2011 NBA Lottery: Does the No. 1 Pick Really Matter? Every No. 1 Pick in History

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2011 NBA Lottery: Does the No. 1 Pick Really Matter? Every No. 1 Pick in History
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Duke’s Kyrie Irving and Arizona’s Derrick Williams, not necessarily in that order, appear to be the experts’ and the internet’s consensus picks for who will go No. 1 and No. 2 in the NBA Draft June 23rd.

After that, it’s a jumble of names, any order of which could be called out: Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Jan Vesely, Kemba Walker, Jonas Valanciunas and others can squeak into the Top Five.

But first, which teams will be picking where needs to be decided tonight.

The 2011 NBA Lottery will be televised…at 8:30 PM ET on ESPN.  Those NBA teams that did not make the playoffs will be vying for the No. 1 and successive picks via 1,000 lottery ball combinations.  The odds of having “their number called” are based on how bad the teams’ records were in 2010-11.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ fans and Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans, and 12 other teams’ fans, went to sleep last night with dreams of that coveted No. 1 pick.

Well, maybe not this year.  There’s another consensus out there — that this draft, for lockout fears or other reasons, is weak.

That may be going a bit far.  Those players mentioned above are all pretty good and may all make very good NBAers, and we didn’t get to Jordan Hamilton, the Morris brothers, Kahwi Leonard, Nolan Smith, Kenneth Faried and a fair number of others.

Time will tell if there is a superstar or two in there, but this draft class runs pretty deep with solid, strong, smart students of the game.

As for that No. 1 pick, everyone wants it bad.  My first experience with it (and the first lottery by the way) was in 1985, when “the New York Knicks, with their first pick, select[ed] Patrick Ewing of Georgetown.”

Alas, Ewing’s Knicks never won a championship.

But Magic Johnson’s, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s and Shaquille O’Neal’s Lakers did.  So did Tim Duncan’s and David Robinson’s San Antonio Spurs.  And Bill Walton’s Portland Trail Blazers, too.  Derrick Rose anyone?

Sounds pretty convincing.  Get that No. 1 pick and you’re on your way to a ring. Right?

Nope…

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