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Lottery History: Pick #14

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Well, I've looked at what the lottery is. And I've looked at the potential lottery prospects (at least based on the thoughts of many right now). I've got an in-depth look of the lottery system itself that I'll be posting as a fanpost in the very near future (this fanpost is, more or less, a 1700 word email... about the lottery).

The lottery is rapidly approaching - halftime of a game on May 17th. There will be plenty of looks at the prospects that are distancing themselves from the rest as the draft approaches and as the withdrawal deadline passes. I don't want to bore you with that right now. (Plus, I still can't get the numbers thing to work.) So in the time until then, why not look at the history of the lottery - at least the picks the Jazz could find themselves looking at when May 17th is over.

Starting at the bottom, we have pick #14 - a pick the Jazz are all too familiar with. This year, the pick is owned by the Houston Rockets ... ironically (okay, its probably not very ironic) they held the #14 pick last year too and ended up with Patrick Patterson. While ironic may be the wrong word, you will see quickly that the #14 pick isn't always the best one to have (no matter what you're looking for).

How do we end up with the pick? This is simple enough. If BOTH Houston (#14) and Phoenix (#13) have a combination of their's show up when the NBA is running the lottery for the first 3 picks, then they'll both move into the top 3. Then, by default, the Jazz will fall to #14 (and the other pick to #8) - unless the Jazz #12 pick also ends up in the lottery. If when the picks are being announced the Jazz are the first team to see their logo removed from the envelope, then we've slid down to #14.

What are the odds we pick #14? Wikipedia places our odds at .000%. While its not exactly 0 percent, 0 is closer to our actual odds than 0.1%. Think about that. Its a very small number - almost mirroring the number of blocks Carlos Boozer had in his time here. (Okay, maybe not that small.) The difference, of course, is that while we wanted Booze's block totals to be much higher, we (should) have no problem with this number being so small. And its small with good reason - #13 and #14 have never both jumped into the top 3.

Last Three Years? So, just the recent history of the pick - how has it gone over the last 3 years? In 2008, the pick belonged to the Golden State Warriors and they drafted an athletic big-man project in Anthony Randolph. Three years and multiple teams later, he's still regarded as someone with untapped potential. Which means he's like Kyrylo Fesenko, but more expensive. And with fewer funny quotes to his credit. In 2009, the Phoenix Suns took Earl Clark out of Louisville. He too has been traded - going to Orlando in the Vince Carter/Hedo Turkoglu trade. He too has not shown much. The 2010 Rockets pick was used on Patrick Patterson, as I stated above. There were rumors around draft time that the Jazz were interested in him - that obviously did not end up happening. It'll be interesting to see if he can carve out a niche for himself in Houston.

Best Pick? This is made kind of difficult by a few things. First, the pick has only been a lottery pick since 2004 - back when the Bobcats entered the league. Which means, with only 7 drafts under the belt so far, this becomes a case more of "whom hasn't been bad" than "who has been amazing". Which leads us to the 2006 draft, when our own Utah Jazz owned the pick and used it on one Ronnie Brewer. While his time in Utah came to an uneventful end, he's been by-far the best #14 lottery pick.

5-Man Line-Up? This isn't as fun when there's only 7 drafts to go off of, but if one was to make a team out of the #14 lottery picks, what sort of team would you be looking at? Well, I've figured this out - prepare to be... well, disappointed.

  1. Rashad McCants (2005, Minnesota) - The only PG taken in the group, he never did much in the league.
  2. Ronnie Brewer (2006, Utah) - As stated above, the best player taken in the small sample size.
  3. Al Thornton (2007, LA Clippers) - Are you underwhelmed yet?
  4. Patrick Patterson (2010, Houston) - He started 6 games as a rookie, and played 17 minutes/game in 52 games.
  5. Kris Humphries (2004, Utah) - First ever #14 lottery pick, it took some bouncing around (and eventually a contract season playing alongside a center that can't rebound), but he's finally showing something.

Trade History? Uneventful - the #14 lottery pick has never been traded before the draft or during draft day. The only picks that have seen similar levels of "action" are #1 and #12 (uh... what?).

Playoff Rate? This is key, right? The #14 pick is given (most of the time) to the team that just missed out on the playoffs (admittedly, Houston missed by 3 full games this year) - you'd assume that they'd find a way to add the missing piece(s) and make the playoffs. Yes, this result ignores many things - what else does the team do in the offseason, did they suffer from injuries or play out of their minds to finish at #14, did they even keep the player, etc. I'm just looking to see if the team that MADE the #14 pick (even if they traded the player 15 second later) made the playoffs the next year. The results are uninspiring - 2 out of 7 teams made the playoffs the next year (28.6%). If extended out to 21 years (which happens to be how long the lottery has been around), that would be 6 teams - fewer than every pick from #9 to #13. The exceptions are 2006 Utah and 2009 Phoenix. The teams that missed? Utah, Minnesota, LA Clippers, Golden State and Houston. Yikes.

I guess that list of teams isn't very strong, but I'm still surprised by how few #14 lottery pick teams make the playoffs the next year. On average, 3.5 teams/year (taking into account the fact that some teams have multiple picks in the lottery) that MAKE a lottery pick jump into the playoffs the next year. And yet, in all that, the #14 pick has been more or less insignificant. Which really does bring to question - are teams falling back to earth after a strong year? Or is something else going on?

So not only do you never end up with a star (sorry Ronnie), but your chances of making the playoffs also aren't very good. What a useless pick. ... I guess all the teams picking #14 can hope is that this is just a case of "small sample size" which is thereby skewing the results in a very unhappy manner (for those teams).