When It Comes to The #1 Draft Pick, Even Minnesota Teams Get It Right

Joe M.Correspondent IIApril 27, 2010

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 27:  John Wall #11 of the Kentucky Wildcats walks on the court with his head down against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the east regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 27, 2010 in Syracuse, New York. West Virginia won 73-66. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Regardless of the sport, professional sports drafts are always a crapshoot. Some are going to hit and many are going to miss. Many of the executives from the teams that drafted in the first round of the NFL draft last weekend don't know it yet, but they drafted the next NFL bust.

It happens and it happened last week. We just have to wait and see who emerges, ironically by not emerging. Still, with the NFL draft now come and gone, why not shift the attention to the next exciting sporting event that will surely be covered by ESPN in-depth and that being the NBA draft, specifically the NBA draft lottery.

That lottery is to be held May 18, and as a fan of the 15-67 Minnesota Timberwolves, believe me, we know when it coming as we've been waiting for it.

That's the day our fortunes could finally be turned around (Evan Turner) or, continue down the path of historical mediocity at best, usually worse than that.

We could get as low as the fifth pick if the lack of lottery luck this franchise has suffered through continues its ugly fate or as high as number one which really, after 14 years in the lottery of never moving up so much as once , haven't we really earned it?

Two things I do know: for those of you like me who believe the NBA is rigged, particularily the behind-closed-doors draft lottery selection which Timberwolves, Ready To Get Screwed on the NBA Lottery Again? You're Not Alone" target="_blank">I've wrote about before , if the Timebrwolves were to actually move up this year and win the overall lottery, that would calm a lot of fears and concerns over the current system and its legitimacy.

No way in Hell prettyboy Wall would be forced or allowed to play in cold, snowy, wasteland Minnesota, right?

The worst team in a five-team division that sent all its other members to the playoffs?

The NBA wouldn't allow that right?

As much as I'm a pro-Turner guy , and want to see him in Minneapolis next season, and actually hope the Wolves get the 2nd pick provided that first team doesn't take him (which their record has them slated for-for now), the Wolves getting Wall or winning the lottery heck, just keeping their slot knowing the NBA would be forced to award either Wall or Turner to a franchise that desperately needs them is an intriguing storyline in itself.

I should clarify the reason I want the Wolves to get the #2 pick, after writing an article all about the number one, is when you have the number 1 pick the draft is seen as yours to lose.

Everything runs through you and there is the idea, because it is true, that you could have had anyone in the draft, therefore, if your pick doesn't work out, you failed and it makes you and your team look all the worse.

The Wolves simply cannot afford that. On top of that, this is seen as the John Wall draft. The Wolves do not need another point guard, no matter how good he might be. The only intriguing thing about drafting Wall besides the hype the Wolves would get is it would essentially trigger two future trades: Ramon Sessions almost immediately and then Johnny Flynn, likely next year, if and once it was certain that Ricky Rubio was coming over.

The other thing I know, and the thesis of this article, is that when it comes to drafting first overall in Minnesota sports, more often that not, even Minnesota teams generally get it right.

Minnesota's First Round Draft Pick History

Its really quite simple. Because its really quite short.

Baseball: First, for the baseball team, the Minnesota Twins have chose first overall twice with mixed results.

In 1983 they drafted solid but not spectacular pitcher Tim Belcher. The only problem is all of his success came with other clubs, most notably the Kansas City Royals, for whom he is remembered, if you can believe it.

In 2001, they drafted hometown hero, Joe Mauer who just signed the fourth-largest contract extension in Major League Baseball history and the rest is history. He's well on his way to the Hall of Fame and the 2nd greatest Twin ever behind Harmon Killebrew.

Success rate: 50%

Football: Next, for Minnesota's most popular team which carries a cult-like follow, the Minnesota Vikings similarily have drafted first overall twice , taking "Touchdown Tommy" Mason in 1961, who turned out to be a bust, but recovered well with future Hall of Famer, Ron Yary, in 1968.

Mason, to his defense, was the team's first-ever draft pick, having been an expansion team, so they weren't experienced in drafting or that sort of thing. And from what I've heard, the LSU product was supposed to be the real deal.

Sucess rate: 50%

Hockey : The Minnesota North Stars, Minnesota's original National Hockey League team drafted first overall, you guessed it, twice in their history. First in 1983 and second in 1988.

If you haven't noted the theme, try and guess what happened with that first pick, Brian Lawton?

He was indeed the bust of the group, having been considered one of the worst in league history despite being the first American-born player drafted first overall in league history.

But don't we just have to write off 1983 as a whole in Minnesota sports, especially when it came to drafting first overall that year?

In also keeping with this theme, what do you think became of that first round the next time a Minnesota team won the draft and thus, had a mulligan?

That pick turned out to be the controverial (attitude-wise) Mike Modano, who as a testiment to his ability and skill, is currently still playing on his way to a Hall of Fame career himself.

All he did was become the highest scoring American born player in NHL history, with one Stanley Cup Title and an Olympic appearance for Team USA.

Success rate: 50%

Basketball: So what does this mean for the Minnesota basketball team, one that not only has never won the lottery, save for a Kevin Garnett miracle pick in 1995, never moved up in the order, and thus, never had anything good to say about the system as a whole?

If you consider the 1992 fiasco, identical 15-67 team that missed out on both LSU's Shaquille O'Neal and Georgetown's Alonzo Mourning after crashing to third and having to settle for 2nd tier scraps in the pale-in-comarison Christian Laettner, to be their "lottery win" since they had the best odds and it was theirs to lose, then you have to like their chances next month.

Whether its Wall or Turner, given the state of Minnesota's history especially when given a second chance to re-evaluate and re-do they turn out to be more than exceptional. They turn out to be Hall of Fame.

In a rapidly dwindling, apathetic fan Timberwolves base that mercifully needs any shred of optimism, now is their time. They simply cannot miss out on either Turner or Wall. Who ever it is, they have to get, and that player has to work.

After all, the odds suggest so, and their fans really deserve it.

Oh, and no pressure fellas. Its not like you've got the history of both an entire state, and franchise on you expecting-not hoping-that you perform, and perform exceptionally.

After all, you've got company.

Which side, you ultimately end up on, is up to you.


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