NBA draft: No. 3 picks have fared well since 1980

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(Associated Press)

The Washington Wizards didn’t guarantee that they would draft a franchise cornerstone when they moved up to third in the NBA lottery this month, but they certainly have better chances at finding a quality player than if they had stayed at eight – or even moved up to second.

Since 1980, 24 of the 33 No. 1 overall picks have made at least one all-star appearance, while the third pick has accomplished the feat the second-most times at 17 — five more times than the No. 2 pick (or 14 more times than the eighth pick). In total, the top choice has made 140 combined all-star appearances, while the third pick has made 73. The second pick has made 54.

Michael Jordan (1984), Dominique Wilkins (1982) and Kevin McHale (1980) have all reached the Hall of Fame after going third in the NBA draft. Five former No. 1 picks in that span have been elected to Springfield — James Worthy (1982), Ralph Sampson (1983), Hakeem Olajuwon (1984), Patrick Ewing (1985) and David Robinson (1987). Isiah Thomas (1981) was the lone second pick to reach the Hall of Fame until Gary Payton (1990) joined him this year.

This year, the NBA draft is considered to be low on immediate impact players, but Ryan Blake, the NBA’s senior director of scouting operations, doesn’t believe that it is fair to call this a weak crop of talent.

“I think it’s one of the deepest classes,” Blake said, while mentioning the number of big men, at the front and middle of the draft, who could come in and contribute right away. “I think it’s a great draft. I think it’s going to be an exciting draft.”

When asked if he felt if there were any potential superstars in the class, Blake said, “I don’t know who that’s going to be. That’s the problem. Dwyane Wade went five [in 2003]. But if we had known what Dwyane Wade was going to be, he wouldn’t have been five.”

As for the Wizards’ options at three, Blake felt a lot hinged on whether Cleveland decides to take Nerlens Noel with the No. 1 pick. In that case, Blake mentioned Kansas guard Ben McLemore, Georgetown forward Otto Porter and Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo.

“Teams want to hit that home run, no doubt. They want that guy,” Blake said, “With McLemore, Porter, you’re not really risking a lot. I think it’s a great place to be. You got Oladipo up there, too. If he turns out to be, to continue to improve at the level he was before hand, he still has a lot of potential to improve.

“Porter and Oladipo, you look at their stats, they are stat stuffers. And you take someone like Porter, he blocks shots and he can shoot it from deep. The guy is going to earn minutes right away defensively and that’s how you’re going to gain confidence, by getting more minutes.”

Blake added that having the third pick was good “for a number of reasons: They can get the player that they want. They can try to do some acquisitions and if they can do acquisitions, shoot, you might be able to get something even more even valuable.”

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld hasn’t ruled out dealing the choice but teams that have traded the third pick in the past 33 years have mostly failed to get an equal return. Utah traded Wilkins to Atlanta for John Drew, Freeman Williams and cash in 1982, which was clearly a lopsided deal basketball-wise, but actually provided the money necessary to keep the franchise in Salt Lake City. Atlanta got one all-star appearance out of Shareef Abdur-Rahim, but Pau Gasol has had the better career after getting dealt to Memphis in 2001.

Golden State would’ve made out better in trading Anfernee Hardaway for Chris Webber in 1993 — if they had shown a little more patience with Webber. Philadelphia also fared okay when it sent Charles Smith to the Los Angeles Clippers for Hersey Hawkins in 1988.

Minnesota came out ahead when it swapped O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love in 2008 and Sacramento was rewarded for sending Billy Owens to Golden State for Mitch Richmond in 1991.

Here’s a look at how the top three picks have fared since 1980:

