Diamonds In the Rough: Best Non-Lottery NBA Picks of the Last Decade

May 20th, 2010 by Charlie Scaturro Leave a reply »
The Draft Lottery is a uniquely counterintuitive NBA institution. Unlike the NFL or MLB where the team with the worst record is awarded the first pick, the NBA team with the worst record only has about a 25% chance of receiving the number one selection. Essentially, the NBA began implementing the lottery after allegations that the Houston Rockets dogged their way to the worst record in the Western Conference during the 83’-84’ season so they could have a shot at winning the coin toss for the first overall pick in the 1984 draft. Luck was on the Rockets side and they were indeed awarded the first overall pick which allowed them to draft future Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon. When the NBA realized that teams were potentially willing to lose late season games in order to improve their draft stock, they came up with the lottery to dissuade this sort of behavior. The NBA has also slimmed down the length of the draft from seven rounds (last used in 1987) to the current two round format. The shortening of the draft reflects the existing reality in the NBA in which only a few players from a given draft will be able to make a major impact on the NBA landscape. ...

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