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Tanks for nothing: Top pick usually not franchise-changer

May 21, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Michael Olowokandi Getty Images

OK, so Cleveland won the NBA Draft lottery again, and a couple thoughts come to mind. The first is that it was somewhat fun to see Milwaukee and Philadelphia — two teams that sure seemed to be tanking games last season — not get rewarded. That was a bit like seeing someone who cuts in line at the airport get stopped and sent to the back.

In truth, the lottery has rarely rewarded the worst team. Only three times in 25 lotteries (since the NBA changed the system to weigh the odds) has the worst team won the first pick in the lottery. Even that’s misleading: The 2003 Cavaliers, the year they got LeBron James, were tied with Denver for the worst record.

In 12 of the 25 lotteries — just about half of them — the No. 1 pick went to a team with fifth-worst record or better. The odds are supposed to be STRONGLY against those better teams, but maybe the power of the basketball gods (who loathe tanking — I know, I’ve talked to them) overwhelms the strength of mathematical odds.

MORE: Wiggins goes No. 1 in first Rotoworld mock draft

Or maybe, you know, it’s could just be randomness. Either way, this trend does not seem to have stopped teams from tanking.

The second thought is that the NBA Draft Lottery is auctioning off the wrong thing. The real luck isn’t in getting the No. 1 pick. The real luck is getting the No. 1 pick in the RIGHT YEAR. That is: to get the No. 1 pick in a year when a franchise-changing basketball player is coming out. In most years, having the No. 1 pick is not necessarily better than having the No. 9 pick. In 1998, for instance, the Los Angeles Clippers had the No. 1 pick. The Dallas Mavericks traded for the No. 9 pick.

The Clippers got Michael Olowokandi.

The Mavs got Dirk Nowitzki.

That Clippers team, with the third-worst record in the NBA, would have been WAY better off not getting the first pick. But even more to the point, they would have been WAY better off getting the first pick in the draft one year earlier, when even Donald Sterling’s traveling circus would have known to take Tim Duncan.

It’s fascinating to look at draft by draft since the lottery went into place. How often has the No. 1 pick changed a franchise?

1990: New Jersey Nets select Derrick Coleman.

Best player available: Gary Payton (No. 2)

Result: Coleman was a good player for the Nets, and the team did get better. But Coleman was not a franchise changer..


1991: Charlotte Hornets select Larry Johnson

Best player available: Dikembe Mutombo (No. 4)

Result: Johnson did put the Hornets on the map somewhat with his whole Grandmama act.

1992: Orlando Magic select Shaquille O’Neal

Best player available: Shaq.

Result: Franchise-changer (until they lost him to the Lakers)


1993: Orlando Magic select Chris Webber

Best player available: Probably Webber

Result: Magic traded Webber to Golden State right away for Penny Hardaway, who was a super fun player until injuries wrecked him. Webber had a fine career but was only in Golden State for a year.


1994: Milwaukee Bucks select Glenn Robinson

Best player available: Jason Kidd (No. 2)

Result: Robinson was a bit of a disappointment, but he and Ray Allen did lead Bucks through an often magical 2000-01 season.


1995:  Golden State Warriors select Joe Smith

Best player available: Kevin Garnett (No. 5)

Result: Joe Smith didn’t pan out for Warriors and ended up playing for — this will look like a misprint — 12 different NBA teams.


1996: Philadelphia 76ers select Allen Iverson

Best player available: Kobe Bryant (No. 13)

Result: Bryant, Steve Nash and Ray Allen all might have been better picks. But, for better and worse, Iverson did change the Philadelphia franchise.


1997: San Antonio Spurs select Tim Duncan

Best player available: Duncan

Result: The all-time lottery franchise changer.


1998: Los Angeles Clippers select Michael Olowokandi

Best player available: Anyone else, but Nowitzki (No. 9) and Paul Pierce (No. 10) might have been good places to start.

Result: Biggest bust in lottery history. So far.


1999: Chicago Bulls select Elton Brand

Best player available: Shawn Marion (No. 9)

Result: Good player but little to no impact on the Bulls — they traded him after two years.


