by Matthew Brennan, NBA D-League.com
September 21, 2010: On Tuesday evening the Reno Bighorns won the draft lottery and gained the number one selection in the 2010 NBA D-League Draft. The Bighorns will get the first choice of whatever players are under an NBA D-League contract when the draft is held on Monday, November 1 at 7 p.m. ET. Despite the fact that Reno will be landing a very talented player with their pick, it is by no mean a guarantee of a team's success for the upcoming season, or is said player a lock to earn a GATORADE Call-Up to the NBA. Here is a look back at past number one overall choices in NBA D-League history and info on how they fared in the ensuing season.
2009, Carlos Powell, Albuquerque Thunderbirds - Powell, the second choice in the 2007 Draft, already had an established track record of success when Albuquerque selected him with the first choice in last year's draft. From an individual standpoint, Powell did not disappoint, earning his second All-Star berth with 20.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. However, after failing to earn a GATORADE Call-Up, Powell chose to move overseas late in the season and the Thunderbirds' fortunes faded with his departure. They stumbled down the stretch to finish the 2009-10 campaign with an 18-32 record.
2008, Chris Richard, Tulsa 66ers - The 66ers used the first pick in 2008 to tab Richard, a bruising power forward who had spent his rookie year of 2007-08 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unfortunately, the pick did not quite pan out as Richard put up decent numbers of 12.0 points and 8.2 rebounds before missing the second half of the season with an injury. He was just one of many Tulsa players to go on the shelf, and the result was a tied for league-worst 15-35 record. On the bright side, Richard returned to Tulsa this past season and earned a GATORADE Call-Up to the Chicago Bulls.
2007, Eddie Gill, Colorado 14ers - The 14ers went with a steady guard when they selected Gill with the first choice in 2007. Gill earned a Call-Up to the New Jersey Nets before the NBA D-League season even started, but when he returned he was one of the league's top point guards and a big key to Colorado's success. Gill averaged 18.1 points, 8.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds in 37 games while leading the 14ers to the playoffs for the second straight year with a 29-21 record. He also stayed in demand with NBA teams, earning another call-up to Seattle later in the year. The veteran guard returned the next season to help the 14ers win the 2008-09 title in dominant fashion, making the former Weber State star one of the most successful first overall picks in league history.
2006, Corsley Edwards, Anaheim Arsenal - Heading into their first NBA D-League season, the Arsenal tabbed Edwards, a former second-round draft pick of the Sacramento Kings. The "Big Dog" had a solid season for Anaheim but then chose to move overseas to Turkey in February, finishing with a line of 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 31 NBA D-League games. Missing Edwards in the second half of the season, the Arsenal challenged for a playoff spot but came up short with 23-27 record. Edwards returned to the NBA D-League this past season as a member of the Dakota Wizards.
2005, Andre Barrett, Florida Flame - An All-BIG EAST guard at Seton Hall, Barrett was coming off a 2004-05 season spent with multiple NBA teams when the Flame made him the first choice in 2005. He did not disappoint, averaging 17.0 points and ranking fifth in the league with 6.6 assists over 33 games. He also earned two two GATORADE Call-Ups to the Suns and the Raptors and first team All-NBA D-League honors. The Flame finished 25-23 and earned a spot in the playoffs in their final NBA D-League season.
2004, Rickey Minard, Columbus Riverdragons - A rookie out of Morehead State, Minard was waived by the Sacramento Kings after they made him a second round pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. Minard's time in the NBA D-League was effective but short, as he averaged 16.6 points in only 17 games before moving to Italy, where he has starred ever since. Minard wasn't missed in Columbus since the Riverdragons charged to a league-best 30-18 record before losing in the playoffs. They relocated to Austin and became the Toros for the 2005-06 season.
2003, Ken Johnson, Huntsville Flight - A 6-11 center from Ohio State, Johnson was taken first overall by Huntsville after spending an injury-plagued 2002-03 campaign with the Miami Heat. Johnson appeared in 40 games but was not a big star in the NBA D-League, posting just 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. He did make an impact on the defensive end, leading the league with 97 blocked shots. The Flight finished 24-22 and made a run in the playoffs, falling to Asheville in the championship game.
2002, Mikki Moore, Roanoke Dazzle - Moore already had four NBA seasons under his belt when Roanoke made him the first pick in the 2002 Draft. He was stellar for Roanoke in the NBA D-League, averaging 16.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 42 games. Moore was also a success on the call-up front, signing one ten-day contract with Boston and two with Atlanta before finishing the season as a Hawk. Roanoke was the last team to qualify for the playoffs with a 24-22 record. For his efforts, Moore was named NBA D-League Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-League.
2001, Chris Andersen, Fayetteville Patriots - The Birdman first came on the radar when the Patriots made him the first draft choice in NBA D-League history before the inaugural 2001-02 season. Andersen's stay in North Carolina was very brief with just three games before the Denver Nuggets signed him as the first GATORADE Call-Up in league history. He's gone on to play in 405 NBA games with the Nuggets and Hornets in his career. After losing their first round pick after three games, the Patriots struggled to a 21-35 mark in their first season.