Quantcast

The 5 most memorable moments in NBA draft lottery history

Published: Wednesday, July 29 2015 11:02 p.m. MDT

Chicago Bulls executive vice-president of business operations Steve Schanwald poses for photographers after winning the NBA draft lottery, giving the Bulls the number one pick in the upcoming draft, Tuesday, May 20, 2008, in Secaucus, N.J.  (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Chicago Bulls executive vice-president of business operations Steve Schanwald poses for photographers after winning the NBA draft lottery, giving the Bulls the number one pick in the upcoming draft, Tuesday, May 20, 2008, in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

With the 2014 NBA draft lottery scheduled for Tuesday, NBA owners, players and fans can't help but anticipate what the lottery future for their respective teams holds.

With an upcoming draft class that includes Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Julius Randle, this year's lottery makes for a very exciting one. Whichever draft pick a team ends up with could help decide the future of the team for better or worse.

In preparation for Tuesday, here is a look at the five most memorable moments in NBA draft lottery history:

The Bulls get the first overall pick in 2008, despite only having a 1.7% chance of doing so

The 2008 NBA draft lottery was scripted like a children's story for the Chicago Bulls. Of the 1,000 ping pong balls in the lottery, Chicago owned only 17 of them. Yet, despite the odds, Chicago miraculously captured the first overall pick, which allowed it to draft Derrick Rose, who grew up in Chicago.

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose works out before an NBA basketball game between the Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/charlie arbogast) (Charles Rex Arbogast, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose works out before an NBA basketball game between the Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/charlie arbogast) (Charles Rex Arbogast, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Rose immediately made an impact for the Bulls, winning the NBA's Rookie of the Year award in 2009, and the Most Valuable Player award in 2011.

Stemming from their amazing lottery luck, the Bulls hope Rose can bring home an NBA championship in the near future.

Grizzlies excitedly draft Steve Francis, but are forced to trade him

In the 1999 NBA draft lottery, the then Vancouver Grizzlies ended up with the second overall pick in the draft. With Elton Brand being taken first overall, the Grizzlies snatched up Steve Francis, the electrifying guard out of Maryland. What was so memorable however, was the reaction by Francis. He made it clear that he didn't want to play in Vancouver, and in the upcoming months, the Grizzlies had no choice but to trade Francis.

Francis headed to Houston, where he went on to win the Rookie of the Year award, followed by three NBA All-Star selections. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, ended up getting players and picks in return for Francis, none of whom helped take their franchise to another level. Two years later, the franchise moved to Memphis.

Greg Oden gestures to several thousand cheering Portland Trail Blazers fans during a rally in Portland, Ore., Friday, June 29, 2007, the day after the team  picked him in the NBA draft.  The Portland Trail Blazers ended months of debate Thursday night when they chose the Ohio State center over fellow college freshman Durant with the top pick in a highly anticipated NBA draft.(AP Photo/Don Ryan) (Don Ryan, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Greg Oden gestures to several thousand cheering Portland Trail Blazers fans during a rally in Portland, Ore., Friday, June 29, 2007, the day after the team picked him in the NBA draft. The Portland Trail Blazers ended months of debate Thursday night when they chose the Ohio State center over fellow college freshman Durant with the top pick in a highly anticipated NBA draft.(AP Photo/Don Ryan) (Don Ryan, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Blazers overcome the odds but select a bust

In the 2007 NBA draft lottery, the Portland Trail Blazers had only a 5.3 percent chance at getting the top pick in the NBA draft. Despite the odds, when it came time for then Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to name the final two teams, it was the Seattle Supersonics that wound up with the second pick, leaving the first overall pick to Portland.

When the draft finally arrived, the Blazers selected center Greg Oden with their top pick, and the Sonics selected Kevin Durant with the second pick.

While Oden was a player who looked like he would be dominant for years to come, the result was quite the opposite. Injuries have plagued Oden his entire NBA career. He played in 61 of the 82 games his rookie year, but his impact was very minimal. The following season, Oden played in only 21 of 82 games, and his production once again was sub-par. He then went on to miss the following three NBA seasons, before signing this year with the Miami Heat. This season, Oden has only played in 23 games, and looks like a player who is trying to relearn how to play basketball.

