Pau Gasol, Len Bias:The biggest draft lottery mess ups – NBA Draft Special (Part 1)
The National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft lottery is a yearly event in which the teams that fail to make it to the play-offs in the previous season or the teams holding the draft rights due to trades take part in a lottery process to establish the draft order. The lottery winner gets the opportunity for the first selection from a pool of collegiate and international talents.
The NBA draft lottery has been in place since 1985 and during that time it has found its critics as well. However, the excitement involved with all the possibilities that can unfold is undeniable and that is thing which makes it one of the most followed league events.
Although the league’s worst team does have the highest probability to win the No.1 pick but, in 25 years of history, the worst team in the league managed to win the lottery only five times. Orlando Magic is a prime example of the opposite. They were the 11th worst team in the league in 1993 but ended up drafting the first pick.
However, not all the teams who get the higher picks in the lottery benefit from it. Some of them pick the wrong role players, while others just use them as part of a team trade and it has happened many times in the past that the Draft mess-ups have eventually come to haunt the teams. Nearly every team has experienced a borderline disaster with the draft lottery. The most unpleasant draft instances for each team in the lottery during the past 25 years are discussed as follows.
Atlanta Hawks, Pau Gasol
Atlanta Hawks were going through a rebuilding process back in 2001, when they drafted the big man Pau Gasol as the third pick. The Hawks traded the 7 footer to the Memphis Grizzlies on the same day with Lorenzen Wright and Brevin Knight for Jamaal Tinsley and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
That very year, Gasol raced away to win the Rookie of the Year award. In the years that followed, he marked his name in the four All-Star teams, was selected for the All-NBA teams three times and most of all won two championships
On the other hand, Abdur-Rahim had two decent years with Atlanta and the franchise traded their forward for Rasheed Wallace. Wallace played only one game in the Hawks’ uniform and he was traded to Detroit Pistons that brought Chris Mills, Zeljko Rebraca and Bob Sura in Atlanta including a draft pick.
Boston Celtics, Len Bias
What happened to Len Bias was perhaps the biggest disaster in the history of the NBA draft lottery. In the 1986 draft, the second year of the event, the defending champions Boston Celtics selected the 22-year-old Bias as the second overall pick. A day after the draft, Len was pronounced dead apparently due to excessive intake of cocaine which led to cardiac arrhythmia.
Charlotte Bobcats, Adam Morrison
During the 2006 draft, the Charlotte Bobcats selected the small forward Adam Morrison with their third pick and he was the first player to be picked by Michael Jordan when he was the manager for basketball operations in the team. Morrison failed to prove himself as he shot well under 40 percent and averaged less than 3 rebounds and 2 assists during his one and half year with the Bobcats.
What made the decision look even worse was the fact that the team could have acquired the likes of Rudy Gay or Brandon Roy to play the same position that was given to Adam.