In the 23 years since the lottery’s inception, the team with the NBA’s worst record, despite having a 25% chance, has received the number one pick just 3 times, which has proved to be more significant than you might think.
In this year’s lottery, the trend continued. Despite limping their way to an NBA-worst 20-62 record, the Orlando Magic could not will the ping pong balls to fall their way on lottery night and had the misfortune of drawing the number two pick. To the casual fan, the number two pick might seem like a pretty good consolation prize, especially in a draft like this one, with no clear cut number one. But as we look back over the last 30 years, we see that the number one pick has resulted in 20 All-Stars, 13 Rookies of the Year, and 10 MVPs, while the number two pick…not so much.
Here’s a look at the past 5 years.
2012 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky – Charlotte Bobcats
Number 1: Anthony Davis
Passed On Later: Damian Lillard (6),
Draft result: Too early to tell. Kidd-Gilchrist put up some respectable numbers in his freshman campaign, but realistically, is he ever going to be a franchise cornerstone? Not likely.
2011 Derrick Williams, Arizona – Minnesota Timberwolves
Number 1: Kyrie Irving
Passed On Later: Klay Thompson (11), Kawhi Leonard (15), Kenneth Faried (22),
Draft result: Williams is well known as an underachiever around the league and at this point, chances of all-star games and award ceremonies are pretty low.
2010 Evan Turner, Ohio State – Philadelphia 76ers
Number 1: John Wall
Passed On Later: DeMarcus Cousins (4), Greg Monroe (7), Paul George (10), Larry Sanders (15), Eric Bledsoe (18), Grievis Vásquez (28)
Draft result: Turner’s inconsistent play has him teetering on the edge of the dreaded “bust” label. With Monroe and George looking like future perennial all-stars, the former NCAA Player of the Year’s selection continues to look worse and worse.
2009 Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut – Memphis Grizzlies
Number 1: Blake Griffin
Passed On Later: James Harden (3), Tyreke Evans (4), Ricky Rubio (5), Stephen Curry (7), DeMar DeRozan (9), Gerald Henderson (12), Jrue Holiday (17), Ty Lawson (18), Darren Collison (21),
Draft result: One of the worst picks in NBA history. Thabeet ended up in the D league within a couple years of draft night, while the rest of the draft has already seen two all-stars (Harden and Holiday), two potential superstars (Harden and Curry), and a handful of NBA starters.
2008 Michael Beasley, Kansas State – Miami Heat
Number 1: Derrick Rose
Passed On Later: Russell Westbrook (4), Kevin Love (5), Danilo Gallinari (6), Eric Gordon (7), Brook Lopez (10), Roy Hibbert (17), Javale McGee (18), Ryan Anderson (21), Serge Ibaka (24), Mario Chalmers (34)
Draft result: Beasley is now on his third team in five years and has seemingly accepted his fate as a mediocre NBA player.
Other notable number two’s from the last 30 years:
2005: Marvin Williams over Deron Williams (3), Chris Paul (4), Danny Granger (17), David Lee (30)
2003: Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony (3), Chris Bosh (4), Dwyane Wade (5), David West (18)
2002: Jay Williams over Amar’e Stoudemire (9), Caron Butler (10), Carlos Boozer (35).
1998: Mike Bibby over Antawn Jamison (4), Vince Carter (5), Dirk Nowitzki (9), Paul Pierce (10)
1997: Keith Van Horn over Chauncey Billups (3), Tracy Mcgrady (9)
1993: Shawn Bradley over Penny Hardaway (3), Jamal Mashburn (4), Vin Baker (8), Allan Houston (11), Sam Cassell (24), Nick Van Exel (37)
1987: Armon Gilliam over Scottie Pippen (5), Kevin Johnson (7), Horace Grant (10), Reggie Miller (11), Mark Jackson (18)
1986: Len Bias overdoses on cocaine, never plays a game for Boston Celtics
1985: Wayman Tisdale over Chris Mullin (7), Detlef Schrempf (8), Charles Oakley (9), Karl Malone (13), Joe Dumars (18), A.C. Green (23), Terry Porter (24)
1984: Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan (3), Sam Perkins (4), Charles Barkley (5), Alvin Robertson (7), Kevin Willis (11), John Stockton (16)