando front office in Chicago for the rest of the week for the draft combination beginning Wednesday.
Orlando has the opportunity to take control of their fortunes by adding another top prospect to their young corps that could include several former lottery picks (Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Mo Bamba – a banned free agent, Wendell Carter Jr., Jonathan Isaacs) , Markel Fultz) and the first-round picks from the past five years (Anthony, Chuma Okeke, RJ Hampton, Mo Wagner).
“You walk into this position with a group of young men that’s actually through an 82-game season,” Mosley said. “They can talk about that experience and help an incoming new group get to the next level.”
This article first appeared on orlandosentinel.com, email at cost [email protected] or follow him on twitter @khobi_price,