The lottery, from Ewing to Zion: polemics, surprises, changes ...

The draft lottery has evolved since its introduction in 1985. Before, the coin tossed decided the fate of Magic or Michael Jordan.


In this LINK you can check the possibilities of each of the fourteen teams (those who did not enter the playoffs) in the face of the lottery, which this year clearly gravitates around the Zion Wiliamson phenomenon and that essentially defines the final order of the draft the NBA. And that from this season nuances the way in which he ponders those possibilities, more adjustments than revolution, in times in which the NBA has come an intense debate on the tanking and on how you could get the most needy teams have access to the most sought-after talent without interfering too much in the logic of the competition. That the tanking, in short, is something as much circumstantial and not institutionalized from the offices and even before the seasons begin. In the offices of the NBA do not like too much the tanking, but even more annoying the debate too public around him.

But it has not always been like that. The current system, with its dark points and its undoubted virtues, is the culmination (for now) of a slow process that has lasted decades and that began with the competition itself, in 1946 and as BAA. Then there was no lottery, in fact there was no until 1985. In the first years the teams chose by simple reverse order to the classification of the previous season. The great particularity in that prehistory was the territorial call pick, that was not another thing that the right of the franchises to choose a player of an area of 80 kilometers to the round of his soothes. It was basically that the local stars did not move from their area to strengthen the bond of the franchises and their communities. Those who made use of that territorial pick closed it before the draft and exchanged it for their first round election. In total 23 territorial picks were made between 1949 and 1965. Twelve finished in the Hall of Fame and four won the Rookie of the Year in their first season: Tom Heinsohn (Boston Celtics), Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia Warriors), Jerry Lucas (Cincinnati Royals ) and Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati Royals). Not all cases were clear: Chamberlain played at the University of Kansas, but the Warriors argued to take him by this route that had grown in the Philadelphia area and played there in his high school (Overbrook High School). Oscar Robertson, the mythical Big O, was territorial pick and also number 1 of the draft since the Royals had the right to choose first in any case.

From the coin to the first lottery

The first big change came in 1966 with the introduction of a coin in the air that elucidated who chose with the number 1 and who with the 2 among the worst team in each division. From number 3 the order was the reverse of the number of wins. Although very rudimentary (and with obvious flaws: the second worst team could be in the Division of the worst and had no choice to take the number 1), this formula was maintained until 1984 and had a decisive role in the NBA was taking the the way we met her, fully fledged in her golden age: in 1979 Magic Johnson went to the Lakers and not the Bulls because the Angels won the heads-up (the Bulls chose David Greenwood). Everything has its good part: with Magic, the Bulls would not have been one of the worst teams in the NBA (27-55) before the 1984 draft and they would not have had the option of drafting Michael Jordan.

The coin helped that time to The Bulls: The Rockets chose first and took Hakeem Olajuwon. The Blazers, in one of the biggest mistakes in history, stayed with Sam Bowie. The Oregonians wanted a center, so if they had 1 they would have chosen Hakeem. In that case, the Rockets would have chosen Jordan with the 2. They did not face the draft thinking about positions but talent: to escape Hakeem, obvious choice that was also an idol at the University of Houston, they would not have chosen Bowie precisely with the 2 ...

By then, 1984, there was already talk of tanking and the efforts of the Rockets to fall to get in the way of their desired Hakeem Olajuwon. A So in 1985 the first lottery sketch appeared, with envelopes that bore the names of the teams that had not qualified for the playoffs: they all had the same options of taking the 1 and the lottery picks were decided by opening the envelopes. The rest of the first round, in reverse order of defeats. But the NBA did not erase the shadow of the controversy: the Knicks, who had the third worst balance of victories, took the 1 and could draftear to Patrick Ewing. Many saw in this formula a system to send the monumental center of Georgetown to the needy New York franchise. So in 1987, two years later, the system was nuanced and they decided todraw only the first three picks. After those envelopes, the rest of the first round was done in reverse order of the number of wins. The Spurs (fourth worst balance) took David Robinson with the 1 and in a system that already guaranteed that the worst team did not choose beyond the number 4 (if it was outside the first three, designated by lottery) .

