NBA Draft Lottery 2012: Power Ranking 10 Luckiest Teams in Draft Lottery History
Since the NBA Draft Lottery kicked off in 1985, teams have beat the odds time after time to sneak away with the No. 1 pick and an All-Star player.
In anticipation of the 2012 Lottery (in which, by the way, the Bobcats have a 25 percent chance of taking No. 1), here's a look at the top 10 luckiest teams in Lottery history.
2002 Houston Rockets
Although center Yao Ming met a barrage of injuries and eventually fizzled out, he impacted Houston for the better when he arrived in 2002.
Houston had only the fifth-worst record in the league with 28-54, and they held an 8.9 percent chance of walking with the No. 1 pick.
Golden State, who had a 22 percent chance, drew No. 3 and watched the Rockets walk away with the Chinese big man.
2005 Milwaukee Bucks
With a record of 30-52 in 1995, Milwaukee had only a 6.3 percent chance of taking home the No. 1 pick; Atlanta, New Orleans, Charlotte, Portland and Utah all held worse records than the Midwest team.
The Bucks got lucky, however, and took home big man Andrew Bogut. Bogut has yet to make an All-Star appearance, but he still made a major impact on Milwaukee before being traded to Golden State this spring.
Bogut averages 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers
The only reason I haven't ranked this higher is because Kyrie Irving hasn't been in the league long enough to really know how great of a deal this was.
At this point, however, it's lookin' pretty good.
Plenty of teams produced abysmal records in 2010-2011; consequently, Cleveland had only a 2.8 percent chance of coming away with the first pick.
However, the Cavs leap-frogged over Minnesota to win the 2011 Lottery, and they grabbed the rights to Irving. In his rookie season, the Duke alum averaged 18 points and 5.4 assists per game.
1996 Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia had the second-worst record in '96, so in that sense the Sixers had a high chance to win the Lottery.
The lucky moment for this team came when Toronto actually won the No. 1 pick. Because of the league's expansion agreement, the Raptors and Grizzlies were ineligible to win the Lottery for the first three years they were in the league.
Consequently, Toronto forfeited its No. 1 pick, and Philly took home Allen Iverson, one of the most iconic players of the franchise to this day.
1987 San Antonio Spurs
Before the weighted-odds system was introduced for the NBA Lottery, each non-playoff team had the same 14.3 percent chance of winning the first pick.
In 1987, San Antonio finished with a 28-54 record, higher than the Clippers (12-70), Nets and Knicks (both had 24-58).
The Spurs drew the winning envelope.
With the No. 1 pick, San Antonio took David Robinson, a center that wouldn't even be available for two more seasons because of a Navy commitment.
Nicknamed "The Admiral," Robinson was a 10-time All-Star and brought immediate success to the San Antonio franchise.
1997 San Antonio Spurs
Ten years after acquiring David Robinson, San Antonio brought in its second-biggest impact player in Tim Duncan.
At 20-62, the Spurs held the third-worst record in the league. Although the Grizzlies had the worst record by far, they weren't eligible to win the Lottery until 1999, due to the expansion agreement.
Although Boston had a 28 percent chance of winning, the Spurs edged out and received the No. 1 pick.
The Virgin Islands native lived up to every expectation, averaging 20.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game throughout his first 15 seasons in the league.
And for those of you closely following the current postseason race, you know the 36-year old forward has yet to slow down.
2000 New Jersey Nets
With 31 wins and 51 losses, New Jersey held only the seventh-worst record in the league going into the 2000 NBA Lottery.
The Clippers held a 25 percent chance of winning. The Nets had a 4.4 percent chance.
Coming as a shock to everyone, New Jersey won the Lottery and drafted Cincinnati alum Kenyon Martin. Martin immediately improved the Nets' "W" column, helping them to back-to-back Eastern Conference titles in 2002 and 2003.
1985 New York Knicks
In the inaugural year of the Draft Lottery, the New York Knicks held a 14.3 percent chance of winning ... along with every other non-playoff team in the league.
New York was up against Atlanta, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Sacramento and Seattle.
Lucky for the Knicks, they took the No. 1 pick and nabbed the rights to center Patrick Ewing.
Ewing was a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, won NBA Rookie of the Year in 1986, was an 11-time All-Star and was named one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players.
Not too shabby for the Knicks' first Lottery pick ever.
1993 Orlando Magic
In '93, Orlando held a record of 41-41 and only a 1.5 percent chance of winning the lottery. Despite all odds, however, the Magic became the only team in history to get the No. 1 pick with a record of .500 or better.
The Magic drafted Chris Webber first overall, but they immediately traded with Golden State for the rights to No. 3 pick Hardaway.
During his six-year run with Orlando, Hardaway averaged 18.6 points and 5.9 assists per game.
2008 Chicago Bulls
Chicago fan or not, no one can argue against the 2008 Bulls squad being the luckiest team in Draft Lottery history when they took Derrick Rose.
The Bulls finished the 2007-2008 season with 33 wins and 49 losses, giving them just a 1.7 percent chance at winning the Lottery.
Of the 17 ping pong balls Chicago had in the pool, though (keep in mind there are 1,000 total!), one of them found its way into the No. 1 slot.
In just four short years, Rose is averaging 21.8 points and 7.9 assists per game. He was also named MVP in 2011, making him the youngest player in league history to receive said honors.
There's no doubt that Rose would have transformed whichever team he went to, and Chicago was lucky enough to land him.