2000: New Jersey Nets select Kenyon Martin

Best player available: Maybe Hedo Turkoglu (No. 16). Weak draft.

Result: Martin, when healthy, was a good player. He was a key player in the Nets’ back-to-back finals appearances in 2001 and 2002.


2001: Washington Wizards select Kwame Brown

Best player available: Pau Gasol (No. 3) or Tony Parker (No. 28)

Result: No that didn’t work out.


2002: Houston Rockets select Yao Ming

Best player available: Yao when healthy; Amar’e Stoudemire (No. 9) has had a good career.

Result: Yao was a wonderful player and a game-changer when healthy.


2003: Cleveland Cavaliers select LeBron James

Best player available: James.

Result: Not just a franchise-changer, he was a franchise-saver. Until he took his talents to South Beach.


2004: Orlando Magic select Dwight Howard

Best player available: Howard

Result: Franchise changer for sure but only once, in 2009, has his team made a serious playoff run.


2005: Milwaukee Bucks select Andrew Bogut

Best player available: Chris Paul (No. 4)

Result: Bogut hasn’t stayed healthy enough to be impactful, though he has been a strong rebounder and defender when on the court.


2006: Toronto Raptors select Andrea Bargnani

Best player available: Probably LaMarcus Aldridge (No. 2) or Rajon Rondo (No. 21)

Result: Bargnani, now with New York, has played well at times, but his impact on Toronto was almost zero.


2007: Portland Trail Blazers select Greg Oden

Best player available: Kevin Durant (No. 2)

Result: Unfortunate.


MORE: The star-struck career of Greg Oden



2008: Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose

Best player available: Kevin Love (No. 5) or Russell Westbrook (No.4).

Result: My thought is Rose IS the best and most impactful player out of that draft. But you can’t impact games when you’re not on the court.


2009: Los Angeles Clippers select Blake Griffin

Best player available: Griffin, James Harden (No. 3) or Steph Curry (No. 7)

Result: I think everyone is still waiting on the result. The Clippers franchise HAS changed for the better, and Griffin is a huge reason. Still, I think, going forward, I’d rather have Curry.


2010: Washington Wizards select John Wall

Best player available: Paul George (No. 10)

Result: This year was Wall’s first 82-game season. And this year he showed signs of turning around the Wizards fortunes.


2011: Cleveland Cavaliers select Kyrie Irving

Best player available: Maybe Irving. Maybe Kawhi Leonard (No. 15).

Result: Too early to tell. Irving is a very good player but the Cavaliers franchise has not taken a step forward since Lebron’s departure.


2012: New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans select Anthony Davis

Best player available: Probably Davis

Result: Too early to tell. Pelicans do seem to be getting better slowly.


2013: Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Bennett

Best player available: No way to know yet. Maybe Michael Carter-Williams or Tim Hardaway or Mason Plumlee.

Result: One year isn’t enough to tell much, but Bennett did look badly overmatched.


So, I would say in the 25 years of this lottery, there have been eight or nine franchise-changers taken No. 1 — 10 if Portland had selected Kevin Durant —  which means most of the time the No. 1 pick has NOT altered a franchise.

And chances are that this year’s No. 1 pick will not be a franchise-changer. There are probably three choices — Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kansas’ Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins. Three choices suggest that (A) There isn’t a clear-cut choice which is often a bad sign and (B) if there is one franchise-changer in here, the Cavaliers only have a 33 percentchance of picking him. There is new management in place but let’s be honest: The Anthony Bennett selection last year doesn’t inspire confidence that the Cavaliers will get it right.

Maybe the Cavaliers will have a lottery to determine who should be their first pick. If there’s one thing the Cavs are good at it’s winning lotteries.

  1. earpaniac - May 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Even the Spurs “turnaround” is kind of a misnomer, IIRC. didn’t they have people hurt, etc that year? I recall talk they just got lucky because no one really believed they were that bad? Or am I completely misremembering this?

