The Detroit Pistons will cede their first-round draft pick to the Charlotte Hornets (formerly the Bobcats) after falling out of the top eight during tonight’s NBA Draft lottery. Detroit’s first-round selection was protected if it fell in the top eight picks, but the Cleveland Cavaliers caused their demise.
The Cavaliers won the lottery for the second consecutive year and were awarded the first overall pick; they only had a 1.7 percent chance of doing so. Cleveland will pick first for the third time in the last four years. Because they jumped up to the top three, the Pistons fell to pick nine and lost their pick.
Here’s the draft order as it stands after the lottery:
- 1. Cleveland Cavaliers
- 2. Milwaukee Bucks
- 3. Philadelphia 76ers
- 4. Orlando Magic
- 5. Utah Jazz
- 6. Boston Celtics
- 7. Los Angeles Lakers
- 8. Sacramento Kings
- 9. Charlotte Hornets (this would have been Detroit)
- 10. Philadelphia 76ers
- 11. Denver Nuggets
- 12. Orlando Magic
- 13. Minnesota Timberwolves
- 14. Phoenix Suns
The Pistons, who were represented by forward Kyle Singler, entered the night with a 9.9 percent chance of landing in the top three picks, and a 72.4 percent chance of keeping the eighth pick. The odds were in their favor, but, unfortunately, the ping-pong balls were not.
Fans were hoping to find solace in a 29-53 season in the form of a lottery pick, but now they won’t even be granted that. The lost pick is a result of a 2012 trade that has come back to hurt them tonight. Here’s the trade in case you forgot:
- Ben Gordon
- A future first-round draft pick
- Top 8 protected in 2014
- Top pick protected in 2015
- Unprotected in 2016
- Corey Maggette
Ben Gordon will forever be a name of infamy for the Detroit Pistons. Gordon was signed to a five-year deal worth $55 million in 2009, set to become a key piece of the rebuilding puzzle. Instead, Gordon failed to deliver and only averaged 12.5 points per game in three disappointing seasons with Detroit.
At the time, the Pistons made the trade with Charlotte in order to free up cap room for the future. It seemed like a decent move, as Gordon’s contract was taking up a lot of needed salary cap space, and Maggette’s contract was set to expire after one season.
The Pistons were eventually going to have to pay for the Ben Gordon blunder, but they never thought they would have to do so with a top-10 pick. The goal was to be a playoff contender by the time the debt was owed and send Charlotte a middling pick.
But much to the chagrin of Detroit, they lose a lottery pick this year. Ben Gordon and a ninth overall pick for Corey Maggette sounds pretty horrible in hindsight.
This leaves the Pistons with only one pick in this year’s draft — the 38th overall selection in the second round. The 2014 NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 26.
The only bright side is that Detroit will free up just over $2 million in cap room by not having a first-round pick. Detroit will certainly be looking to make a splash when free agency begins on July 1.