NBA Draft Pick Debt Review
The 2014 NBA Draft is highly anticipated with potential stars like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle and Dante Exum expected to be in the class.
Through previous trades, 14 of the 30 picks in that draft may have already changed hands. Of course, the draft order will be determined by record and most of the swaps are heavily protected.
Teams “Guaranteed” Multiple First-Round Picks
The Utah Jazz will have their pick along with the Golden State Warriors’ pick (unprotected), in return for taking on the salaries of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson this summer. The Warriors finished with the 10th-best record in the league last season, so the Jazz should expect to get about the 20th pick in the deal.
The Orlando Magic will get a second selection as well, receiving considerations from the Denver Nuggets (thanks to the four-team Andre Iguodala/Dwight Howard trade). The Magic will get whichever picks is lower between the New York Knicks and the Nuggets. Denver will have New York’s pick as part of the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster, but keeps just the higher one.
If Denver takes a step backward this year to finish behind the Knicks in the standings, the Magic will get New York’s lower draft pick.
The Boston Celtics will also pick twice, with a second selection coming from the Brooklyn Nets via the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade. The pick could come from the Atlanta Hawks — if they finish with a better record than the Nets.
Atlanta has just one pick but can switch firsts with Brooklyn (thanks to the Joe Johnson trade). Presumably the Nets will have a better record than Atlanta, which will negate the swap. Regardless, the Nets send whichever 2014 first they have to the Celtics.
While the Jazz, Magic and Celtics are guaranteed multiple picks, given the potential of additional moves before next June — the word “guarantee” is a strong term.
Teams Hoping for Conditional Picks
The Phoenix Suns could have three first-round picks in the talent-heavy 2014 draft.
As long as the Indiana Pacers make the playoffs, which should be a lock for a team that nearly went to the NBA Finals last season, the Suns will get a first in return for Luis Scola.
Last season, the Wolves had more injuries than just about any franchise in the league. They should significantly improve and while it’s not a lock, the Suns have a real shot at three first-rounders to help the rebuilding effort.
The Charlotte Bobcats could hit the 2014 NBA Draft with anywhere from zero to three selections in the top 30.
The Portland Trail Blazers owe Charlotte a first for the Gerald Wallace deal, but it is top-12 protected. The Blazers are like the Timberwolves, they should contend for a playoff spot but will have to work to get there.
The Detroit Pistons also owe a pick to the Bobcats, but it is top-eight protected. The Pistons made a number of moves that could push them into the playoffs in the East, but they’re an iffier bet to make the postseason than teams like the Wolves and Blazers.
Are there 22 teams better than the Pistons?
Detroit gave up the first to get out of the Ben Gordon contract one year early (in exchange for Corey Maggette).
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls would get another first if the Bobcats make a strong improvement. The Bobcats gave up a protected pick (top 10 in 2014) to acquire Tyrus Thomas — who, by the way, they amnestied this summer.
Charlotte actually has a talented roster, but they have a lot to prove over an 82-game schedule. The Bulls may have to wait another year to get their pick.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a real shot to get the New Orleans Pelicans’ first-rounder, which was sent in June as part of the Jrue Holiday deal. The selection is top-five protected and the Pelicans have improved since last year’s 27-55 squad (with the fifth-worst overall record).
The Miami HEAT, however, are unlikely to get the Sixers’ pick, still hanging around with protections from the Arnett Moultrie deal in 2012. Lottery protections through 2015 could turn that obligation to second-rounders in 2015 and 2016.
The Cleveland Cavaliers could get the Sacramento King’s first-round pick, which is top-12 protected in return for J.J. Hickson (who did not pan out in Sacramento). Last season, the Kings had the sixth-worst record in the league — they may keep their pick another year.
If the Dallas Mavericks finish with a top-10 record, they’ll send their first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The top-20 protected pick was traded originally to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lamar Odom, then to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill and then finally to the Thunder for James Harden.
The Mavericks could be a threat this season, but finishing in the 15-19 range may be more realistic (preserving the pick, which is protected through 2018).
Teams With No First-Rounders
Barring a trade to acquire a pick, the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets will not have first-rounders in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Depending on protections, the Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans could also end up with no firsts.
If the Charlotte Bobcats finish with the 11th pick or lower — while both the Blazers and Pistons stumble — the team could hit the 2014 NBA Draft without a first (albeit unlikely).
If the Philadelphia 76ers make the playoffs (they won’t) and the Pelicans land a top-five pick, the Sixers won’t have a first-round pick. It is far, far more likely the Sixers have one or even two picks.