    • bucrightoff - May 21, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      Yup, David Robinson suffered a season ender, and Sean Elliot suffered injuries most of the year. Won 59 games the year before and 56 games the year after. Just picked the right year for things to go south. Everyone remembers that year was the Celtics tanking hard and ending up with nothing in the end

    • kclanton80 - May 21, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      David Robinson was injured and the spurs basically decided to tank the season. They got rewarded with Tim Duncan and 17 years of winning. No one ever mentions how they tanked to get him though.

      They talk about Pop and how its a great organization etc… When you tank and get one of the greatest big men in history for 17 years of high level production it makes everyone else look much better. Pop is a decent coach but let be honest, you need players. Duncan has made the spurs great and they tanked to get him.

      • spursareold - May 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        FYI, when your franchise player is hurt, and you set a new record for overall player games missed, it’s not a tank job.

      • azarkhan - May 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        Dear Ignoramus,

        Thank you for your comment. We’ll contact you.

        Sane people everywhere

        PS: Every moron “mentions how they tanked”. You’re just the latest.

      • 00maltliquor - May 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        But you know what, you can be a franchise changer and get the #1 pick right, but in the end will that pick even stick around?? Only Tim Duncan stuck around. That’s a real good look on Timmy’s part. Love his character.

    • spursareold - May 21, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      Spurs set a (then) NBA record with 270+ player games missed that season. I believe they were slotted for either the 4th or 5th pick, based on their record. Boston had the best odds with their two picks slotted at #3 and #6.

      • duhwighthoward - May 21, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        Shh… Spurs haters want to believe they tanked.

  2. 4thquartermagic - May 21, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    The idea that someone like Kobe could go 13 is mind boggling.
    I wonder, in this “YouTube/twitter” world we live in, if a story like that is even possible now.
    My guess is no.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 21, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      Back then taking a high schooler was considered a risky move.
      KG in 95 Kobe in 96 and the stigma was gone

      • 00maltliquor - May 21, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        Nailed it

      • duhwighthoward - May 21, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        Well, it’s been 18 years and there’s only been one player as good as Kobe straight out of high school since.

        Plus, if you look into it, there was much more to the story. Hardball tactics by him and his agent, refusing to workout for other teams and threatening not to sign with them if they drafted him.

    • sportsfan18 - May 21, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      And Kobe did NOT shoot out of the gates when he began his NBA career either…

      Here is how Kobe began his NBA career compared to another player who left right after high school…

      1st season PER

      Kobe 14.4 PER (below league average of 15)
      LeBron 18.3 PER

      2nd season PER

      Kobe 18.5 PER
      LBJ 25.7 PER

      3rd season PER

      Kobe 18.9 PER
      LBJ 28.1 PER

      Kobe’s career HIGH PER is only 28.0, which LBJ eclipsed in his 3rd season…

      Kobe has NEVER had a PER of 27 anything… other than one season (his 10th yr at 27 yrs old) at 28.0, he never got higher than 26.2

      In Kobe’s 18 seasons, he’s had a total of 3 seasons with a PER of 26 or higher…

      Durant, has eclipsed that 4 times in just 7 seasons… and he has eclipsed Kobe’s career high PER of 28.0 twice already…

      Oh, in LBJ’s 2nd NBA season, he shot .472% from the field… Kobe has NEVER, not even once shot a true 47% from the field in his career.

      He’s had some seasons that ROUNDED to 47% shooting from the field… where as LBJ so far has TEN seasons above 47% shooting from the field… or to put it another way, LBJ has shot ABOVE 47% EVERY year since his 2nd year and he has shot above 50% for the last 5 seasons with the last two years being OVER 55%.

      Kobe can’t even dream of shooting 50% from the field for a season…

      Did MJ? Check.

      Has Durant? Check.

      LBJ? check, check, check.

