The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are coming off their worst seasons in franchise history, but both teams can start the process of rejuvenating their teams with the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday. With the two teams from the NBA’s biggest markets finishing in the bottom five of the league, the Knicks and Lakers both have a chance to get a top pick and select a future All-Star in June's Draft.
While 12 other teams have a chance to land the No.1 pick, a lot of eyes are on New York and L.A. They are the NBA’s most visible teams, and they haven’t been successful in the last few years.
Neither team has a whole lot of history in the lottery. New York won the first ever lottery and drafted Patrick Ewing, but the Knicks have traded away so many of their draft picks that they’ve only made five lottery selections since the weighted lottery system was introduced in 1990. This year marks just the fourth time the Lakers are in the lottery because they only missed the playoffs twice between 1977 and 2013.
How have the Knicks and Lakers fared in the years that they’ve been in the NBA Draft Lottery?
New York Knicks
2002: It was the first time the Knicks had missed the playoffs in 15 years, going 30-52 and finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference. With the seventh-best odds (4.4 percent chance) of getting the top pick, New York landed right where they were projected and picked Nene with the No.7 pick. On the day of the draft, they traded Nene to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Antonio McDyess, who battled injuries and only played 18 games with the Knicks. The Houston Rockets picked Yao Ming first overall, entering the lottery with the fifth-best odds of winning it.
2003: New York had a seven-game improvement from the previous season, and they didn’t have any more luck in the lottery. The ninth-best odds (1.5 percent chance) of winning the lottery gave the Knicks Mike Sweetney at No.9 overall. The Cleveland Cavaliers turned the league’s worst record into LeBron James.
2005: Once again, the Knicks didn’t get any luck and ended up where they were expected to land, taking Channing Frye at No.8 overall. New York had the eighth-best odds (3.5 percent chance) of winning the lottery and drafting Andrew Bogut. Instead, it was the Milwaukee Bucks who got the big man with the top pick, having ended the season with the league’s sixth-worst record.
2008: The Knicks had their worst ever luck in the lottery, though their selection ended up being their most productive lottery pick since Patrick Ewing. Derrick Rose was the top prize in the draft, and New York’s 23-59 record gave them the fifth-best odds (7.6 percent chance) of getting the No.1 pick. The Chicago Bulls ended up becoming one of the biggest longshots to get the No.1 pick, turning their 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery into a future NBA MVP.
2009: New York’s last lottery pick only played 24 games with the club. Jordan Hill was the No.7 pick of the draft, as the Knicks had the league’s eighth-worst record (2.8 percent chance). Winning the right to draft Blake Griffin first overall appeared out of New York’s reach, but they nearly got the No.6 pick, which turned out to be Stephen Curry. DeMar DeRozan went at No.8 overall, where the Knicks were originally projected to pick.
Los Angeles Lakers
1994: The Lakers had virtually no chance (0.8 percent chance) of winning the lottery in their first appearance. L.A. just missed the playoffs as the No.9 seed in the Western Conference, and they got the 10th overall pick. Eddie Jones was taken by the Lakers, and he ended up being a three-time All-Star in the NBA. He scored just 79 fewer career points than Glenn Robinson, who was taken first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee had a 16.3 percent chance of winning the lottery.
2005: Los Angeles missed the postseason this year after they traded Shaquille O’Neal, losing 22 more games than they had in the previous season. A 34-48 record wasn’t poor enough to give them a good shot of winning the lottery (1.4 percent chance) and they ended up with the No.10 pick. With Bogut going first overall, the Lakers took Andrew Bynum to fill their need for a center.
2014: Last year’s lottery selection played just 14 minutes before his season came to an end. The Lakers took Julius Randle at No.7 overall, and a broken leg ended his year in the season opener. The NBA’s sixth-worst record gave L.A. decent odds (6.3 percent chance) to win the Andrew Wiggins Sweepstakes, but the Cleveland Cavaliers and the league’s ninth-worst record won the lottery.