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Lottery History: Pick #13

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After looking at pick #14 yesterday, it is time to move on to pick #13. Before we do that, a moment of silence as yet another top prospect has decided to pull out of the NBA draft. Adiós, Terrence Jones (H/T bucimislover).


Okay, now onto the pick. Pick number 13 is held by the Phoenix Suns at this point this year. Having been in the lottery picks since 1995, when the Raptors and Grizzlies joined the league, the pick has seen its fair share of stories. Trades, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, playoffs, and on and on. This will be Phoenix's first time having the #13 (unless the lottery changes things up) - though they did come close to having the pick in 2005. The pick, originally belonging to Cleveland, was sent to the Suns in a 3-team trade in 1997. In the 2004 expansion draft, the Suns traded that pick to the Bobcats - in return, the Bobcats agreed to select Jahidi White. A year later, in the lottery process, that pick ended up becoming pick #13 - and was eventually turned into Sean May.

How do we end up with the pick? Its not as simple as #14, but still pretty straight forward. If one of Houston (#14) or Phoenix (#13) move into the top-3, but both the other of those two teams AND the Jazz are shut out of that joy, then the Jazz #12 pick will turn into #13. In this case, the Jazz would be in the 2nd envelope that is opened on May 17th - following either the Rockets or the Suns.

What are the odds we pick #13? According to Wikipedia, our chances at ending up with the #13 pick are 0.039 - or just under 4%. Going back to 2006 (as far back as the lottery odds show up on Wikipedia, unfortunately), the #13 pick has been awarded to the #13 team (Phoenix in this case) 100% of the time.

Last Three Years? Lets just say this is a bit more uplifting than the list of players that we saw for pick #14. Not by a lot, but a bit at least. Baby steps. In 2008, the Portland Trail Blazers selected a young wing named Brandon Rush - and promptly traded him to Indiana (with Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts) for Jerryd Bayless (the #11 pick) and Ike Diogu. Only two guys from that trade are still with the same team (McRoberts, Rush). Rush has struggled to develop into the shooter the Pacers would've liked to have gotten and was pretty much an afterthought in their playoff rotation this year. In 2009 the Pacers actually had the #13 pick, and used it on one Tyler Hansbrough. Remember all the Hansbrough/Jazz rumors? Yeah, they ended that - and I'm going to guess they liked their results there. Last year, the Raptors had the pick and used it on Ed Davis - he was pretty impressive when given time at the end of the season and they seem to have found a nice player there. It remains to be seen if he can become a contributor to the team.

Best Pick? This is a no-brainer. In a draft that has, until the last 2 years, been dominated by wings, the obvious choice is one of the best wings to ever fall to #13. While you might not like the player, or the way he demanded a trade to the Lakers before having ever played in the NBA (I hate when players control the draft like that), you can't deny that Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in the game.

5-Man Line-Up? 16 drafts is a lot better to do this with than 7, though the presence of just 5 -disappointing- bigs and just 2 point guards (ugh) makes this team decide to run out a wing-heavy line-up.

  1. Marcus Banks (2003, Memphis) - The Grizzlies made the pick, then traded him away. He's had an uneventful career while playing for 6 teams, but is the best PG option here. Scary, no?
  2. Kobe Bryant (1996, Charlotte) - Another member of the #13 pick draft-day trade class, Kobe is the no-brainer here. This team will go as he carries them.
  3. Corey Maggette (1999, Seattle) - Another player that didn't play for the team that drafted him (traded to Orlando), Maggette is a player that can get to the line often. Not a superstar, but still serviceable.
  4. Richard Jefferson (2001, Houston) - Traded on draft day to New Jersey, Jefferson quickly formed a solid trio with Jason Kidd/Kerry Kittles on the Nets. He's moved on since then, but struggled to find that kind of success.
  5. Tyler Hansbrough (2009, Indiana) - The lone guy on this team to not have been traded without playing for his drafting team, he's a bit undersized for the center spot but will be the key rebounder for the #13's.
Trade History? Oh man. Despite having only been a lottery pick for 16 years, the #13 lottery pick has seen the most trade action of any lottery pick. From pre-draft trades (the Sean May pick) to draft day trades (6 different times) to post-draft trades (Maggette and Keon Clark), this pick has found itself changing hands very often. It seems like whoever owns this pick suddenly has their GM turn into Trader Joe...

Playoff Rate? Like I said with the #14 pick, I ignore which team ended up with the player and the off-season moves and everything else. Just looking to see if the team that MADE the #13 pick made the playoffs the following season. While the last 2 years (Phoenix, Indiana) have seen disappointing ends to the season, those are more the exception than the rule. In the time since the #13 pick has become a lottery pick, 10 of the 16 teams have made the playoffs the next season - a 62.5% clip that, if extended out for the full 21 years of the lottery, ends up being 13 teams - tied for the most of any lottery pick.

I guess a telling stat is that 8 of those 10 teams came in the 9 years before #14 became a lottery pick (2001 Houston missed the playoffs the next year) - meaning that #13 featured the "best" of the non-playoff teams. Since #13 has become the "2nd best" of the non-playoff teams, only 2 teams (2007 Hornets, 2008 Trail Blazers) have made the playoffs - a 2 of 7 ratio that is equivalent to that of the #14 pick. Its an odd phenomenon - the addition of #14 as a lottery pick has not only resulted in fewer of the "best" non-playoff teams making the playoffs, but has also impacted a previously strong record for the #13 teams. You'd have expected that the success of pre-2005 #13 lottery picks would have carried over to the new #14 lottery picks (after all, its seemingly the same situation with a team that just missed the playoffs), yet it has not done so through the first 7 years. And while the many trades could be used as a possible explanation (6 of the 10 pre-2005 picks were traded on/soon after draft day), that reason will be shot down soon enough.

I mean, six of the picks have been made and then traded ON draft day (2 after 2005, 4 before), with 4 of those teams making the playoffs (1 after 2005, 3 before). But that doesn't even seem very helpful - I doubt trading for Ike Diogu made the Trail Blazers playoff contenders. Six of the teams that made the playoffs did not trade their pick - 5 before 2005, 1 after. And its not like these guys were immediate helpers. Again, 3.5 teams making a lottery pick make the playoffs the next year (and this ignores teams like New York, which didn't have a lottery pick last year before making the playoffs this year), and yet #13 hasn't been a very good pick for that either - especially not as of late. Yeah, I'm baffled.

Since the inception of the #14 pick as a lottery pick, #13 has suffered greatly. Not only has the quality of picks gone down - the 5-man team from up above has only one guy picked after 2005, and that's only because I needed a big and not someone like Corliss Williamson (1995) - but the "to the playoffs" rate has also plummeted. All I can say is "weird".