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Swaps at the top

Trades of No. 1 NBA picks full of history, consequence

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Posted: Tuesday June 29, 1999 11:06 PM

  Deft drafting: Cleveland picked Brad Daugherty in 1986 after acquiring the No. 1 pick in a pre-draft trade. Mike Powell/Allsport

By Desmond M. Wallace, CNN/SI

If Chicago trades the top pick prior to the start of Wednesday's NBA Draft, it would be the first time since 1986 that the No. 1 overall selection was traded before the start of the draft.

In 1986, Philadelphia traded the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft to Cleveland. That choice turned out to be North Carolina center Brad Daugherty.

The Sixers originally acquired the pick nearly seven years earlier from the Clippers for Joe Bryant, Kobe's father. Philadelphia then dealt the pick to Cleveland for Roy Hinson and cash.

Daugherty went on to have a solid NBA career, although it was eventually cut short by injuries.

The Cavs, however, have been burned before by trading the draft's top choice.

On Feb. 15, 1980, the Lakers dealt Don Ford and their first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Butch Lee and Cleveland's top pick.

Trading places
Pre-draft trades of the No. 1 pick
Year From To No. 1 Pick
Brad Daugherty
James Worthy
Joe Barry Carroll
Magic Johnson
Mychal Thompson
* Sixers acquired pick from Clippers
** Celtics acquired pick from Pistons

Cleveland finished with the NBA's worst record (15-67) during the 1981-82 season, giving Los Angeles the first pick of the 1982 draft.

The Lakers selected James Worthy at No. 1.

It would not be the first time that the Lakers would seemingly possess prescience with regard to the No. 1 pick.

On Aug. 5, 1976, the Lakers traded Gail Goodrich to the New Orleans Jazz in exchange for the top pick of the 1979 draft.

That choice turned out to be Magic Johnson.

On Sept. 6, 1979, Detroit traded its top pick of the 1980 draft to Boston. The day before the draft, the Celtics traded that top pick and the 13th pick to Golden State for the No. 3 pick and a player.

Boston's draft choice at No. 3? Class of 1999 Hall of Fame inductee Kevin McHale. The player? Robert Parish.

Related information
Statitudes: From the prom to the pros
Statitudes: Best NBA Drafts in history
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