NBA Draft Lottery: History Of Teams With Fourth-Worst Record

As you probably know, the Washington Wizards will have the fourth-best odds to win the NBA Draft Lottery for a second straight year.  That would be very unprecedented -- only Orlando in 1992 and 1993 did it, and that was before the weighted lottery system that currently exists today -- but ironically, the Wizards have a better chance to win the lottery this time around than they did last year.  Last year, they had the fifth-best odds and still won the lottery.

Can they do it again?  Who knows, and there's no way to predict it. But I was kind of curious how teams in the Wizards' spot in the past did.  Below the jump, a list of where the teams with the fourth-worst record have drafted since they changed the lottery odds in 1994.

1994: Minnesota Timberwolves (20-62)

  • Pick: 4
  • Player selected: Donyell Marshall
  • Notes: Three teams -- Milwaukee, Detroit and Minnesota -- were tied for the second-worst record.  The Bucks won the tiebreaker for the second-most odds, then won the lottery to select Glenn Robinson.  Detroit got the third-most odds (I believe, can't 100% confirm that) and picked third, getting Grant Hill

1995: Philadelphia 76ers (24-58)

  • Pick: 3
  • Player selected: Jerry Stackhouse
  • Notes: Golden State leaped from the fifth-worst record to win the lottery and select Joe Smith.  The Clippers, who had the worst record, picked second and drafted Antonio McDyess.  Worth noting: the league excluded expansion Vancouver and Toronto from the lottery, placing them sixth and seventh.

1996: Milwaukee Bucks (25-57)

  • Pick: 4
  • Player selected: Stephon Marbury (traded for Ray Allen)
  • Notes: One of the few years, along with 1994, where the three worst teams picked in the top 3.  Philadelphia won the lottery with the second-worst record.

1997: Denver Nuggets (21-61)

  • Pick: 5
  • Player selected: Tony Battie
  • Notes: This is the year where the Celtics famously had the most odds (their own record) and the sixth-most odds (from owning Dallas' pick).  San Antonio won with the third-worst record and got Tim Duncan.  Philadelphia got the second pick with the fifth-worst record.  Vancouver had the worst record, but were not eligible for the top pick because they were an expansion team.

1998: Golden State Warriors (19-63)

  • Pick: 5
  • Player selected: Vince Carter (traded for Antawn Jamison)
  • Notes: Golden State tied with Vancouver for the fourth-worst record, but Vancouver couldn't win the lottery like the year before, so Golden State essentially had the fourth-most odds.  The Clippers won the Michael Olowokandi derby with the third-worst record, while Vancouver jumped to second.

1999: Denver Nuggets (14-36)

  • Pick: 5
  • Player selected: Jonathan Bender
  • Notes: Denver had traded this pick to Toronto in the summer of 1998 in a three-team deal that brought them Chauncey Billups (fresh off his rookie year).  Toronto then dealt Bender to Indiana for Antonio Davis.  Chicago won the lottery with the third-worst record.  Vancouver, who had the worst record, picked second, while Charlotte jumped to third despite having the lowest odds to leap up.

2000: Vancouver Grizzlies (22-60)

  • Pick: 2
  • Player selected: Stromile Swift
  • Notes: New Jersey won the lottery despite having the seventh-worst record.  The Clippers, who had the worst record, picked third.

2001: Vancouver Grizzlies (23-59)

  • Pick: 6
  • Player selected: Shane Battier
  • Notes: The Wizards won this lottery, unfortunately, with the third-worst record.  The Clippers jumped up from the eighth-worst record to pick second, while Atlanta picked third with the fifth-worst record.  Atlanta ended up trading their pick (Pau Gasol) to the Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

2002: Denver Nuggets (27-55)

  • Pick: 5
  • Player selected: Nikoloz Tskitishvilli
  • Notes: Houston won with the fifth-worst record.  Chicago and Golden State, who tied for the worst record, picked second and third respectively.

2003: Miami Heat (25-57)

  • Pick: 5
  • Player selected: Dwyane Wade
  • Notes: Cleveland won while being tied for the worst record.  Memphis jumped from the sixth-worst record to the No. 2 spot, which sucked because the pick belonged to Detroit from a 1998 trade for Otis Thorpe unless it was No. 1 overall. 

2004: Los Angeles Clippers (28-54)

  • Pick: 2
  • Player selected: Emeka Okafor
  • Notes: The Clippers were tied with Atlanta for the fourth-worst record, and Atlanta picked sixth.  The Clippers traded this pick to Charlotte for the No. 4 pick and the No. 33 pick.  The Clippers then picked Shaun Livingston.  Orlando won the lottery with the worst record.

2005: Utah Jazz (26-56)

  • Pick: 6
  • Player selected: Martell Webster
  • Notes: The Jazz traded the sixth pick, the No. 27 pick and a 2006 lottery-protected first-rounder to the Blazers for the No. 3 pick, then selected Deron Williams.  The Bucks won the lottery with the fifth-worst record.  Atlanta, who had the worst record, finished second.

2006: Atlanta Hawks (26-56)

  • Pick: 5
  • Player selected: Shelden Williams
  • Notes: The Hawks tied the Bobcats for the third-worst record, but Charlotte won the tiebreaker to get more ping-pong balls.  The Bobcats ended up picking third.  Toronto won the lottery with the fifth-worst record

2007: Atlanta Hawks (30-52)

  • Pick: 3
  • Player selected: Al Horford
  • Notes: The top three teams all got leapfrogged in this lottery.  Portland won with the sixth-worst record, while Seattle picked second despite the fifth-worst record.

2008: Memphis Grizzlies (22-60)

  • Pick: 5
  • Player selected: Kevin Love
  • Notes: Memphis tied Minnesota for the third-worst record, but the Timberwolves won the coin flip to get the third-most odds. Minnesota got the third pick, then traded O.J. Mayo for Love.  Chicago won the No. 1 pick and Derrick Rose with the ninth-worst record.  Miami, who had the worst record, picked second.

2009: Oklahoma City Thunder (23-59)

  • Pick: 3
  • Player selected: James Harden
  • Notes: The Clippers won while tied for the second-worst record after losing a coin flip with the Wizards, of course.  Memphis jumped up to second while tying for the fifth-worst record.  Sacramento, who had the worst record, picked fourth.

2010: Golden State Warriors (26-56)

  • Pick: 6
  • Player selected: Ekpe Udoh
  • Notes: The Warriors were tied for the fourth-worst record with the Wizards and won the coin flip.  That obviously worked out well for our team.
To review, the team with the fourth-worst record has never won the NBA Draft Lottery.  It has picked...
  • Second twice
  • Third three times
  • Fourth twice
  • Fifth seven times
  • Sixth three times
In other words, based on history, expect the No. 5 pick.
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