No. 1s since 1980

Name – Career Player Efficiency Rating – All-Star appearances

1980 Joe Barry Carroll -16.4 – 1

1981 Mark Aguire – 19.0 – 3

1982 James Worthy* – 17.7 – 7

1983 Ralph Sampson* – 16.0 – 4

1984 Hakeem Olajuwon* – 23.6 – 12

1985 Patrick Ewing* – 21.0 – 11

1986 Brad Daugherty – 18.9 – 5

1987 David Robinson* – 26.2 – 10

1988 Danny Manning – 16.9 – 2

1989 Pervis Ellison – 15.2 – 0

1990 Derrick Coleman – 18.0 – 1

1991 Larry Johnson – 16.3-  2

1992 Shaquille O’Neal – 26.4 – 15

1993 Chris Webbe r- 20.9 – 5

1994 Glenn Robinson – 17.5 – 2

1995 Joe Smith – 15.4 – 0

1996 Allen I Iverson – 20.9 – 11

1997 Tim Duncan – 24.7 – 14

1998 Michael Olowokandi – 10.7 – 0

1999 Elton Brand – 21.0 – 2

2000 Kenyon Martin – 15.1 – 2

2001 Kwame Brown – 12.5 – 0

2002 Yao Ming – 23.0 – 8

2003 LeBron James – 27.6-9

2004 Dwight Howard – 22.2 – 7

2005 Andrew Bogut – 16.8 – 0

2006 Andrea Bargnani – 14.3 – 0

2007 Greg Oden – 19.5 – 0

2008 Derrick Rose – 19.9 – 3

2009 Blake Griffin – 22.5 – 3

2010 John Wall – 17.7 – 0

2011 Kyrie Irving – 21.4 – 1

2012 Anthony Davis – 21.7 – 0

*Elected to Hall of Fame

No. 2s since 1980

Name – Career Player Efficiency Rating – All-Star appearances

1980 Darrell Griffith – 14.6 – 0

1981 Isiah Thomas* – 18.1 – 12

1982 Terry Cummings – 18.3 – 2

1983 Steve Stipanovich – 15.1 – 0

1984 Sam Bowie – 14.6 – 0

1985 Wayman Tisdale – 15.7 – 0

1986 Len Bias#

1987 Armen Gilliam – 1 6.4 – 0

1988 Rik Smits – 17.9 – 1

1989 Danny Ferry – 11.8 – 0

1990 Gary Payton* – 18.9 – 9

1991 Kenny Anderson – 16.4 – 1

1992 Alonzo Mourning – 21.2 – 7

1993 Shawn Bradley – 16.0 – 0

1994 Jason Kidd – 17.9 – 11

1995 Antonio McDyess – 17.2 – 1

1996 Marcus Camby – 17.8 – 0

1997 Keith Van Horn – 16.8 – 0

1998 Mike Bibby – 16.1 – 0

1999 Steve Francis – 18.3 – 3

2000 Stromile Swift – 16.1 – 0

2001 Tyson Chandler – 16.1 – 1

2002 Jay Williams – 12.2 – 0

2003 Darko Milicic – 12.3 – 0

2004 Emeka Okafor – 17.0 – 0

2005 Marvin Williams – 13.5 – 0

2006 LaMarcus Aldridge – 19.7 – 2

2007 Kevin Durant – 23.6 – 4

2008 Michael Beasley – 15.0 – 0

2009 Hasheem Thabeet – 11.0 – 0

2010 Evan Turner – 11.9 – 0

2011 Derrick Williams – 13.8 – 0

2012 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 14.0 – 0

*Elected to Hall of Fame

#Passed away before playing in NBA

 No. 3s since 1980

Name – Career Player Efficiency Rating – All-Star appearances

1980 Kevin McHale* – 20.0 – 7

1981 Buck Williams – 15.3 – 3

1982 Dominique Wilkins* – 21.6 – 9

1983 Rodney McCray – 14.4 – 0

1984 Michael Jordan* – 27.9 – 14

1985 Benoit Benjamin – 14.8 – 0

1986 Chris Washburn – 7.6 – 0

1987 Dennis Hopson – 13.3 – 0

1988 Charles Smith – 15.7 – 0

1989 Sean Elliott – 13.9 – 2

1990 Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf – 15.4 – 0

1991 Billy Owens – 14.4 – 0

1992 Christian Laettner – 16.9 – 1

1993 Anfernee Hardaway – 17.4 – 4

1994 Grant Hill – 19.0 – 7

1995 Jerry Stackhouse – 16.5 – 2

1996 Shareef Abdur-Rahim – 19.0 – 1

1997 Chauncey Billups – 19.0 – 5

1998 Raef LaFrentz – 16.1 – 0

1999 Baron Davis – 17.8 – 2

2000 Darius Miles – 13.9 – 0

2001 Pau Gasol – 21.6 – 4

2002 Mike Dunleavy – 14.5 – 0

2003 Carmelo Anthony – 20.8 – 6

2004 Ben Gordon – 15.2 – 0

2005 Deron Williams – 19.3 – 3

2006 Adam Morrison – 7.4 – 0

2007 Al Horford – 18.4- 2

2008 O.J. Mayo – 14.1 – 0

2009 James Harden – 19.2 – 1

2010 Derrick Favors – 16.2 – 0

2011 Enes Kanter – 16.2 – 0

2012 Bradley Beal – 13.9 – 0

*Elected to Hall of Fame

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · May 29, 2013