NBA Draft 2014: History of the #5 Draft pick

These guys were all #5 picks in the Draft - Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

The NBA Draft Lotto Gods smiled on the Cleveland Cavaliers once again, and the Jazz dropped in the lotto once again.

I'm not going to lie, the results of the NBA Draft lottery were kind of a downer. After everything the Utah Jazz (and fans) had to endure during the season, watching the Cleveland Cavaliers win it all was bad. Even worse when you factor in that the Jazz had essentially a 1 in 3 chance to move up in the draft. That did not happen, in fact the opposite happened. The Jazz, once again, fell in the lottery. (They've only gone up once, ever, in team history -- and that was with the Brooklyn Nets pick to get Enes Kanter a few years back.)

The main concern is that the Jazz will be picking fifth in, what appears to be a four player draft. That doesn't mean we should give up home. Sure, we don't have the assets necessary to get a Top 3 pick, but I wouldn't put it against Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey to be able to make some sort of deal with the Orlando Magic for the #4 pick if someone he wants is available. Lindsey made three trades last NBA Draft, and finished the night with players taken in none of the draft spots the team started with.

It's probably more important to also look at the historical significance of the fifth pick in the draft. Over the last four decades, honestly, it's been very solid.

  • 9 / 40 (22.5%) become rotation players
  • 13 / 40 (32.5%) become starters
  • 4 / 40 (10.0%) become All-Stars
  • 4 / 40 (10.0%) become All-NBA Players
  • and 7 / 40 (17.5%) become Hall of Famers (N.B. This is including future HOF locks for KG, Ray, and Wade)

You could easily argue that in time that breakdown will further skew in a positive direction as guys like Len become starters and Cousins becomes an All-Star. Also people will make arguments that VC and Love should be HOFers when all is said and done.

Let's look at the players, and what they did during their careers:

Draft Player Team Pos G MPG PER WS Rot. Start. All-Star All-NBA HOF
1 1974 Bobby Jones HOU 4 941 27.3 18.2 94.1 1
2 1975 Darrly Dawkins PHI 5 726 23.7 15.8 46.4 1
3 1976 Wally Walker POR 3 565 18.0 11.4 12.9 1
4 1977 Bernard King NJN 3 874 33.7 19.2 75.4 1
5 1978 Micheal Ray Richardson NYK 1 2 556 33.4 16.9 35.2 1
6 1979 Sidney Moncrief MIL 2 1 767 30.2 18.7 90.3 1
7 1980 James Ray DEN 4 103 8.2 10.0 -0.3
8 1981 Danny Vranes SEA 3 510 20.8 9.3 15.3 1
9 1982 LaSalle Thompson KCK 5 985 21.6 13.6 35.0 1
10 1983 Sidney Green CHI 4 5 679 19.5 12.1 17.4 1
11 1984 Charles Barkley PHI 4 3 1073 36.7 24.6 177.2 1
12 1985 Jon Koncak ATL 5 784 20.9 9.8 29.2 1
13 1986 Kenny Walker NYK 3 448 20.2 11.9 17.9 1
14 1987 Scottie Pippen SEA 3 1 1178 34.9 18.6 125.1 1
15 1988 Mitch Richmond GSW 2 976 35.2 17.6 79.3 1
16 1989 J.R. Reid CHA 4 5 672 22.9 11.9 22.5 1
17 1990 Kendall Gill CHA 2 3 966 30.5 14.7 47.8 1
18 1991 Steve Smith MIA 2 1 942 30.6 16.1 83.7 1
19 1992 LaPhonso Ellis DEN 4 3 624 28.2 14.6 32.8 1
20 1993 Isaiah Rider MIN 2 563 31.7 14.7 22.8 1

Draft Player Team Pos G MPG PER WS Rot. Start. All-Star All-NBA HOF
21 1994 Juwan Howard WAS 4 5 1208 30.3 14.6 59.4 1
22 1995 Kevin Garnett MIN 4 5 1377 35.5 22.9 188.4 1
23 1996 Ray Allen MIN 2 1300 35.6 18.6 145.1 1
24 1997 Tony Battie DEN 4 5 837 21.1 12.6 36.4 1
25 1998 Vince Carter GSW 3 2 1148 34.2 20.0 115.7 1
26 1999 Jonathan Bender TOR 3 262 14.7 10.9 3.8
27 2000 Mike Miller ORL 3 2 913 29.1 14.7 60.0 1
28 2001 Jason Richardson GSW 3 2 838 34.4 16.3 58.7 1
29 2002 Nikoloz Tskitishvili DEN 4 3 172 12.5 5.2 -1.6
30 2003 Dwyane Wade MIA 2 1 719 36.6 25.3 105.4 1
31 2004 Devin Harris WAS 1 2 641 27.3 17.0 42.0 1
32 2005 Raymond Felton CHA 1 667 34.4 14.3 32.4 1
33 2006 Shelden Williams ATL 4 5 361 15.5 12.5 9.9 1
34 2007 Jeff Green BOS 4 3 478 32.7 13.1 23.8 1
35 2008 Kevin Love MIN 4 364 32.8 23.2 47.0 1
36 2009 Ricky Rubio MIN 1 180 31.9 15.4 10.9 1
37 2010 DeMarcus Cousins SAC 5 291 30.4 20.6 17.6 1
38 2011 Jonas Valanciunas TOR 5 4 143 26.3 15.9 10.6 1
39 2012 Thomas Robinson SAC 4 140 13.8 12.4 1.6 1
40 2013 Alex Len PHX 5 42 8.6 7.3 0.2 1

Yes. I have no idea why Bobby Jones and Sidney Moncrief aren't in the HOF, but whatever. If they played for the Lakers they'd be in. But the fact remains that for the last four decades only three guys weren't at least rotation players: James Ray, Jonathan Bender, and Tskita. So getting a rotation player 37 times out of 40 isn't bad. Getting an All-Star or better 15 out of 40 times isn't bad either. By the historical evidence the odds are in the Jazz' favor that this #5 pick (if we keep him) will turn out to be good.

Then again, the odds were in the Jazz' favor that they'd not get leapfrogged by the Cavs . . . but what happens in reality can sometimes fly in the face of logic. And reality brings us back to the 2014 NBA Draft. Are we likely to pick up a Barkley or Pippen or Ray-Ray at #5? The obvious idea here is that this, no matter how the last forty years went, is still a four player draft.

Time will tell if that's truly the case though. For the meantime between now and June 26th we need to satisfy ourselves with a job partly well done. And for the record . . . we're going to get really familiar with the names Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, and sigh, Dario Saric over the next few weeks. Not exactly the types of players to make winning double OT games in Minnesota and buzzer beaters against Orlando worth it.


The 2013-14 Jazz Motto

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