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It appears that Kentucky’s Anthony Davis will be the first overall pick in tonight’s NBA draft, taken by the New Orleans Hornets.
Before Hornets fans get too excited and think that they will have a front-row seat to watching Davis develop into an NBA star and then retire as a Hornet, the reality is that not all number one overall picks stay with the team that drafted them.
From 1950-99, there were 50 NBA drafts and 50 different overall first picks in the draft. Of those 50, only eight players (16%) who were the number one pick in the draft stayed with the team that drafted them their entire career. Of the 12 players who were the number one overall pick from 2000-2011, four of those players (Kenyon Martin, Kwame Brown, LeBron James and Andrew Bogut) are already with different teams than the team that drafted them.
Following are the eight overall number one draft picks (1950-99) who played their entire careers with the team that drafted them.
1958: Elgin Baylor, Minnesota/L.A. Lakers
1972: LaRue Martin, Portland
1973: Doug Collins, Philadelphia
1979: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
1982: James Worthy, Los Angeles Lakers
1986: Brad Daugherty, Cleveland
1987: David Robinson, San Antonio
1997: Tim Duncan, San Antonio*
It looks like a player drafted number one in the 2000’s will join the above list. Houston’s Yao Ming, citing foot and ankle injuries, retired from the NBA on July 20, 2011 after eight seasons in the league, all with the Rockets.
Greg Oden, selected first overall in the 2007 draft by Portland, was waived by the Trailblazers in March 2012 after playing only 82 games in the NBA, all with Portland. He has already announced his intention to sit out the 2012-13 season due to injuries. Whether or not he ever plays again in the league is still up in the air.
Of the 12 players drafted number one overall since 2000, six are still with the team that drafted them: Dwight Howard (2004 by Orlando), Andrea Bargnani (2006 by Toronto), Derrick Rose (2008 by Chicago), Blake Griffin (2009 by the L.A. Clippers), John Wall (2010 by Washington) and Kyrie Irving (2011 by Cleveland).
Looking at the overall number ones drafted since 1994 who are no longer with the team that drafted them, Elton Brand spent the shortest time with the team that drafted him. Brand was drafted number by the Bulls in 1999 and played only 155 games with the Bulls. The number one overall picks (since 1994) who have left the team that drafted them (and the number of games they played with that team):
Player, Year, Team, Career Games with that Team
Elton Brand, 1999, Chicago, 155
Joe Smith, 1995, Golden State Warriors, 211
Kame Brown, 2001, Washington, 253
Kenyon Martin, 2000, N.J. Nets, 283
Michael Olowokandi, 1998, L.A. Clippers, 323
Andrew Bogut, 2005, Milwaukee, 408
LeBron James, 2003, Cleveland, 548
Glenn Robinson, 1994, Milwaukee, 568
Allen Iverson, 1996, Philadelphia, 697
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