      D Wade? Yes, 3 times 50% or more from the field plus FOUR times at 49% or higher (meaning like .497%) Check

      He was a skinny, scrawny little kid just out of high school, not 6′ 8″ and 240 lbs like LBJ was coming out of high school…

      Folks new Kobe was good but most folks would NOT have said he was a sure fire all time great after he finished his senior year of high school…

      So yeah, I can see how he fell from #1…

    • antistratfordian - May 21, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      Kobe was bench material when he was drafted. 13 was fine. It’s not like he was drafted 13th and took the league by storm. He rode the pine for a few years.

    • 1historian - May 22, 2014 at 6:42 AM

      Don’t forget how Jerry West fiddled and diddled to get him – he saw something the others didn’t, and that’s why the Lakers were winners. A good GM spots a talent and turns away from it and no one else notices. That’s been true forever. That’s how the Celts got Bill Russell and Dave Cowens, both franchise changers.

      Organizations win championships, beginning with the GM, and Cleveland’s organization is a joke.

  3. kclanton80 - May 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    “The first is that it was somewhat fun to see Milwaukee and Philadelphia — two teams that sure seemed to be tanking games last season — not get rewarded.”

    Why is it rewarding to see teams that tanked not get rewarded? In most cases the only way to try and get better is to reduce the talent on you team and position yourself for higher picks. Superstars don’t just walk through the door in the nba and with the long term guaranteed contracts its the most difficult sport to built a contender. No stars equals no rings in the NBA.

    Being stuck as a 8-4 seed in the NBA is nothing but purgatory. You wont be bad enough to get a good pick and wont be good enough to win it all. Every top team in the league today got good by first being incredibly bad. OKC, Spurs, Miami, Clippers, Golden state and the list goes on. It’s foolish to think you can build a winning NBA franchise without getting a string of high draft picks then strategic free agent signings.

    • xmatt0926x - May 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      What kclanton said. Ten times over. The Sixers have spent many years getting “nice little players” in the draft with middling lottery picks. It doesn’t work. It gets you 35-41 wins a season and an early exit from the playoffs or yet another middling lottery pick.

      The NBA is a brutal league to try and rebuild in. You better have a great pick in the perfect year when the one or two franchise changing picks happen to be available.

    • 1historian - May 23, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      “Being stuck as a 8-4 seed in the NBA is nothing but purgatory.”

      Good point – what do you do about it? That’s where the GM comes in.

      2 years ago the Celtics (yes I’m a Celts’ fan) were kind of in that position – the big three were getting old and Coach Doc wanted to leave. Fast forward to today – they’ve got 2 1st round picks this year and for the next 4 years they’ll have them. By 2017 there’s a good possibility that Brooklyn will be in the lottery and the Celts will be back in the mix WHERE THEY BELONG (yes I’m a Celts’ fan) and they’ll have the Nets’ lottery pick.

      in 2007 Ainge engineered the greatest turnaround in NBA history – from 24-58 one season to NBA Champs the next.

      You have to have a GM with the moxie to make moves, the brains to evaluate talent and maybe spot something the others missed, and also important – an owner with sense enough to let you do your job without sticking your nose in where it’s not wanted (are you listening JJ?) and messing it up.

      Although I must admit I have enjoyed watching the pokes mess up for 18 years and counting.

      As the great Jerry Krause said – “Organizations win championships.”

  4. claymatthewshairplugs - May 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Kobe came out back when high schoolers were still “unknowns.” Jermaine O’ Neal came out that same draft. Lets not forget before Kobe there was only Garnett and Kemp if you count one year of JC as high school were the only games that came out. I don’t think many people realized how good Kobe would end up being and many teams I believed were scared off by the fact that Kobe had stated he wanted to play for the Lakers.

  5. earpaniac - May 21, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    I’m not a Spurs fan, but I thought it was something like that. Those were some good teams, even w/o Duncan.

  6. earpaniac - May 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I’m not a Bucks fan, but they didn’t “tank”. That roster was way too talented to be that bad. Not that they should be the Heat or anything, but you look at that roster on paper, they should’ve been .500 especially in the EC. Just hate to see them lumped in w/the ’76ers. Now THAT’S tanking.

