Winners of the lottery act like it is Xmas and that Xmas will last twelve months. But take a breath. If you think it is a science, picking 19 year olds, then it is the kind of science with a lot of false positives. These are kids. Kids do things. The only saving grace is GMs don’t have huge amounts of cash tied up in hyped up teenagers who just may be okay as far as talent and production. It is hard to determine the good from the very good from the flat out great. Just look at Markelle Fultz, the number one pick last year who couldn’t get into a playoff game, not even garbage time. I remember after the TarHeels won a title and the scouts were all raving about how a 19 year old Marvin Williams had potential that was going to blossom into superstar. Um. No.
Jimmy Butler was the last pick of the first round of the 2011 draft and he should have been a lottery pick. Jonny Flynn (5th pick, 2009 draft) was a lottery pick and he should have been the last pick. If anyone says they know, they don’t. This is a wing and a prayer business. A dream and a sobering education. Everyone is guessing. I was waiting for Lonzo Ball to become Magic Johnson. I’m still waiting.
There are a lot of lottery picks in the playoffs. Every team has them. Most All-Stars were lottery picks. But the secret is most lottery picks don’t stay with the team that drafted them. They get restless. They get tired of losing. They have their feelings all mangled. The GM moves them to get someone better. All this celebrating about a single day; the moment hardly lasts. So what’s the point?
Al Horford. #3 pick. Drafted by Atlanta. With the Hawks, Horford was in the Eastern Conference Finals one time. He didn’t win a game. In Boston, he’s been in back to back ECFs.
Kyrie Irving. #1 pick. Drafted by Cleveland. Thought he’d be the star when he signed a max extension in 2014 only to have to make nice-nice with LeBron. He won a NBA title the way everyone wants to win it, a walk off. Then he wanted out.
Gordon Hayward. #9 pick. Drafted by Utah. Highest playoff finish was second round. Utah didn’t give him a max extension in his second contract and he never forgave them.
Marcus Morris. #14 pick. Drafted by Houston and lost in the first round of the playoffs before he was traded to Phoenix. Then he was traded to Detroit and lost in the first round again, swept by Cleveland. Traded to Boston.
Kevin Love. #5 pick. Drafted by Memphis and traded on draft night to Minnesota in exchange for O.J. Mayo who isn’t in the league anymore. He never made the playoffs in Minny and was salty he didn’t get a max extension. He was traded to the Cavaliers.
Jeff Green. #5 pick. Drafted by the Celtics and traded to Seattle. A lottery bust, nothing more than a journeyman player with a bunch of homes: Boston, Memphis, Clippers, Orlando. First time in Conference Finals.
Andre Iguodala. #9 pick. Drafted by the 76ers and traded to the Nuggets in the Andrew Bynum deal. Made it to the second round of the playoffs with the 76eres. Signed a max deal with the Warriors where he was Finals MVP.
Shaun Livingston. #4 pick. Drafted by the Clippers. A gruesome injury forced him into a grueling recovery with many teams rooting for his resurrection: Heat, Thunder, Wizards (twice), Bobcats, Bucks, Cavaliers, Nets. Finally hit the lottery with the Warriors.
Kevin Durant. #2 pick. Drafted by Seattle Supersonics and OKC Thunder. Played in the NBA Finals but wanted a divorce after his second contract ran out.
James Harden. #3 pick. Drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Played in the NBA Finals and then was traded to Houston to save money.
Chris Paul: #5 pick. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets. Was up 3-2 in the playoffs and lost. Traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Was up 3-1 in the playoffs and lost. Highest playoff appearance is this year Western Conference Finals.
Eric Gordon. #7 pick. Drafted by the Clippers and never saw the playoffs. Traded for Chris Paul and toiled in New Orleans before signing free agent deal with the Rockets. WCF is farthest he has ever been in playoffs.