The great jump to what we have later known as the draft lottery came in 1990, with the ball system and percentages weighted according to the number of defeats. Of 66 total options, the worst of the previous season had 11 to take the number 1. The second worst, 10. And so on. Once again, the first three picks were decided and the rest in reverse order of the last classification. In 1993, Orlando Magic broke the bank by taking the number 1 (Chris Webber, later exchanged by Penny Hardaway) with the lowest options of any franchise: only 1 of 66, 1.52% after finishing the season in 41- 41 Fat prize for a franchise that a year earlier, in 1992, had also taken the 1 (this time from the second worst record) to Shaquille O'Neal. The NBA reacted only months later: more options for the worst teams, less for the best among those who entered the lottery. The worst went from 16.7% to 25, the best from 1.5 to 0.5%. From there, and starting in 2005 with 30 franchises and therefore 14 out of playoffs, to the last approved reform and which will come into force as of this season.

Now, essentially, the three worst have the same options to take the 1, 14% (before it was 25, 19.9 and 15.6 for 1, 2 and 3) . The lottery decides the first four picks (the rest is, as always, in reverse order of the classification) and not three as before, so the worst classified can fall up to pick 5 at most, and teams in the temperate zone also increase their options to enter that top 4 who decides the hype. What has been said: nuances to equalize things without going into radical changes.

The Clippers, unlucky kings of the lottery

The aforementioned case of the Magic in 1993 is the most radically contrary to the probabilistic, with those of Florida choosing the number 1 to Despite having started with only 1.5% of options. Second, editions of 2008 and 2014, when Bulls and Cavaliers chose Derrick Rose and Andrew Wiggins with 1 despite leaving with 1.7% . There are 12 franchises that have never won the lottery since its introduction in 1985. The one that has taken most times the 1 is the Los Angeles Clippers: five, although two had previously left in transfers. Followed by three Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, who with his number 1 via lottery chose LeBron James in 2003 And that in the four years without him he had three times the first election, two with his picks (Anthony Bennett and Wiggins) and one with one of the aforementioned Clippers (Kyrie Irving, 2011) .

From the appearance of the weighted system in 1990, the team won the lottery seven times with the worst balance and four times the second worst. The last four seasons, the worst has chosen the number 1: Towns to the Wolves in 2015, Simmons to the Sixers in 2016, Fult z to the Sixers in 2017 (although the original pick was from the Celtics, which in turn had it from the Nets: the real winner of that lottery) and Ayton from the Suns last season. Before this streak, it had only happened three times: in the first edition with that system (1990), the Nets drafted Derrick Coleman, in 2003 the Cavs to LeBron and in 2004 the Magic to Dwight Howard. From that year until 2015, the worst one never took the 1.

. It is also curious the case of the Canadian franchises, Toronto Raptors and the Grizzlies in their years in Vancouver, who were three years (1996-98) without being able to access the number 1 by the agreements signed with the NBA after its entries via expansion. They came to the draw with their options to take the pick 1 capadas.

These (appears the team that originally had the pick and the player chosen without including trades a priori for the picks or after the draft by the players) have been all the winners of the lottery with the position from which they came to the draw:

1985. Knicks (Patrick Ewing): third worst record

1986: Clippers (Brad Daugherty): seventh worst record

1987: Spurs (David Robinson): fourth worst record

1988: Clippers (Danny Manning): worst record

1989: Kings (Pervis Ellison): sixth worst record

1990: Nets (Derrick Coleman): worst record

1991: Hornets (Larry Johnson): fifth worst

1992: Maic (Shaquille O'Neal): Second worst

1993: Magic (Chris Webber): eleventh worst

1994: Bucks (Glenn Robinson): second worst

1995: Warriors (Joe Smith): fifth worst

1996: Sixers (Allen Iverson): second worst

1997: Spurs (Tim Duncan): third worst

1998: Clippers (Michael Olowokandi): third worst

1999: Bulls (Elton Brand): third worst

2000: Nets (Kenyon Martin): seventh worst

2001: Wizards (Kwame Brown): third worst

11111212222: Rockets (Yao Ming): fifth worst

2003: Cavaliers (LeBron James): worst

2004: Matic (Dwight Howard): worst

2005: Bucks (Andrew Bogut): sixth worst

2006: Raptors (Andrea Bargnani): fifth pe or

2007: Blazers (Greg Oden): sixth peor

2008: Bulls (Derrick Rose): ninth peor

2009: Clippers (Blake Griffin): Second peor

2010: Wizards (John Wall): fifth peor

2011: Clippers (Kyrie Irving): eighth worst

2012: Hornets (Anthony Davis): third worst

2013: Cavaliers (Anthony Bennett): third worst

2014: Cavaliers (Andrew Wiggins): Ninth worst

111112015: Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns): worst

2016: Sixers (Ben Simmons): worst

2017: Nets (Markelle Fultz): worst

1111112020: Suns (DeAndre Ayton): worst



Photos from as.com

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