  7. earpaniac - May 21, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    I’m not a Bucks fan, but they didn’t “tank”. You look at that roster on paper and they are way too talented to be that bad. I’m not saying they should’ve been challenging the Heat or anything, but that team should’ve been a .500 team, especially in the EC. I don’t think they deserve to be lumped in w/the ’76ers. Now THAT’S tanking.

  8. eagles512 - May 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Ray Allen a better pick than Iverson? That’s ridiculous.

    • 00maltliquor - May 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      I know right!? I found that to be the most blasphemous part of the article. That and Mason Plumlee being quite possibly the best pick of this current draft. There were a number of others as well.

    • bhunter1995 - May 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      There were two more bad ones, saying Marion was better then Brand is insane, Brand was a 20-10 guy in his rookie season and continued being a 20-10 guy for nine seasons, not to mention he great blocked shots numbers, its not his fault that he couldn’t elevate the Bulls franchise as soon as he came into the league, the Bulls were absolutely terrible in the 99-00 season aside from Brand, the only good player on the team. Also, who takes Stat over Yao? Sure in hindsight you take Stat but Yao, before the injuries was way better then Stat will ever be. Blake is a better foundation piece then Curry, so thats another misstep by the author, and the AI diss was unforgivable.

      • duhwighthoward - May 21, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        No, Marion had a better career than Brand. I watched Brand so many times live in his prime and he was a great player. If he never got injured, maybe things would be different.

        Anyways, you can’t fault the Bulls for drafting Brand before Marion because Brand had excelled at the highest stage, at Duke while Marion was balling up lesser competition on a relatively mediocre UNLV team.

      • 00maltliquor - May 21, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        You just named all the other ones I was implying when I said number of others as well. Also, Kwame Brown gives Olowakandi a good run for his money as biggest bust ever.

    • duhwighthoward - May 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

      I’d much rather have Ray Allen than Allen Iverson. Iverson had a better crossover, that’s it.

    • pantsfreezone - May 21, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      People love Allen Iverson and ignore the fact that he played no defense and couldn’t shoot. Prime Ray Allen was a superstar. People forget how good that Seattle team with Allen and Lewis was.

  9. bowden5000 - May 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    I have complete faith that Cleveland and Milwaukee will screw their picks up leaving the Sixers withe best of the top three. Maybe they can give Cleveland number one until Lebron retires … Fix won’t help. Lol

  10. 00maltliquor - May 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    This writer is high off his arse with some of his best player availables.

  11. arrondior - May 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Kobe, Nash, and Ray Allen could not carry a bad Team to the Finals. SORRY. Iverson was easily the best talent or on par with Iverson. Let’s also keep in mind that the Laker team that defeated the Sixers in the Finals that year is one of the 5 teams in league history. They swept the entire Western Conference. I honestly can think of only 3 teams in league history that could have been the Lakers that year.

    I often say the difference between Iverson and Kobe is that Kobe went to a team where there was clear leadership both in the way of players and the Coach (Phil was a master of managing egos). And the organization itself cared about winning and building a good team at all costs. The Sixers organization was the opposite. Iverson entered a locker room that got blown up the year after he arrived. He unfortunately became the leader when he was ill equipped. Larry Brown is a fantastic coach but didn’t really know how to deal with or relate to Iverson. And the organization saddled Iverson with laughable teammates during his prime.

    • arrondior - May 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      Or on par with Kobe*

    • antistratfordian - May 21, 2014 at 6:44 PM

      I’d take Iverson over Kobe in a heartbeat as long as everything else was equal – meaning that if Iverson was also going to have Phil Jackson and Shaq.

      • arrondior - May 22, 2014 at 9:41 AM

        Well I think there are a few coaches Iverson would have developed better under but I agree with the overall gist of your comment. I don’t want to put too much of the blame on coaching. Iverson DEFINITELY had some issues (which mostly has to do with him growing up in extreme poverty) that shouldn’t be ignored. But past his prime, when he actually had a decent team around him (the nuggets) suddenly he was shooting +45% from the field.

        I 100% agree with Larry Brown when he said that if Iverson could have swallowed his pride (basically listened to the League and toned his image down), he could have been the most popular player in league history. That alone would have kept him in the league.

