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Stay Connected - Looking Toward the Lottery

The One(s)

May 3, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.The season of struggle has given way to an offseason of optimism, and it begins by Looking Toward the Lottery. During the next few weeks, NJNets.com will take you through the process with our ongoing series. Stay tuned for more!


First Choice
Since the lottery began in 1985, when the Knicks won the right to select clear No. 1 pick Patrick Ewing, teams have had to be open to the possibility they might not be drafting in order of finish. But that doesnt mean good value will cease to be available for anyone who drops down. With the Nets guaranteed to pick at least fourth, well take a historical swing through each of the teams potential draft positions to see what could be.

After examining what could be at picks 2-4, its time to take a look at five No. 1 picks who lived up to the advance billing. Its apparent that superstars are selected more often than not, and can make things quite complicated when one attempts to discern which one should rank ahead of another.

1. Shaquille ONeal (1992, Orlando Magic)

Alonzo Mourning

You can make a great case for either of these former No. 1s, each a four-time champion, league MVP and multiple-time Finals MVP while you can talk yourself into Duncan being the guy, confronted with a Gladwell-style blink test, Shaqs peak dominance probably grabs your gut over Duncans incredible consistency. When the statistical cases are this close to call, thats the tipping point.

Career Stats
G GS MPG FG% FT% BPG RPG APG PPG
1,170 1,161 35.2 .581 .527 2.3 11.0 2.6 24.1
Notes

18 seasons
4 championships
3-time NBA Finals MVP (2000-02)
Regular-season MVP (2000)
3-time All-Star Game MVP (2000, 04, 09)
Rookie of the Year (1993)
15 All-Star Games (1993-98, 2000-07, 09)
All-NBA (1st team, 8 times; 2nd, 2x; 3rd, 3x)
All-Defensive (2nd team, 2000-01, 03)
All-Rookie (1st team, 1993)
Top-10 all-time in career points, blocks, field goals and field-goal percentage.
Top-20 all-time in career rebounds, free throws and minutes played.
13 seasons with at least 21 PPG and 10 RPG; 10 were of at least 27 and 10.
3-time scoring champion; 10 times in the Top-10, 9 of them Top-5.
12 times Top-10 in blocks per game, 5 times Top-5.
10-time league-leader in field-goal percentage; 16 times Top-15.
7 times Top-10 in rebounds per game, 5 times Top-5.

2. Tim Duncan (1997, San Antonio Spurs)

Alonzo Mourning

Career Stats
G GS MPG FG% FT% BPG RPG APG PPG
977 975 36.4 .508 .687 2.3 11.6 3.2 21.1
Notes

13 seasons
4 championships
3-time NBA Finals MVP (1999, 2003, 05)
2-time regular-season MVP (2002-03)
3-time All-Star Game MVP (1999, 2003, 05)
Rookie of the Year (1998)
11 All-Star Games (1998, 2010)
All-NBA (1st team, 1998-2005, 07; 2nd, 2006, 08-09)
All-Defensive (2nd team, 2000-01, 03)
All-Rookie (1st team, 1993)
Top-10 all-time in career blocks.
Top-30 all-time in career rebounds.
Top-50 all-time in career points, field goals and free throws.
9 seasons with at least 20 PPG and 10 RPG.
12 times Top-10 in rebounds per game.
10 times Top-10 in blocks per game.
5 times Top-10 in points per game.

3. LeBron James (2003, Cleveland Cavaliers)

Alonzo Mourning

Theres a pretty fair chance that the recently re-crowned, reigning back-to-back MVP finishes his career atop this list, but with Shaq and The Big Fundamental hoarding championship hardware (eight of 10 titles during the aughts), its too early to put LeBron ahead of either. Well be witnessing greatness for years to come, and it will be intriguing to see exactly when the if becomes a when for young James.

Career Stats
G GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% SPG BPG RPG APG PPG
548 547 40.3 .475 .329 .742 1.7 0.9 7.0 7.0 27.8
Notes

7 seasons
2-time regular-season MVP (2009-10)
2-time All-Star Game MVP (2006, 08)
Rookie of the Year (2004)
6 All-Star Games (2005-2010)
All-NBA (1st team, 2006, 08-09; 2nd, 05, 07)
All-Defensive (1st team, 2009)
All-Rookie (1st team, 2004)
Top-100 all-time in career assists and free throws.
1-time scoring champion (2008); 6 times in Top-5.
1 of 4 NBA rookies to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Averaged at least 25-6-6 in his other six seasons.

