View Full Version : What Future Draft Picks Can Turn Into

09-04-2012, 09:34 PM
By Yannis Koutroupis
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor


Future draft picks are included in trades so much that it’s almost surprising when at least one isn’t involved in a deal. They’re valuable assets that can help make or break potential trades, but they can also make trades that appeared to be lopsided turn out to be absolute steals for the other team if they draft the right player.

HOOPSWORLD recently overhauled the trade history page, which dates back to 2006. As it was being updated, some trades that included future draft picks at the time turned out to be surprisingly significant based on who was drafted. With that in mind we decided to breakdown some of the more interesting players who were selected with picks that originally belonged to other teams.

Goran Dragic – Pick originally owned by the Toronto Raptors
On draft night in 2007 the Toronto Raptors traded their 2008 second-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for the rights to Giorgos Printezis, who to this day has still never played in the NBA. The Spurs then proceeded to flip the pick to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the draft rights to Malik Hairston and a 2009 second-round pick of the Golden State Warriors, which the Suns acquired in a trade for Zarko Cabarkapa.

With that 2009 second-round pick the Spurs drafted DeJuan Blair, who has been a solid pick up for them. The Suns eventually traded Dragic to Houston in a multiplayer deal that brought back Aaron Brooks, but re-signed him this summer to replace his former mentor, Steve Nash.

Marcus Thornton – Pick originally owned by the Indiana Pacers
Over the last couple of seasons the Indiana Pacers have been searching for a guard who can create his own shots and provide instant offense off of the bench. Unfortunately for them, they owned a pick that turned into Marcus Thornton, who fits that description perfectly. In 2007 they traded the 2009 second rounder that eventually became Thornton to the HEAT for the draft rights to Stanko Barac, who never played in the NBA.

The HEAT didn’t exactly cash in on the steal either, but there is still hope. They flipped Thornton on draft night to the New Orleans Hornets for Jarvis Varnado and a second-round pick yet to be conveyed still. Thornton had a solid two years for the Hornets before they ended up shipping him to Sacramento for Carl Landry.

Omer Asik – Pick originally owned by the New York Knicks
In 2007 the Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers completed a monster deal that featured Zach Randolph going to the Big Apple with Steve Francis, who was almost immediately bought out, going to Portland. The swap also included a 2009 second-round pick of the Knicks going to Portland as well.

That pick ended up becoming Omer Asik, who is now set to start at center for the Houston Rockets. He never made his way to Portland, though, because they traded him to Chicago in a three-team deal that also included Patrick Mills, Jon Brockman, and Jerome Jordan. Just a throw in at the time, Asik is now arguably the second-best piece involved.

Nando De Colo – Pick originally owned by the Houston Rockets
The Luis Scola trade will haunt the San Antonio Spurs for the rest of their livelihoods. Restricted by ownerships’ hard stance against paying the luxury tax, the Spurs were forced to trade Scola to Houston for Vassilis Spanoulis, cash, and a future second-round pick after not being able to come to agreement on a contract with him. This came in the summer of 2007 after winning their fourth championship; they haven’t won one since.

Spanoulis went back to Greece while Scola went on to establish himself as one of the best power forwards in the game. The second round pick turned into Nando De Colo, who signed with the Spurs this offseason. He’s their only hope to ease the regrets over trading Scola, which made Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich so angry that he said it made him want to spit shortly after.

Serge Ibaka – Pick originally owned by the Phoenix Suns
There’s a long list of moves that the Suns made as a means to cut costs that played a major role in their championship window closing. A 2007 trade that sent Kurt Thomas, a 2008 first-round pick, and a 2010 first-round pick to Oklahoma City for basically nothing (Emir Preldzic, who never made the jump and a $9 million trade exception that went unused) has a firm spot on that list.

The 2008 first rounder turned into Ibaka, one of the league’s rising stars at the power forward position. Ibaka fits the mold perfectly for the Suns’ style of basketball. Even though his best years would have come after Nash’s prime, he still would have been a great piece to have a rebuild with. To lose him for nothing stings.