  12. tomasekradek - May 21, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Allen better pick then Iverson? I must have eaten some shrooms

    • duhwighthoward - May 21, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      Well you know that Iverson never stopped wanting to play in the NBA, but no team wanted him. Yet Ray Allen continues to play.

      Why is that?

      • antistratfordian - May 21, 2014 at 7:35 PM

        Because Allen accepted being a bench player, something Allen Iverson would never do because he’s too competitive.

      • duhwighthoward - May 22, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        Ray Allen really didn’t come off the bench until last season. But Iverson has been out of the league for many years.

        If Iverson was so good, why wouldn’t teams start him?

  13. liamj55 - May 21, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    2013 – I would think you would have to say maybe Noel as well.

  14. mp4philly - May 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    No freaking way Ray Allen and Steve Nash were better picks than Iverson. Ray is a great shooter and Nash had a GREAT few years (Stole an MVP from Shaq).

    Even Kobe never carried a bad team past the first round. Iverson took a subpar team to the finals.

    List needs help.

    • duhwighthoward - May 21, 2014 at 6:52 PM

      Sounds like you’re a homer. Look dude, maybe you can explain all the things that Iverson did better Ray Allen.

  15. ptownbearsfan420 - May 21, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    I was with you up until the who was best available question in the 2012 draft… Uh Davis?? Excuse me but I do believe DAMIAN LILLARD was ROY the following year was he not?? Thought so!

    • duhwighthoward - May 21, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      They are both great players. Lillard had the better rookie year. Now Davis is better.

  16. 48colorrainbow - May 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    “In 1998, for instance, the Los Angeles Clippers had the No. 1 pick. The Dallas Mavericks traded for the No. 9 pick.

    The Clippers got Michael Olowokandi.

    The Mavs got Dirk Nowitzki.

    That Clippers team, with the third-worst record in the NBA, would have been WAY better off not getting the first pick.”

    Given how inept the Clippers were at the time, they would have probably botched the pick, regardless of where they selected.

    And forgive me for not remembering–how was Olowokandi regarded going into the draft? I seem to remember mention of his relative lack of basketball experience.

    • bhunter1995 - May 22, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Olowokandi had a really good college career, his senior year he averaged 22 and 11 with 3 BPG, I can see how the stats wooed the Clippers into drafting him but they should have seen his weaknesses as a player and gone safe with Vince Carter, or Paul Pierce.

  17. GT - May 21, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    How is the Kandi Man a bigger bust than Greg Oden?

    • spursareold - May 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      Because Olowokandi was never hurt? He just flat sucked.

    • nolanwiffle - May 21, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      Olowokandi gave the Clippers 5 seasons and averaged 10 points, 8 rebounds in 64 games per.
      Kwame Brown gave the Wizards 4 seasons of 8 points, 5 rebounds in 63 games per.

      Kwame Brown is the biggest bust thus far.
      Greg Oden (like Sam Bowie) had his career hampered by serious injury. I wouldn’t put him in the same category as Kandi Man and Kwame.

  18. seannymo - May 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I feel that this data mostly shows what a crapshoot drafts can be when there isn’t that stand-out franchise changer to go #1

  19. socalgal64 - May 21, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    The Nets didn’t go to the Finals in 2001 and 2002, they went in 2002 (swept by the Lakers) and 2003 (beat by the Spurs).

  20. authorphilpartington - May 22, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Kind of a weak assessment of player values, especially in the early 2000s and post that.

    Brand was a much better player than Marion. Marion’s numbers got stacked playing in the D’Antoni ‘no defense’ system where Nash was spoon-feeding teammates.

    2000 NBA Draft…Turkoglu was the best player? Or ahem maybe Michael Redd?

    In ’94, I actually would say Grant Hill was better than Kidd until he got hit with those injuries. He was a beast.

    Kawhi Leonard, I’m a bit skeptical of heralding Spurs role players as studs, simply because half of them couldn’t produce elsewhere. Popp is a great coach and that system gets so much out of players.

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