Maryland's Steve Francis stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected second by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Draft at the MCI Center in Washington, Wednesday, June  30, 1999.  (AP Photo/Doug Mills) (DOUG MILLS, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Maryland's Steve Francis stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected second by the Vancouver Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Draft at the MCI Center in Washington, Wednesday, June 30, 1999. (AP Photo/Doug Mills) (DOUG MILLS, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Kevin Durant, on the other hand, seems to be on cruise control to become a future Hall-of-Famer. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2008, followed by four NBA scoring titles, and of course this year's Most Valuable Player award.

Blazers fans will always wonder what would have happened, had they taken Kevin Durant with the first pick in 2007.

The Cavs announce that they will draft LeBron hours after they win the draft lottery

In the 2003 NBA draft lottery, the Cleveland Cavaliers were favored to secure the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. So when it came time to name the winner of the lottery, it was no surprise when the Cavs had their name called. As owner Gordon Gund was congratulated on the lottery outcome, and asked about projected first pick LeBron James, he said with a laugh, "We don't know who we are going to pick yet." Later he held up a Cavaliers' jersey with the name "James" on the back, along with the number 23.

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, the first pick in the NBA draft, holds up his jersey during a news conference Friday, June 27, 2003, at Gund Arena in Cleveland.  (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (TONY DEJAK, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, the first pick in the NBA draft, holds up his jersey during a news conference Friday, June 27, 2003, at Gund Arena in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (TONY DEJAK, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"It's no secret that we intend to select LeBron James with the first pick," said Cavs general manager Jim Paxson afterwards.

James was born and raised in Ohio, making him even more of an attractive pick, and when it came time to draft him, the Cavaliers did so, with the hopes that he would lead their franchise to their first of many championships.

James made an impact for the Cavaliers instantly, and would win the Rookie of the Year award in 2004. In the years followed, he made the Cavaliers a force in the Eastern Conference. While doing so, James won one scoring title and two Most Valuable Player awards with Cleveland. He also led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007.

In the summer of 2010, James chose to leave Cleveland to head to Miami to join forces with two fellow members of his draft class in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Since then, James has won two more Most Valuable Player awards and two NBA championships.

The National Basketball Association's number one draft pick, Patrick Ewing, right, formerly of Georgetown University, accepts a New York Knicks hat from Dave DeBusschere, the general manager of the Knicks in New York on Tuesday, June 18, 1985. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler) (MARTY LEDERHANDLER, AP) The National Basketball Association's number one draft pick, Patrick Ewing, right, formerly of Georgetown University, accepts a New York Knicks hat from Dave DeBusschere, the general manager of the Knicks in New York on Tuesday, June 18, 1985. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler) (MARTY LEDERHANDLER, AP)

Had the Cavaliers known that LeBron would leave his home state in 2010, would they still have drafted him back in 2003? Probably. The success James brought to the Cavaliers would have been hard to get by drafting any other player.

Knicks win the first lottery, but amidst conspiracy theories

The first-ever NBA draft lottery was held in 1985, when Commissioner David Stern decided to toss seven envelopes into a clear drum, where they would be mixed up. Each envelope would have a logo of one of the seven worst teams in the NBA. Once they were mixed, Stern reached inside the drum, grabbed an envelope, and read the name of the team that would have the top pick. It was the New York Knicks.

The Knicks eventually drafted Patrick Ewing, who went on to win the Rookie of the Year award and became an 11-time All-Star.

But that wasn't the end of the discussion as far as the ’85 lottery goes. Many felt it was a bit convenient for the NBA to have the biggest draft star head to the biggest market in the league. Combine that with the conspiracy theory that David Stern chose the one envelope that had a crease in the corner, and there is chaos. Such accusations have been discussed over the years, as well as been re-ignited by ESPN columnist Bill Simmons.

In the end, we'll never know whether it was a rigged lottery or not, but it sure makes for a memorable moment in the NBA's history.

Let the game begin

It's called a lottery for a reason, and it is because any team that has a ping-pong ball has a chance. Over the years, we have seen teams with the highest odds win the lottery, as well as some of the teams with the lowest odds. So while the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic have the best chances at getting the top pick, 2014 might just be another year where a team like the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers overcome the percentages and change their franchise's future.

You can follow Mitch Kunzler on Twitter at @MitchKunzler.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company