Ty Lawson – Pick originally owned by the Miami HEAT
In 2007 the Miami HEAT gave up a future first-round draft pick in a deal that sent Antoine Walker, Wayne Simien, and Michael Doleac to Minnesota for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount. That pick was rendered in 2009 and was used on Ty Lawson in the infamous Timberwolves draft where they took three point guards in the first round including Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. Lawson, who up to this point is the best of the three, was immediately the odd man out.

The Timberwolves traded him to Denver for Luke Babbitt, who they proceeded to pair with Ryan Gomes for Martell Webster. Webster struggled in Minnesota and is now a Washington Wizard. Meanwhile, Lawson is the starting point guard for the Nuggets and currently negotiating a sizable long-term extension.

Isaiah Thomas – Pick originally owned by the Chicago Bulls
There probably won’t ever be a case of a team regretting losing the 60th overall pick more than this one. The Bucks originally received the pick from the Milwaukee Bucks in a multiplayer trade that included Hakim Warrick, Joe Alexander and multiple picks. The 2011 second-rounder that was included turned out to be the steal of the draft: Isaiah Thomas, but the Bucks gave it up long before the selection was even made.

In a deal during the 2010 offseason, the Bucks paired up Darnell Jackson with a second-round pick for Jon Brockman. Brockman averaged just over one point and two rebounds a game during his time with Milwaukee, while Thomas went on to prove just about the entire league wrong during his stellar rookie campaign.

Kyrie Irving – Pick originally owned by the Los Angeles Clippers
There was a great debate over whether or not the Clippers should have protected the 2011 first-round pick that the paired with Baron Davis in exchange for Jamario Moon and Mo Williams (for a detailed breakdown of exactly why the Clippers couldn’t protect the pick, read Larry Coon’s article here). Due to significant restrictions and hurdles, though, they let go of the potential top-10 pick in a draft they felt was relatively weak anyway.

As the Clippers’ luck would have it, their pick, even with a 2.8 percent chance, ended up as the lottery winner. So, the Cavaliers ended up with Irving, the classes’ only sure thing who went on to win the Rookie of the Year award, and is now the face of their franchise. If it wasn’t for the acquisition of Chris Paul just a few months later, the Clippers would still be reeling from this one.

Austin Rivers – Pick originally owned by the Minnesota Timberwolves
Although he had no idea at the time, at 13 years old a trade between the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves went down that would become a factor for Rivers later in life. The Timberwolves traded Sam Cassell and a 2006 first-round pick with protections only through 2011 to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Marko Jaric and Lionel Chambers. The protections came into play all the way until 2012, when it became unprotected.

The unprotected pick ended up helping seal the deal in a franchise-changing trade for the Clippers, who used it as a centerpiece in the deal for starting point guard Chris Paul. It would end up being the 10th overall selection, which the Hornets used on Rivers to pair him up with number one overall pick Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson as the franchise’s core.

Damian Lillard – Pick originally owned by the Brooklyn Nets (Gerald Wallace deal with Okur, Shawne Williams)
The Trail Blazers needed to free up time for Nicolas Batum and the Nets were desperate to find a quality running mate for soon-to-be free agent Deron Williams. That made them logical trading partners. At the time people felt including a top-three protected pick for Wallace was overpaying, so you definitely don’t want to know what they gave him this offseason.

That pick turned into Lillard, who was the Co-MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League. In the end both teams got what they wanted; Portland gets their future point while the trade helped Brooklyn eventually lock of theirs of the present. Even if Lillard goes on to become a top-five point guard in the league, it’s a reasonable price to pay to help keep Williams.

It’s important to note that had the pick not been traded, there’s no guarantee the same player would have been selected. But, the team who received the pick, and the player it turns it, considers it a part of the package they received in return for what they shipped out.