Now, we’re looking at his from a Seattle/Las Vegas perspective. To get a better idea of what three players may be most likely to go, let’s look at the expansion drafts and NBA drafts every year the NBA brought a new team into the league since 1988.
In1988 the Heats’ first three expansion picks were Arvid Kramer, Billy Thompson, and Fred Roberts. Their first-round draft pick was Rony Seikaly. Seikaly was a good hand, but Kramer and Roberts never played for the Heat. Thompson had two solid years but that’s it.
The other team from that year was the Hornets. Their first three picks in the expansion draft were Dell Curry, Dave Hoppen, and Muggys Bogues, while their first rookie taken was Twitter’s Rex Chapman. Of those four guys, I guess you could say what happened to Hoppen? He didn’t turn out nearly well as that word-play. Bogues and Curry were mainstays in Charlotte for nearly a decade-plus each, and Chapman is most famous for his tweeting but he was a good young player for them for a few years.
In 1989, were the Magic and Timberwolves.
The Magic picked Sidney Green, Reggie Theus, and Terry Catledge in the expansion draft, with Nick Anderson being their rookie selection. Anderson had a good career in Orlando, and Catledge had a few good years, but Green and Theus made no impact. Theus was a former All-Star but he was washed by the time he ended up in Orlando.
The Timberwolves’ first three picks were Rick Mahorn, Tyrone Corbin, and Steve Johnson, while their first rookie pick was Pooh Richardson. Mahorn and Johnson made no impact, while Corbin and Richardson were solid picks. Johnson was an All-Star as well when he arrived in Minnesota but was dealing with major injuries that sapped him of his skills.
In 1995, the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors joined the league.
The Raptors picked B.J. Armstrong, Tony Massenburg, and Andrés Guibert in the expansion draft and then nabbed Damon Stoudamire in the rookie draft. Armstrong demanded a trade and never played for Toronto, Massneburg played months for the team, while Guibert never joined the franchise. Stoudamire played two and a half seasons before being traded after refusing to extend his deal.
The Grizzlies picked Greg Anthony (yes that Greg Anthony), Rodney Dent, Antonio Harvey, and Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Anthony had a few good years in Vancouver, while Reeves was a star in the making before his back went out. Dent and Harvey were non-factors.
In 2004 the Bobcats entered the league and no draft was had, as they were the only team. Their top picks ended up being Primož Brezec, Matt Carol, Gerald Wallace, and Jason Kapono. They also selected Zaza Pachulia but traded him before the amateur draft. In the amateur draft, they selected Emeka Okafor second overall, the highest draft pick by any new franchise since 1988.
So what did we learn? Selecting older talent usually isn’t the best idea. Guys who fit a scheme and a purpose end up lasting longer than anything. The same goes for guys who are drafted as rookies in systems. So it basically comes down to the idea of what makes a team a team. What is their identity?
Well, the best bet is to go young, as the Charlotte Hornets took five years to have a winning season, the Charlotte Bobcats took six, The Timberwolves took nine, The Grizzlies also took nine, the Heat took six, The Raptors took five and the Magic took five as well. You’re looking at an average of six seasons at least before you have a winning ball club.
So with that said, who would we take in the expansion draft?