Tonight is the NBA Draft, an employment ritual where highly skilled job applicants are randomly assigned to divisions of a company and job offers are televised live to millions of people for immediate judgment.
As ridiculous as the spectacle seems, it gives people a chance to exercise two actions that have always been exciting and rewarding: bonding with a tribe and predicting the future.
Regarding the latter, we have information such as stats, wingspans, verticals, and highlight reels to guide our predictions. But what about history, you say? What, you didn’t say that? Well, too bad, that’s what I heard and I’ve already prepared this blog post in response. It’s my 2018 NBA Draft lottery predictions, based solely on the players each franchise has drafted throughout its history at its respective draft position(s) in this year’s draft.
1. Phoenix Suns
History: The Suns have never had the #1 pick. From a historical perspective, this lack of experience could mean the Suns aren’t ready for a #1 pick and should trade down.
Prediction: It’ll probably be okay.
2. Sacramento Kings
History: As General Manager of the Kings, Vlade Divac doesn’t have a great history on his franchise’s side. The team has drafted in the second position four times since entering the league. The selections? Phil Ford, Otis Birdsong, Archie Dees, and Maurice Stokes.
Prediction: Not good.
3. Atlanta Hawks
History: The Hawks have done surprisingly well with the third pick. They’ve selected Al Horford, Pau Gasol, Marvin Webster, and Pete Maravich. Three of those guys were really good.
Prediction: Really good. Probably the best player in the draft.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
History: Like the Hawks, the Grizzlies have a decent track record when drafting fourth. They’ve chosen role players Antonio Daniels and Drew Gooden and all-star Mike Conley, Jr.
Prediction: Probably decent!
5. Dallas Mavericks
History: The Mavs have never had the #5 pick.
Prediction: Likely average.
6. Orlando Magic
History: The Magic have only had the sixth pick once, and they used it on current youngster Jonathan Isaac.
Prediction: Whether they’re good or bad, this player will be smiling in his draft photo.
7. Chicago Bulls
History: The Bulls selected Kirk Hinrich with the seventh pick in the star-studded 2003 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, they’ve also used the #7 pick on Chris Mihm (ouch) and Quintin Dailey.
Prediction: Somewhere between a Hinrich and an ouch.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
History: This year, the Cavs need to do well with the eighth pick if they want to keep LeBron James from pummeling them during their games against the Lakers next year. Based on their past number-eight picks—DeSagana Diop, Andre Miller, Ron Harper, and Campy Russell—they have a 50/50 shot of selecting a decent player.
9. New York Knicks
History: When drafting ninth, the Knicks have greatly underperformed. Here are their picks with length of career in parentheses: Don Ackerman (1 year), Jerry Harkness (1 year), Gene Short (3 years), Larry Demic (3 years), Michael Sweetney (4 years), and John Rudometkin (5 years).
Prediction: Really bad!
10. Philadelphia 76ers
History: The Sixers have drafted twice in the tenth spot. Both selections had short careers in Philly. Elfrid Payton was traded on draft night and Leon Wood only played 38 games for the Sixers. But Wood is now an NBA referee.
Prediction: Future referee.
11. Charlotte Hornets
History: The Hornets used their sole #11 selection in franchise history last year on Malik Monk, who averaged roughly 7 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist per game in his rookie season.
Prediction: Probably okay.
12 and 13. Los Angeles Clippers
History: The good news for the rebuilding Clippers is they have back-to-back picks in this year’s lottery. The bad news is their track record at their draft positions isn’t great. They’ve chosen Melvin Ely and Yaroslav Korolev with the twelfth pick and Terry Dehere, Loy Vaught, and Joe Wolf with the thirteenth pick.
Prediction: Both will be bad but will be able to feed the post.
14. Denver Nuggets
History: The Nuggets have never had the fourteenth pick before.
Prediction: I smell a trade.