The NBA lottery will take place tonight in Chicago prior to Cleveland and Boston tipping off in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
So, in a few hours, we’ll know which teams will be picking where in the June draft, and can fully begin to hypothesize on where the prized talents like DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr., Michael Porter, Wendell Carter, Trae Young, Mo Bamba, Mikal Bridges, Collin Sexton and others will eventually wind up.
The Phoenix Suns finished with the league’s worst record this year at 21-61. Thus, they have the best chance at the No. 1 pick. The Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks, with the second and third worst records, are close behind.
But it ain’t just the downtrodden that are looking forward to how the ping-pong balls bounce tonight. The Cleveland Cavaliers, and either the Philadelphia 76ers or the Boston Celtics, have lottery picks as well due to trades.
As much as tonight represents dreaming towards the future for every franchise, it also should serve as a reminder that having a lottery pick is no guarantee of future success. Having a top selection can be both a gift and a curse.
Here are the five worst NBA Lottery selections of all-time in order of where they were drafted.
Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers – Injuries conspired against Oden’s considerable talent, and I’m sure fans and management are still upset that they whiffed on taking Kevin Durant, who went second overall in that 2007 draft to the Seattle Supersonics. Kwame Brown being taken by the Wizards in 2001, Anthony Bennett going to the Cavs in 2013 and Michael Olowokandi going to the Clippers in 1998 are a close second.
Watch a run through of the lottery selections from Thursday night’s draft.
Darko Milicic, Detroit Pistons – Hailed as an international phenom at the age of 18, Milicic went No. 2 in 2003, right behind LeBron James being the top overall pick by the Cavs. By going with Darko, Detroit missed out on adding Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade to play alongside Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace on their championship-caliber team.
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Chris Washburn, Golden State Warriors – Washburn played a mere 72 games over two seasons and received a lifetime ban from the NBA in 1989 due to drug abuse. This was one of the worst lotteries ever, with Len Bias being taken with the second overall pick. The true jewels of the 1986 Draft were Arvydas Sabonis, Mark Price, Dennis Rodman and Jeff Hornaceck.
He was a freak of nature. The only thing bigger than Chris Washburn’s athletic talents … was his personality. And that’s where he got into trouble. A candid interview with a man who should be in the NBA Hall of Fame.
Wesley Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves – In selecting Johnson with the fourth pick out of Syracuse in 2010, the Wolves missed out on DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Eric Bledsoe and Avery Bradley.
Take a look at this feature on Wes Johsnon from the beginning of his basketball career to the potential superstar future.
Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings – Wondering if Kings fans have visions of Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond or Draymond Green, who were all selected after Robinson, playing in Sacramento. Honorable mentions include Nikoloz Tskitishvili in 2002, Alex Len in 2013 and Jonathan Bender in 1999.
Catch highlights of former Kansas standout Thomas Robinson.