By RICK SOLEM
The Milwaukee Bucks did not win the NBA Draft Lottery.
The Bucks will be awarded the second pick in the 2014 NBA draft on June 26. For the third time in four years, the Cleveland Cavs will draft first.
With the worst record in the NBA last season (15-67), Milwaukee had the best odds to get the pick (25 percent), and would have drafted no lower than fourth.
Last year, some argue the Bucks had the best player in the NBA draft, taking Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick.
This isn’t the most surprising news. Since the NBA went to the ping pong balls in 1994 only ONE team with the worst record has gotten the first pick. One – the 2004 Orlando Magic, who took Dwight Howard. Cleveland tied for the worst record in 2003 and was awarded the first pick and took LeBron James.
Now, the decision is who the Bucks will take.
Most experts say it will be Kansas center Joel Embiid, but the Cavs will likely take him. That leaves for the Bucks, Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, Duke forward Jabari Parker, guard Dante Exum out of Australia or Kentucky forward Julius Randle.
The Bucks have had the No. 1 pick four times in franchise history: Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) (1969), Kent Benson (1979), Glenn Robinson (1994), Andrew Bogut (2001).
The third pick once: Marques Johnson (1977).
The fourth pick once: Stephon Marbury (1996) – traded for Ray Allen (fifth pick).
Robinson led the Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Bogut was well on his way to leading the Bucks to a deep playoff run before a gruesome elbow injury in April 2010 basically ended his run with the team.
We all know about Abdul-Jabbar’s career, except, perhaps, his impact in Benson’s career 10 years later.
As a Laker, Abdul-Jabbar punched Benson in the facetwo minutes into his first NBA game, breaking his jaw in retaliation to an elbow.
Benson never panned out with the Bucks and was traded for Bob Lanier, who led Milwaukee to conference titles (‘83 and ‘84).
So, the Bucks are 2-for-3 on No. 1 picks at center and 3-for-3 if you count Lanier.