Draft lottery losers can still come out winners

Posted Monday, May. 19, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Dreams will be made Tuesday night when the NBA holds its annual draft lottery in New York City.

Well, if you want to characterize the lottery winner as having the opportunity to choose between Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Plano’s Julius Randle as a dream.

Of course, every year everybody says this is a good draft filled with a lot of franchise-type players, and every year that turns out not to be true. And this year more pipe-dreamers await those teams looking at the draft lottery as the cure-all for the reasons they’re in the draft lottery to begin with.

There is no Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, LeBron James or Dwight Howard awaiting the winner. So don’t get your hopes up, regardless of what you hear from the various hoop analysts.

But there are some nice pieces that can help a team or two progress and possibly not be in the draft lottery again next season.

I remember attending last year’s draft lottery in New York, and witnessing the overwhelming joy the Cleveland Cavaliers exhibited after they won the top pick in the draft. I remember everyone taking pictures with teenager Nick Gilbert — the son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert — who was hailed as the team’s lucky charm in helping them win the draft lottery.

With that top pick the Cavs drafted Anthony Bennett. The same Anthony Bennett who started no games as a rookie on a team that was in the lottery last year, and on a team that’s back in the lottery again this year.

Some luck.

All the excuses about Bennett being hurt before the draft are legit. So why get all excited about winning the draft lottery when you seriously felt the best player in the draft was a player who had to undergo shoulder surgery?

Bennett wound up playing 52 games this season and averaged a mere 4.2 points and three rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game. And he became the first healthy No. 1 overall pick in the draft to receive no points in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Thus, while fans get all in a tizzy after their favorite team wins the draft lottery, let the winner beware. Sometimes there are as many players such as Pervis Ellison, Michael Olowokandi, Kwame Brown and Anthony Bennett awaiting the lottery winner as there is a David Robinson, Yao Ming, Allen Iverson, Shaq or LeBron.

Unless a player has a legitimate “can’t-miss franchise” tag written all over him, winning the draft lottery isn’t that big of a deal. There are always some precious gems found for those teams who don’t win this made-for-TV event.

Stephen Curry was chosen seventh in 2009, the same year Toronto chose DeMar DeRozan with the ninth pick. Paul George was the 10th selection in 2010, while the teams that drafted Russell Westbrook (fourth), Kevin Love (fifth) and Roy Hibbert (17th) in 2008 didn’t win the draft lottery.

In addition, in 2007 the folks in Seattle were all bummed out when they lost the draft lottery to Portland. The Trail Blazers used the top pick to draft Greg Oden, leaving Seattle — which moved its franchise to Oklahoma City in 2008 — having to settle for Kevin Durant.

The Dallas Mavericks didn’t win the 1998 draft lottery, but still came away with Dirk Nowitzki that year. However, the Mavs also missed out on another basketball treasure.

Unable to win the top spot in the 1996 draft lottery, the Mavs wound up with the ninth pick that year. They chose Samaki Walker. Kobe Bryant was drafted four spots later.

That’s the kind of stuff that would be trending on Twitter if it happened during today’s social media climate.

Last year, the Mavs were in the draft lottery, but traded down twice and ended up taking Shane Larkin with the 18th pick. A year later, with no impact from Larkin, they made the playoffs and had a strong first-round showing before losing to the San Antonio Spurs in seven games.

The draft lottery consists of the 14 teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs, or the team that holds the draft rights of the team that missed the playoffs.

What fans should always remember about the draft lottery is that it’s not whether your team wins or loses Tuesday night’s event, it’s the performance of your team’s front office/ownership on draft day that matters most. You could be the biggest losers in the draft lottery and still walk away as the biggest winner.

Hibbert wasn’t even a lottery pick, and he’s worked out just fine for the Pacers. And Kobe was the very last pick of the teams that were in the 1996 draft lottery.

Imagine getting all dressed up for the lottery, then going home afterward and telling your wife that you finished dead-last. But you wound up with Kobe Bryant.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Portland 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Charlotte TV: CSN-NW, SPSO
Washington 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CSN-DC, FSN-OH
Golden State 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Orlando TV: CSN-BA, FSN-FL
Brooklyn 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: YES, CSN-PHI
Toronto 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Atlanta TV: SN 360, SPSO
New York 11/26 7:30 PM ET
LA Clippers 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Sacramento 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Milwaukee 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-WI, FSN-N+
Utah 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Oklahoma City TV: FSN-OK
Indiana 11/26 8:30 PM ET
San Antonio TV: FSN-IN, FSN-SW
Denver 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Phoenix TV: Altitude2, FSN-AZ
Memphis 11/26 10:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Chicago 12:30 PM ET
Detroit TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Seattle 8:30 PM ET
San Francisco TV: NBC
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Miami 8:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Washington 11/26 7:00 PM ET
NY Islanders TV: CSN-DC+, MSG+
Winnipeg 11/26 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: SN1, MSG-BUF
Philadelphia 11/26 7:30 PM ET
NY Rangers 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: MSG 2, SUN
Carolina 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Toronto 11/26 7:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: TVA Sports, SN, ROOT-PIT
Los Angeles 11/26 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-W, FSN-N
Chicago 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: TVA 2, CSN-CH, Altitude
Calgary 11/26 10:30 PM ET
San Jose TV: SN-W, CSN-CA
Full Scoreboard