Behind the scenes with the Pacers at another draft lottery
No superstitions or lucky charms for the Pacers reps. They were one ping pong ball away from the winning the Wembanyama Sweepstakes.
CHICAGO — Kevin Pritchard was in the first seat of the second row inside the drawing room. Wearing a sharp-looking navy suit, with a snazzy gold and navy tie and pocket square, he had the packet of number combinations in front of him and 68 (of 1,001) belonged to the Indiana Pacers.
The team’s president of basketball operations since 2017 had a pen in hand and he couldn’t believe how the first drawing began.
After 6:00 p.m. CT, it was down to the final ping pong ball and they needed No. 6. Instead, it was a 2.
“We just missed out on the fourth (number),” Pritchard shared afterward. “So my heart was racing, I was super excited. If I’m perfectly honest, I was bummed because you see the first three numbers.”
Meanwhile, Spurs general manager Brian Wright was in the drawing room and he barely moved. No celebration, no fist bump or even a smile. Somehow, he held it together when his franchise jumped from three to one and come June 22, would make the easiest decision in decades selecting 7-foot-6 Frenchman Victor Wembanyama in the draft.
Pritchard believes that pick is going to be transformational. “The first pick in this draft is no joke,” he said without naming the player. “The kid will probably never play a game that’s not sold out.”