NBA Draft Facts
1. In 2013, Anthony Bennett became the first Canadian to be drafted No. 1 overall. Before Bennett, Tristan Thompson was the highest-drafted Canadian, going No. 4 overall to the Cavs in 2011. Both Bennett and Thompson are from Brampton, Ontario, both transferred to prep schools in the States – first out East and then on to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada. Toronto native, Andrew Wiggins, is in the running for the top spot this year.
2. Australian point guard prospect Dante Exum can probably count on good advice on winning from his father, Cecil, who played on North Carolina’s 1982 NCAA Championship team that featured Michael Jordan and James Worthy. Cecil Exum was drafted by the Nuggets and later played in Australia’s NBL.
3. Between the 2001 and 2006 NBA Draft, only one No. 1 overall pick was a college player – Andrew Bogut in 2005. The other top picks during that span was Kwame Brown (2001), Yao Ming (2002), LeBron James (2003), Dwight Howard (2005) and Andrea Bargnani (2006).
4. Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas grew up in Mississauga, Ontario and played under the same AAU coach – Ro Russell – as Cavs forward, Tristan Thompson.
5. Former Duke forward Jabari Parker was the first freshman to start for the varsity at Chicago’s prestigious Simeon Career Academy – which produced the likes of Nick Anderson, Bobby Simmons and Derrick Rose. Parker, however, was the only one to lead Simeon to four straight Illinois state titles.
6. The Phoenix Suns have three first-rounders coming their way in the 2014 Draft – the 14th, 18th and 27th overall selections. The Celtics (No. 6 & 17), Sixers (No. 3 & 10), Jazz (No. 3 & 23), Magic (No. 4 & 12), Bulls (No. 16 & 19), Hornets (No. 9 & 24) and Thunder (No. 21 & 29) are the other squads with multiple first round picks on June 26.
7. Since the Cavaliers came into existence in 1970, they’ve had the top pick on six occasions – selecting Austin Carr (1971), Brad Daugherty (1986), LeBron James (2003), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013) and whoever they’ll select later this month. Former top picks have played for the Cavs, including Shaquille O’Neal (2009-10) and Joe Smith (2007-09) – and one of them has coached the team: John Lucas, from 2001-03.
8. Despite measuring in at 6-9, 225 and filling out a robust one-year resume at Arizona – earning all-Pac-12 Tournament honors after being named the conference’s Freshman of the Year – forward Aaron Gordon comes into the 2014 NBA Draft as one of its youngest players. Gordon doesn’t turn 19 until September 16.
9. If Kansas teammates Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid go No. 1 and/or No. 2 in the 2014 Draft, it’ll mark the second time in three years that college teammates were drafted with the top two picks, joining Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in 2012. Other sets of college mates that were drafted closely together including John Wall (1) and DeMarcus Cousins (5) – also from Kentucky – in 2010, UCLA’s Russell Westbrook (4) and Kevin Love (5) in 2008, OSU’s Greg Oden (1) and Michael Conley (4) in 2007, UConn’s Emeka Okafor (2) and Ben Gordon (3) in 2004 and Duke’s Jay Williams (2) and Mike Dunleavy (3) in 2002.
10. One term that has become synonymous with the NBA Draft is “wingspan.” Here are some of the height-wingspan measurables from this year’s crop of bigs: Joel Embiid (7-0/7-5), Noah Vonley (6-9/7-3), Jusuf Nurkic (6-11/7-2), Clint Capela (6-11/7-4), Isaiah Austin (7-0/7-4).
11. The NBA Lottery began in 1985 and the famous first winner of said event was the New York Knicks, earning the rights to select Georgetown big man, Patrick Ewing. The last No. 1 pick before the Lottery system began was Hakeem Olajuwon, who Houston won the right to select after losing a coin toss against Portland. The Blazers selected Sam Bowie with the No. 2 pick in 1984. The third overall selection, made by Chicago, was a player named Michael Jordan.
12. As a senior on the state-title-winning Prestonwood Christian HS in Dallas, rugged former Kentucky forward Julius Randle averaged 32.5 points and 22.5 rebounds per contest.
13. Since 1966, no university has produced more than two No. 1 overall picks, with UCLA, Michigan, Kentucky, Georgetown, Duke, Houston, North Carolina, Purdue and UNLV all tied with a pair of top picks overall. Three high school players have been chosen with the No. 1 overall and Andrea Bargnani and Yao Ming are the two top picks who never played organized ball in the States before being selected.
14. The highest-ranking senior in this year’s Draft seems to be Creighton’s Doug McDermott. Other notable four-year players are Michigan State PF Adreian Payne, UConn PG Shabazz Napier and Wichita State F Cleanthony Early. The Cavaliers have selected a four-year player in each of the previous two Drafts – Tyler Zeller in 2012 and Carrick Felix in 2013. The last senior drafted with the top pick was Kenyon Martin in 2000.
15. Center Joel Embiid was discovered by fellow Cameroonian and current Timberwolves two-guard Luc Mbah a Moute during a camp in South Africa. Mbah a Moute eventually convinced Embiid’s father to allow his son to come to the States to play ball.
16. The Cavaliers are one of just three teams since 1966 to have the No. 1 overall pick in back-to-back seasons. In 1983 Houston tabbed Ralph Sampson and drafted Hakeem Olajuwon the following year. In 1992, the Magic selected Shaquille O’Neal and chose Chris Webber the following year (although they immediately dealt him for Penny Hardaway).
17. Some names from the international circuit who hope to have their name mispronounced at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on June 26 include Australian PG Dante Exum, Croatian F Dario Saric, Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic, Serbian G Vasilije Micic, Latvian F Kristaps Porzingis, Swiss F Clint Capela, Serbian G Bogdan Bogdanovic, French F Damien Inglis, Spanish C Walter Tavares and G Thanasis Antetokounmpo – brother of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo a/k/a “The Greek Freak.”
18. In the early days of the NBA Draft, teams would simply draft until they ran out of prospects. The 1961 Draft, for example, went 21 rounds. It was shortened to ten rounds from 1974-84, to seven rounds from 1985-89 and two rounds from that point forward.
19. It’s not uncommon to see kids of former pro athletes be selected in the NBA Draft. Last year alone we saw Tim Hardaway Jr., Glen Rice Jr. and Shane Larkin taken within the first 35 picks. Phil Pressey signed on with Boston and Seth Curry spent some time with the Wine and Gold. One of this year’s top prospects, Michigan State guard Gary Harris, might get his talent from the other side of the parental pool. His mother, Joy Holmes-Harris, played in the WNBA for the Detroit Shock.
20. In winning the 2014 NBA Lottery, the Cavaliers joined the Chicago Bulls in making the biggest leap from where they were slotted to the No. 1 overall pick – jumping from No. 9 to the top spot. The Cavs used the Clippers’ pick in 2011 to jump from 8 to 1 and used that pick on Kyrie Irving. Milwaukee moved up from No. 6 in 2005 and took Andrew Bogut, Washington moved up from No. 5 to take John Wall and Houston moved up from No. 5 to take Yao Ming in 2002. In 2007, the Blazers went No. 6 to No. 1 and took Greg Oden; the Sonics went from No. 5 to No. 2 and tabbed Kevin Durant.
21. Since John Calipari took over at Kentucky, the Wildcats have produced 16 players from the past four NBA Drafts – including 11 first-rounders (four in 2012: 1. Anthony Davis, 2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 18. Terrence Jones, 29. Marquis Teague).