By now, Thunder fans have memorized the NBA lottery ping-pong formula. They know by finishing with the league’s fourth-worst record last season, the Thunder has 119 ping-pong combinations, which means it has an 11.9-percent chance of winning the May 19 lottery.
What many fans fail to acknowledge, somewhat inexplicably, is that leaves an 88.1-percent chance the Thunder will not get the No. 1 pick. Barring a deal, there is an 88.1-percent chance Blake Griffin will not be on the Thunder’s roster next season. How’s that for being Thunderstruck? The quicker Thunder fans accept these odds, the better off they’ll be come draft day on June 25. Only twice in NBA history has a team with the No. 1 pick traded that selection. In 1986, Cleveland drafted North Carolina center Brad Daugherty in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers via Philadelphia. In 1993, Orlando drafted Michigan forward Chris Webber, then traded his rights to Golden State for No. 3 overall pick of Memphis State guard Anfernee Hardaway. This is the stubbornness the Thunder will face if it doesn’t win the lottery. Teams don’t give up the No. 1 pick easily, and when they do, the asking price is steep. Coming out of college, Webber and Hardaway were both remarkable talents and the best at their respective position. Yet the Warriors had to give up Hardaway and three future first-round draft picks to get the rights to Webber. That’s a hefty price tag, considering the value of those two players was fairly equal at the time. No one comes close to Griffin in terms of potential this year, which means the cost of getting the No. 1 pick figures to border on ridiculous — especially for the franchise located 23.19 miles away from where "The Terminator" played college ball. Thunder general manager Sam Presti will do what he can to obtain the No.
MORE FROM NEWSOK
Varsity Football Scores
No. 1 Trades
Only twice in NBA history has the No. 1 draft pick been traded in that year’s draft. →1986: The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted North Carolina center Brad Daugherty after a trade that sent forward Roy Hinson from Cleveland to Philadelphia. That same day (June 16), the 76ers also traded center Moses Malone, forward Terry Catledge and two first-round draft picks to Washington for center Jeff Ruland and forward Cliff Robinson. →1993: The Orlando Magic drafted Michigan forward Chris Webber at No. 1, then traded his rights to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Memphis State guard Anfernee Hardaway (the No. 3 pick that year), plus three future first-round choices.