Who should win the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery?

Karl-Anthony Towns

It is that time of year again. The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery will be held tonight. Who deserves to win it?

I like to imagine a world in which the draft order is determined by Davometrics – my balanced consideration of each franchise’s fan base, history, location, ownership, front office, existing talent and any other miscellaneous factors that I consider relevant.

I want the best young prospects (such as Karl-Anthony Towns, pictured above) to have the chance to develop in the best possible basketball environment: in front of sold-out crowds of educated, passionate fans who will appreciate watching them develop; for owners who are financially committed to surrounding them with the necessary talent; preferably in a large, thriving metropolis that offers a superior quality of life and great marketing opportunities.

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1994 NBA Draft revisited: Kidd, Hill, Big Dog & Co.

The ’93 Draft, which was revisited here last week, was deemed “not great” by esteemed readers of the blog. 1994 was certainly worse, producing no MVPs, just five All-Stars, and a No. 1 pick whose career was underwhelming.

However, it did yield one of the all-time greats at his position (Jason Kidd), one of the original “next Michael Jordan” candidates (Grant Hill), the largest ever rookie contract (Glenn Robinson), and the first ever $100 million player (Juwan Howard).

Here are the top 10 picks, retrospectively re-ordered to reflect each player’s NBA accomplishments:

1) Jason Kidd (picked No. 2 by Dallas)

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1,391 games, 36.0 minutes, 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 40.0% FGs, 17.9 PER.

Best season: 2002/03 – 80 games, 18.7 points, 8.9 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 41.4% FGs, 22.2 PER, 49-33 record, All-NBA 2nd team.

Most memorable moment: 30-point, 10-assist performance in Game 3 of the ’02 Finals.

Kidd was the best point guard of his generation and is an easy choice for No. 1 here, even if he did inexplicably die his hair blonde, assault his ex-wife, and get traded twice during his prime.

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1993 NBA Draft revisited: C-Webb, Penny, Van Exel & Co.

The ‘93 Draft produced no MVPs and only two All-NBA First Team selections, but was deep enough to yield seven All-Stars and a couple of huge post-lottery steals.

As was the case with the 1992 Draft, the first pick had the best career and two players picked outside of the top 20 had top-five careers.

Here are the top 10 picks, retrospectively re-ordered to reflect each player’s NBA accomplishments:

1) Chris Webber (picked No. 1 by Orlando, traded to Golden State)

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831 games, 37.1 minutes, 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, 47.9% FGs, 20.9 PER.

Best season: 2000/01 – 70 games, 27.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 blocks, 48.1% FGs, 24.7 PER, 55-27 record, All-NBA 1st team, 4th in MVP voting.

Most memorable moment: Behind-the-back dunk on Barkley.

The Rookie of the Year, a 5-time All-Star and a 5-time All-NBA selection, Webber never quite fulfilled his otherworldly potential or won a championship, but remains one of the most athletic, skilled and best passing big men the game has seen. Over his prime seasons (’99 to ’03, his first five with the Kings), he averaged 24, 11 and 5, and came within a Robert Horry three of making the Finals.

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1992 NBA Draft revisited: Shaq, Zo, Spree & Co.

The ’92 Draft produced an all-time great (Shaq), a franchise player (Mourning), three other All-Stars (Sprewell, Guliotta, Laettner) and a 7-time champion (Horry).

As was the case with the 1990 Draft, the top two picks actually turned out to be the top two players – something that has not happened since.

Two players picked outside of the top 20 ended up having top-five careers – further evidence that there are always gems to be found outside of the lottery.

Here are the top 10 picks, re-ordered to reflect each player’s NBA accomplishments:

1) Shaquille O’Neal (picked No. 1 by Orlando)

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1,207 games, 34.7 minutes, 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.3 blocks, 58.2% FGs, 26.4 PER.

Best season: 1999/00 – 79 games, 29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.0 blocks, 57.4% FGs, 30.5 PER, 67-15 record, MVP, Finals MVP.

Most memorable moment: Alley-oop dunk to seal the Lakers’ Game 7 win over Portland in the Conference Finals

An easy pick then and an easy pick now.

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Who should win the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery?

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The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery will be held tonight. This year’s draft class (featuring Andrew Wiggins, pictured above) is a particularly impressive one, so it is more important than ever that the lottery rewards the right teams. Here I rank the lottery teams in order, from most deserving to least deserving of winning the top pick.

The order is determined by Davometrics – a balanced consideration of each franchise’s fanbase, history, location, ownership, front office and existing talent.

I want to see the best young prospects in the world playing in the best possible basketball environment: in front of sold-out crowds of educated, passionate fans who will appreciate watching them develop; for owners who are financially committed to surrounding them with the necessary talent to win; and preferably in a large, desirable metropolis that offers superior living and marketing opportunities.

Bonus points for other reasons will be awarded to a team’s case wherever I see fit.

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1990 NBA Draft revisited: The Glove, Coleman, Kukoc & Co.

The 1990 Draft is one of the least revisited in NBA history. It was relatively weak in terms of impact players, but full of interesting case studies.

It produced one Hall of Famer (Gary Payton), a 3-time champ (Toni Kukoc), a hugely talented disappointment (Derrick Coleman), a 48th pick who made the All-Star team (Cedric Ceballos), a professional boxer (Kendall Gill), and a Tourette’s syndrome sufferer who refused to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf).

Here are the top 10 picks and their profiles, re-ordered with the benefit of hindsight:

1) Gary Payton (picked No. 2 by Seattle)

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1,335 games, 35.3 minutes, 16.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 46.6% FGs, 18.9 PER.

Best season: 1999/00 – 82 games, 24.2 points, 8.9 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 44.8% FGs, 23.6 PER, 45-37 record, All-NBA 1st team, All-Defense 1st team.

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