HIBBING — With all of the uncertainty of the times going on, something flew right past us — the National Basketball Association Draft Lottery.

Maybe some people knew about it, but quite honestly, I didn’t even know it was held Thursday until I looked at Twitter, and even so, I wasn’t quite sure what I was reading.

It finally hit me that the Minnesota Timberwolves moved up to the No. 1 pick. It was the first time in franchise history that the club actually moved up in the lottery.

Yes, they did get the No. 1 pick a few years ago and took Karl-Anthony Towns, but Minnesota didn’t move up to get him.

How that flew by my radar, I’ll never know. I guess I have more important things on the mind than the NBA lottery.

What I’m more upset about is the National Hockey League lottery, and how the Minnesota Wild had something like a 12.5-percent chance to get the No. 1 pick, along with eight other teams.

That first-round pick is going to be Alexis Lafreniere, who’s too talented to pass on.

He’ll probably play a significant role with the Rangers next season.

Of course, the Wild couldn’t have used a player like Lafreniere, could they? He would have been a nice piece of the puzzle with Kirill Kaprisov joining the team next year.

I’m not necessarily a conspiracy-theory-type-of guy, but I do believe there have been times when the NBA and NHL lotteries have been fixed, and in this case, it was fixed for New York.

The gentleman who was handling the ping-pong balls did something to them while he was loading them into the machine, and low and behold, the Rangers came out No. 1.

The NHL can’t have a New York team struggle like the Rangers have done over the past few seasons. It’s the biggest market in the NHL, so New York has to be relevant, which it might be right now.

The Wild, on the other hand, ended up with the ninth pick in the draft, and according to one mock draft, Minnesota is slated to pick goalie Iaroslav Askarov, who?, from St. Petersburg.

The Wild do need an upgrade between the pipes. This kid is 6-feet-3-inches tall. He has the potential to develop into a franchise player.

Potential? How many times have we heard that word with our sports franchises.

Too many times to be exact, and most of the time, they never pan out.

I’m sorry but Alex Stalock and Devin Dubnyk aren’t the answers anymore. Dubnyk was good when we first acquired him, but the Wild need new blood between the pipes.

Getting back to the Wolves.

Of course, they don’t get the No. 1 pick when Zion Williamson is available, and as of now, there doesn’t seem to be a Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic in the bunch.

This NBA draft is the most unpredictable draft, with no true consensus No. 1 pick.

He’s your top five college players at the moment: Obi Tippin; Jaden McDaniels; Yoeli Childs; Payton Pritchard; and Xavier Tillman.

Lamelo Ball is out there, but I don’t know if I would take a chance on him. I also read a story in Sports Illustrated about a player from Israel named Deni Avdija, who ESPN ranks as the fifth-best prospect in the world. He’s only 19-years-old.

If this kid is as good as Doncic and Jokic, I’d be the first in line to draft him.

Since the Wolves acquired DeAngelo Russell, there’s been talk of him, Towns and Devin Booker wanting to play together.

Booker, who plays on the Phoenix Suns, had an outstanding eight games in the bubble, but the Suns didn’t advance into the playoffs.

Should Minnesota package that No. 1 pick for Booker? Or is he too valuable for Phoenix to trade right now? Maybe the Suns don’t want him to leave.

I’m sure Gersson Rosas will do his due diligence and make the best-possible decision as to what to do.

Of course, the Wolves don’t draw any attention when they get the No. 1. All the sports talk is about the Golden State Warriors, who have the No. 2 pick.

I get it. Minnesota has been irrelevant for quite some time, and Rosas and Coach Ryan Saunders have to do something about that, but Golden State has had its moment in the sun. Move on from Warriors.

Hopefully, this pick will get the Wolves moving in the right direction.

Stay safe, and good luck to all of the high school sports teams, who will be starting their seasons this week.


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