Pacers’ history of NBA Draft Lottery picks


2009 (No. 13 overall): TYLER HANSBROUGH, PF, North Carolina
Averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 29 games as a rookie

After answering questions about his athleticism and explosiveness with impressive pre-draft workouts, Hansbrough steadily climbed up the draft board. Despite widespread speculation they would take the best available point guard from a deep draft crop, the Pacers grabbed one of the most decorated players in college basketball history with the 13th pick. Named college basketball's Player of the Decade by The Sporting News, Hansbrough was the first player in ACC history to be named a first-team All-American in each of his four seasons. Hansbrough led UNC in scoring and rebounding all four seasons, finishing with career averages of 19.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. His career culminated with the 2009 NCAA Tournament championship on a Tar Heels team that also included first-round picks Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington.

2008 (No. 13 overall): BRANDON RUSH, SG/SF, Kansas
Has averaged 8.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in two seasons

As strongly as he felt about the prospects for Arizona State guard Jerryd Bayless, the player selected by the Pacers at No. 11 in the 2008 NBA Draft, Larry Bird felt more strongly about the opportunity at hand, so he made the decision to trade Bayless (along with veteran forward Ike Diogu) to Portland in exchange for Brandon Rush, who had been selected No. 13 overall, point guard Jarrett Jack and young forward Josh McRoberts. Rush took awhile to get started but found his groove after the All-Star break and secured the starting spot at shooting guard. In 19 starts, the smooth yet unusually athletic wing from Kansas averaged 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, shooting .473 from the field and .411 from the 3-point line. Jack also finished the season as the starter at point guard, while neither Bayless nor Diogu was much of a factor in Portland.

1997 (No. 12 overall): AUSTIN CROSHERE, PF, Providence
Nine seasons, 540 games, 7.5 points, 4.3 rebounds

There was quite a bit of uncertainty about this draft. Though Tim Duncan was clearly the No. 1 pick, there were serious questions about his strength, athleticism and commitment to the game. Only three of the players drafted with lottery picks (Duncan, No. 3 Chauncey Billups and No. 9 Tracy McGrady) reached NBA All-Star status. In Larry Bird's first draft as head coach, he took a liking to a 6-10 forward from Providence with a sweet shooting stroke. When it came time for the Pacers to make their decision at No. 12, they considered Croshere, Michigan forward Maurice Taylor and Kentucky guard Derek Anderson. Croshere proved to be a solid reserve for nine seasons with the Pacers. He was traded to Dallas prior to the 2006-07 season for Marquis Daniels.

1996 (No. 10): ERICK DAMPIER, C, Mississippi State
One season, 72 games, 5.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.01 blocks

There was a plethora of superstar talent in this draft class, beginning with No. 1 pick Allen Iverson and continuing with No. 4 Stephon Marbury and No. 5 Ray Allen. Holding the 10th pick, the Pacers were looking at a number of options, including a young European shooting star named Peja Stojakovic and two less-heralded talents, high-schooler Kobe Bryant and Santa Clara guard Steve Nash. Then-team president Donnie Walsh was a Stojakovic fan and said he "loved" Nash but with Mark Jackson at the point and the possibility Stojakovic would remain in Europe (he didn't come to the NBA until 1998) the Pacers opted for more immediate help. Dampier was traded after his rookie season to Golden State for Mullin, who helped the Pacers reach the conference finals three straight years and the NBA Finals in 2000. Dampier was later traded by the Warriors to Dallas, where he has emerged as a solid contributor as a starter on one of the Western Conference's most successful teams.

1989 (No. 7): GEORGE McCLOUD, SG/SF, Florida State
Four seasons, 247 games, 5.5 points, 2.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds

One of the least compelling lottery crops ever confronted the Pacers in 1989, with Louisville's Pervis Ellison at the top of the draft board. In need of point guard help, the Pacers were looking hard at McCloud, a highly touted prospect from Florida State, and Texas-El Paso's lesser known Tim Hardaway. It turned out to be one of the few misjudgments in Walsh's otherwise proud draft history. Believing the 6-9 McCloud could play point guard, Walsh opted for the bigger player and left Hardaway on the board. McCloud was never comfortable at the point and didn't blossom until leaving the Pacers after the 1992-93 season. He wound up playing with four other teams in 12 NBA seasons, posting a career-high average of 18.9 points with Dallas in 1995-96, before retiring in 2002.

1988 (No. 2): RIK SMITS, C, Marist
12 seasons, 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.28 blocks

A franchise beset by bad fortune at the top of the draft – just missing out on Ralph Sampson in 1984 and Patrick Ewing in 1985 – the Pacers finally caught a break in 1988, though nobody really knew it at the time. With the best record of all the lottery teams, Indiana wound up with the No. 2 pick. There was initial disappointment because of the perception No. 1 pick Danny Manning of Kansas was the only true star available but the Pacers unearthed a little-known gem in 7-4 center Rik Smits of Marist College. It took a few years of development but Smits turned out to be a quality consolation prize, giving the team a potent offensive threat in the low post throughout his 12-season career. He is the only Pacers lottery pick to achieve NBA All-Star status, selected in 1998. Smits spent his entire career with the Pacers, retiring in 2000.

1986 (No. 4): CHUCK PERSON, SF, Auburn
Six seasons, 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists

Walsh's first draft as the lead man in the front office established a trend he'd follow throughout his career: never let your opponents know what you're really thinking. Holding the No. 4 pick, coveting Person but fearing other teams – particularly the Knicks – would trade ahead of the Pacers if they knew his intent, Walsh bluffed the rest of the league into believing he'd take one of the many available centers, either Chris Washburn of N.C. State or William Bedford of Memphis. The selection of Person turned out to be a master stroke from an otherwise dismal lottery class as he earned Rookie of the Year honors in leading the Pacers to the playoffs for just the second time in their NBA history. One of the most prolific scorers and 3-point shooters in franchise history, Person was dealt to Minnesota in 1992 with Micheal Williams for Sam Mitchell and Pooh Richardson. He also played for San Antonio, Charlotte and Seattle before retiring in 2000.

1985 (No. 2): WAYMAN TISDALE, PF, Oklahoma
Four seasons, 15.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, .512 field-goal percentage

The presence of the most heralded prospect in years, coupled with the first-ever Draft Lottery, generated a huge amount of interest – and conspiracy theories when Patrick Ewing wound up going to the Knicks at No. 1. The lottery system at the time was simplistic; the seven lottery teams each had one envelope in a drum, and they were drawn randomly. Suggestions the Knicks' envelope was either frozen or had a bent corner live to this day. Though Ewing and the Knicks enjoyed a long and successful partnership, the Pacers wound up with a solid player in Tisdale, who averaged 15.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in 12 NBA seasons, although his best years were away from Indiana. He was traded to the Kings in 1989 for LaSalle Thompson and Randy Wittman. Aside from Ewing, the most prolific players came along at much lower picks: Chris Mullin at No. 7, Karl Malone at No. 13 and Joe Dumars at No. 18.