With one of the more important days of the year at hand, we at Nets are Scorching take a look through the history of the weighted lottery system to see how the Nets fared compared to their odds, who they selected (or would have selected), who they missed out on, and how it worked out in the long-term.
Starting with the first year of the weighted lottery system:
Lottery Result: Stood pat, won lottery
Pick Result: Derrick Coleman
Passed On: Gary Payton, Jayson Williams
Analysis: Passing on Payton was obviously a miss, but, coming out of college, it was thought that DC could be a rebounding/scoring machine in the NBA and for the most part he was. In five seasons with the Nets, Coleman’s numbers never lacked, but it was his attitude and conditioning which game into question. It’s safe to say Coleman never lived up to his considerable potential, for the Nets or for any other NBA team.
Lottery Result: Moved up to 2nd
Pick Result: Kenny Anderson
Passed On: Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Smith
Analysis: After selecting Coleman the year before, the Nets decided to take point guard Kenny Anderson, giving them what they thought would be a solid inside/outside threat for the next decade. But, much the same way as Coleman, Anderson did not meet his potential with the Nets and despite an all-star season in ’93, Anderson’s time with the Nets is considered disappointing.
Lottery Result: Dropped to 9th
Pick Result: Ed O’Bannon
Passed On: Theo Ratliff, Michael Finley
Analysis: The California native was hoping to be drafted by a team in the West, and became homesick while living in New Jersey. O’Bannon also lacked a true position in the NBA and never truly got a great opportunity to grow and develop. Needless to say, his career was underwhelming and he was out of the league after just two seasons.
Lottery Result: Stood pat at 8th
Pick Result: Kerry Kittles
Passed On: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Peja Stojakovic, Jermaine O’Neal
Analysis: Kittles had a solid career and a key piece in the Nets run to the NBA finals. He’s also one of the most beloved players in Nets history. But it’s the players the Nets didn’t draft in 1996 that ultimately affected the course of the franchise the most.
Lottery Result: Stood pat at 7th
Pick Result: Tim Thomas
Transaction: Thomas was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in a nine-player deal that netted the Nets Keith Van Horn (among others).
Passed On: Tracy McGrady
Analysis: Neither Van Horn nor Thomas became All-Star caliber players, but Van Horn had a strong five-year run with the Nets.
Transaction: The Nets traded their first-round pick to Minnesota in the deal for Stephon Marbury.
Lottery Result: Moved down to 6th
Pick Result: Wally Szczerbiak
Passed On: Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Andre Miller, Richard Hamilton
Analysis: The Nets dealt this pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the deal to acquire Stephon Marbury. The deal could have become two future second-round picks, but given how weak this class became, the Nets probably didn’t mind giving this one up.
Lottery Result: Moved up to 1st
Pick Result: Kenyon Martin
Passed On: Mike Miller, Michael Redd
Analysis: It would be the Nets’ luck to win the lottery for a draft class that is considered one of the worst of the last 15 years. To their credit, the Nets did draft the best player of that class, albeit Martin was never quite the talent befitting of most #1 overall selections. Martin was, however, an impact player for the Nets, providing toughness and athleticism to our interior. During the Nets run of back-to-back NBA Finals, Martin was likely the Nets’ second best player and most reliable scoring option.
Lottery Result: Dropped to 7th
Pick Result: Eddie Griffin
Transaction: Griffin was traded to the Houston Rockets for Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, and Brandon Armstrong.
Passed On: Joe Johnson, Tony Parker
Analysis: Aside from the acquisition of Jason Kidd and the drafting of Kenyon Martin, no other move set up the franchise for its historic NBA run than this one. Jefferson and Collins both became foundation blocks for what was at the time one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Combine those facts with the underperformance of the late Eddie Griffin and it’s easy to say this draft day deal was a heist for the Nets, and it’s a major reason they didn’t see another lottery until…
Lottery Result: Stood pat at 10th
Pick Result: Brook Lopez
Passed On: Roy Hibbert, Serge Ibaka
Analysis: Getting a player of Lopez’s caliber at #10 was a great get for the Nets. Lopez has his flaws, but he is a legit 7-footer and has proven that NBA offenses can be run through him, at least for periods of a game. Lopez’s Nets legacy will be altered this offseason and he’ll either become a long-term Net, or a piece that helps us improve in other areas.
Lottery Result: Stood pat at 11th
Pick Result: Terrence Williams
Passed On: Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday
Analysis: T-Will had a great opportunity to make an immediate impact on the Nets, but whether it was for the lack of a true position or maturity issues, Williams floundered in two seasons before being dealt to Houston, where he didn’t stick either. Now playing in Sacramento, Williams may be on the way to finding a permanent place in the league.
Lottery Result: Dropped to 3rd
Pick Result: Derrick Favors
Passed On: DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George
Analysis: After missing out on John Wall, the Nets put Favors on the trade block for Carmelo Anthony as David Stern announced his name at the draft podium. For any rookie the adjustment to the NBA is hard enough, let alone having the added pressure of being a central figure in the high-profile situation that was Melodrama. While Favors was in a Nets uniform, he showed flashes of the potential All-Star he can become, but for the most part he was the raw unfinished product we expected.
Lottery Result: Moved up to 3rd
Transaction: This pick was sent to the Utah Jazz in the Deron Williams trade.
Pick Result: Enes Kanter
Passed On: Tristan Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kenneth Faried
Analysis: The Nets traded this pick long before they had a shot at selecting anyone with it, flipping it at the trade deadline for Deron Williams. Still, we include it (and the Szczerbiak pick) as reminders of what “might have been”… and in this instance, what might have been doesn’t seem like much. Kanter had a solid, unspectacular rookie season for Utah, showing flashes of promise and playing in all 66 games but never fully cracking the stuffed big man rotation in Utah.