Draft Lottery Oberservations

Déjà Vu

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Following Thursday’s lottery, the top three picks belong to Los Angeles, Chicago and Minnesota. If this sounds familiar, then you get an ‘A’ in WNBA history today. Back in 2008, the Sparks won the Draft Lottery to secure the No. 1 pick in the Draft, with the Sky and Lynx rounding out the top three. Those picks were used to select Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles and Candice Wiggins, respectively.

This year’s fourth pick belongs to the Shock, which also brings us back to 2008. While the Atlanta Dream were originally awarded the fourth selection in the Draft Lottery, the pick eventually landed in the hands of the Detroit Shock after a brief stay in Seattle. So, if no trades occur from now until April, the top four picks in the 2012 Draft will be made in the same order as they were four years prior.

A Trio of No. 1s

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This year’s WNBA Finals featured four No. 1 overall picks – Seimone Augustus (‘06), Lindsey Harding (’07), Angel McCoughtry (’09) and Maya Moore (’11) – with two players on each team.

The title of most No. 1 draft picks on one team will now below to Los Angeles, which will hold three No. 1 picks as their 2012 pick will join Candace Parker (’08) and Tina Thompson (’97, by Houston) in purple and gold.

In case you were wondering, the Seattle Storm also have two former No. 1 picks with Lauren Jackson (’01) and Sue Bird (’02) taken in back-to-back years.

Put it in Reverse

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Not only did the Sparks beat the odds by winning the 2012 WNBA Draft Lottery, so did the Sky and Lynx. Had the odds held up, the draft order would have been Tulsa, Minnesota, Chicago and Los Angeles.

As it turned out, the exact opposite happened on Thursday, with L.A. (104 chances out of 1,000) winning the lottery, followed by Chicago (178), Minnesota (276) and Tulsa (442).

This is only the second time in the history of the Draft Lottery that a team won the lottery with the smallest odds to win. The first time it happened was in 2007, when the Phoenix Mercury won the top pick in the draft despite only having a 2.5 percent chance to win. They used the pick to select Lindsey Harding, who became the first and only No. 1 pick traded on Draft Day, as the Mercury sent her to Minnesota in exchanged for Tangela Smith.

For more basketball in reverse, check out this game from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

A Continuing Trend?

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While you’d think that going No. 1 overall in the draft would make a player the favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors, that has not always been the case in the WNBA. At least not until recently.

In the first 10 years of the league, only three players that were selected No. 1 overall went on to be named the top rookie – Chamique Holdsclaw (’99), Diana Taurasi (’04) and Seimone Augustus (’06).

But beginning with Candace Parker in 2008, a new trend emerged, as the last four players selected with the No. 1 pick win on to win Rookie of the Year – Parker (’08), Angel McCoughtry (’09), Tina Charles (’10) and Maya Moore (’11).

Will this trend continue in 2012? The Sparks sure hope so.