4. David Robinson (1987, San Antonio Spurs)

Kevin Durant

Though The Admiral gave up two early years of his career to complete his naval service, he immediately impacted the league, following up his Rookie of the Year campaign with a Defensive Player of the Year Award two seasons later. Robinson had already established himself as MVP-worthy before Tim Duncans 1997 arrival, but he adjusted well to playing alongside his fellow big, winning two championships before retiring in 2003.

Career Stats
G GS MPG FG% FT% SPG BPG RPG APG PPG
987 985 34.7 .518 .736 1.4 2.9 10.6 2.5 21.1
Notes

13 seasons
2 championships (1999, 2003)
Regular-season MVP (1995)
Defensive Player of the Year (1992)
Rookie of the Year (1990)
10 All-Star Games (1990-96, 98, 2000-01)
All-NBA (1st team, 1991-92, 95-96; 2nd, 94, 98; 3rd, 90, 93, 2000-01)
All-Defensive (1st team, 1991-92, 95-96; 2nd team, 1990, 93-94, 98)
All-Rookie (1st team, 1990)
Top-10 all-time in career blocks.
Top-20 all-time in career free throws.
Top-50 all-time in points, rebounds, steals, field goals and field-goal percentage.
8 seasons with at least 21 PPG and 10 RPG; 4 were of at least 25 and 10.
1-time scoring champion; 8 times in the Top-10.
11 times Top-10 in blocks per game; 8 times Top-5.
9 times Top-10 in rebounds per game; 5 times Top-5.

5. Allen Iverson (1996, Philadelphia 76ers)

Marcus Camby

The shortest No. 1 pick of all time at 6-foot, 1/2-inches tall, The Answer proved to be one of the most explosive scorers in league history, pacing the NBA in PPG four times while carrying teams as far as the Finals. Iversons 2000-01 MVP season is regarded as one of the leagues most memorable, teaming with mid-season acquisition Dikembe Mutombo to eventually guide coach Larry Browns hard-scrabble outfit to a Game One upset of the heavily favored Lakers. His baby-cross pullup on Michael Jordan was the harbinger that a new generation of superstars was upon us, and Iversons influence has since permeated the league, inspiring the current up-and-comers as they eyed NBA careers.

Career Stats
G GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% SPG RPG APG PPG
914 901 41.1 .425 .313 .780 2.2 3.7 6.2 26.7
Notes

14 seasons
Regular-season MVP (2001)
2-time All-Star Game MVP (2001, 05)
Rookie of the Year (1997)
11 All-Star Games (2000-10)
All-NBA (1st team, 1999, 2001, 05; 2nd, 00, 02-03; 3rd, 06)
All-Rookie (1st, 1997)
Top-15 all-time in career steals and free throws.
Top-30 all-time in career points and field goals.
Top-50 all-time in career assists and minutes.
4-time scoring champion; 11 seasons in Top 10.
4 times Top-10 in assists.
4 times Top-10 in steals.
5 seasons of at least 25 PPG and 7 APG.

Honorary Mention

Patrick Ewing (1985, New York Knicks)

The man who made the first lottery so exciting for the New York defined an era for the Knicks, playing hard and fiercely defending the middle while carrying the load as the teams top scorer for more than a decade. With no MVP or championship hardware in the cupboard, Ewing finds himself just outside the Top 5 of this stellar group of superstars. But his wildly productive career is a reminder that more often than not, No. 1 is a no-lose situation.

Patrick Ewing Stats
G GP MPG FG% FT%
1,183 1,122 34.3 0.504 0.740
SPG BPG RPG APG PPG
1.0 2.4 9.8 1.9 21.0
Notes

17 seasons
Rookie of the Year (1986)
All-Star (1986, 88-97)
All-NBA (1st team, 1990; 2nd, 88-89, 91-93, 97)
All-Defensive (2nd team, 88-89)
All-Rookie (1st, 1986)
Top-10 all-time in career blocks.
Top-30 all-time in career points, rebounds, field goals, free throws and minutes.
Top-100 all-time in career steals.
8 times Top-10 in scoring; 3 seasons Top 5.
8 times Top-10 in rebounds, 4 seasons Top 5.
13 times Top-10 in blocks; 5 seasons Top 5.
9 seasons of at least 20 PPG and 10 RPG; 5 were of at least 24 and 11.

Thanks to Marketing Intern Craig Manfra and Marketing Assistant Dave M. Brown for the assist!

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