Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Becker: Worst Record Wouldn’t Guarantee Bucks Land Top Pick


Should he declare, Duke’s Jabari Parker is expected to be among the top picks in the 2014 draft.

*Editor’s note: This piece was written by Behind the Buck Pass contributor Justin Becker.

They say history has a way of repeating itself. That has proven to be true when considering the NBA draft. For this article, I am going to look into the past five NBA seasons.

So, should the Milwaukee Bucks be nervous about not getting the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft? History says yes. History says that if you want the number one pick, don’t have the worst record in the league. At this moment, the Bucks hold the worst record in the league at 14-58. The Philadelphia 76ers are one game ahead of them at 15-57, and Orlando is 6.5 games ahead of the Bucks at 20-52.

Yes, the number one pick is not in favor of Milwaukee. Let me explain why by taking a look back at the past five drafts and how the teams stood in the standings.

2013 NBA Draft

First off, let’s take a look at the results of the order selection for the 2013 NBA Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers received the number one pick. The Orlando Magic got to pick second. The Washington Wizards selected third. The Charlotte Bobcats picked fourth and the Phoenix Suns selected fifth.

Now, let’s take a look at how these teams faired in the standings the season before. The Orlando Magic held the worst record in the league. One would think they would pick first, but they ended up picking second. Charlotte was the next worst and ended up picking fourth. The Cavs, who picked first, were the third worst in the league. The Suns were the fourth worst and picked fifth. Washington was the seventh worst team in the league and picked fourth.

In this case, the worst team in the league picked second.

2012 NBA Draft

Again, let’s take a look at the order selection that occurred for the 2012 NBA Draft. The New Orleans Hornets (remember them?!) ended up with the number one overall pick in the draft. The Charlotte Bobcats picked second. The Washington Wizards selected third. The Cleveland Cavs earned the fourth pick and the Sacramento Kings picked fifth in the draft.

Now, let’s see what the standings looked like for the 2011-2012 season and how that translated into the draft. The worst team in the league was given to Charlotte, who ended up with second overall pick in the draft. The next worst team was Washington, who picked third. New Orleans was the third worst, who obviously picked first. Cleveland was the fourth worst and Sacramento was the fifth worst. They picked fourth and fifth in the draft, respectively.

For the 2012 Draft, the worst team in the league picked second once again.

2011 NBA Draft

In-case you haven’t gotten the hang of it yet, we’re going to look at the order selection. With the number one pick in the draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers got honors once again. The second pick went to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Picking third were the Utah Jazz. The Cleveland Cavaliers got to pick again with the fourth pick in the draft and the Toronto Raptors chose fifth.

Now, let’s see what the standings looked like for the 2010-2011 season. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who had a 17-65 record, were the worst team in the league that year. They ended up picking second in the draft. The second-worst team was the Cleveland Cavaliers, who ended up picking first and fourth. The third worst team, the Toronto Raptors, ended up with the fifth overall pick. Lastly, the Utah Jazz was the 13th worst team in the league and picked third overall.

For the 2011 NBA Draft, the worst team in the league picked second overall.

2010 NBA Draft

You should know the drill by now. The Washington Wizards were awarded the number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Picking second were the Philadelphia 76ers. The New Jersey Nets (another oldie!) picked third overall. The Minnesota Timberwolves ended up with the fourth pick and the Sacramento Kings chose fifth overall.

Taking a look back at the 2009-2010 season, let’s see how the top-five draft teams did in the season. With the worst overall record in the league at 12-70, the New Jersey Nets ended up picking third in the draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves were the next worst in the league and picked fourth overall. Sacramento was the third worst and picked fifth in the draft. Washington was the fourth worst in the draft, picking first. And last but not least, the Philadelphia 76ers were the sixth worst team in the league and picked second overall.

In this case, the worst team in the league ended up picking third.

2009 NBA Draft

Alright, the team that picked number one overall was the Los Angeles Clippers. The Memphis Grizzlies picked second while the Oklahoma City Thunder picked third. Sacramento followed at number four and Minnesota held the fifth pick.

Now, the 2008-2009 season standings: The Sacramento Kings were the worst team in the league that year, with a 17-65 record. They ended up choosing fourth. The Los Angeles Clippers were the third worst team in the league and picked the first pick in the draft. Oklahoma City ended with the fourth-worst record and picked third overall. The Memphis Grizzlies were the next worst and picked second in the draft. Last but not least, the Minnesota Timberwolves were the sixth worst team in the league and chose fifth.

With this draft, the worst team in the league chose fourth.

As you can see, despite the odds being in their favor, it’s somewhat of a rarity for the worst team in the league to end up with the number one pick. Finishing with the worst record in the league would ensure Milwaukee picks no lower than the fourth, but landing the top pick is far from a guarantee.

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