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Unhappy Returns

July 02, 2007
July 02, 2007

Table of Contents
July 2, 2007

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
Where Are They Now?
Baseball
Cycling
Soccer
  • Remaining undefeated under new coach Bob Bradley, the U.S. won the Gold Cup by beating archrival Mexico (yet again) in a match that served as a young midfielder's coming-out party

Track and Field
2007 NASCAR Midseason Report
Where Are They Now: Lost & Found
Life of Reilly
Departments

Unhappy Returns

Top NBA and NHL draft picks rarely lead their teams to titles

IT'S THE MOMENT every owner and G.M. dreams about: Choosing first in the draft. The NHL's Blackhawks basked in it last Friday when they chose winger Patrick Kane (story below). The NBA's Trail Blazers will revel in it this Thursday, when they use the top choice on, most likely, Ohio State's Greg Oden (above). But there's no guarantee the good feelings will last much beyond draft night. This breakdown of the last 20 top picks in each league shows how far each has taken the franchise that drafted him. A No. 1 pick will most likely take you to the playoffs, but a championship might be wishful thinking.

This is an article from the July 2, 2007 issue Original Layout

Never made playoffs
Elton Brand, Pervis Ellison, Michael Olowokandi, Joe Smith, Chris Webber

Won NBA Title
Tim Duncan, David Robinson

Lost NBA Finals
Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Kenyon Martin, Shaquille O'Neal

Lost conference finals
Glenn Robinson

Won a playoff series, never advanced to conference finals
Larry Johnson

Made playoffs, never won a series
Andrea Bargnani, Andrew Bogut, Kwame Brown, Derrick Coleman, Dwight Howard, Danny Manning, Yao Ming

NBA
5 2 4 1 1 7

Won Stanley Cup
Vincent Lecavalier, Mike Modano

Lost Stanley Cup
Ed Jovanovski, Chris Phillips

Won a playoff series, never advanced to conference finals
Joe Thornton

Made playoffs, never won a series
Sidney Crosby, Alexandre Daigle, Rick DiPietro, Marc-Andre Fleury, Roman Hamrlik, Ilya Kovalchuk, Owen Nolan, Mats Sundin, Pierre Turgeon

Never made playoffs
Bryan Berard, Erik Johnson,* Eric Lindros, Rick Nash, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrik Stefan

NHL
2 2 1 9 6

*Hasn't played in NHL yet

ILLUSTRATIONILLUSTRATION BY SLIM FILMSPHOTOHANS DERYK/REUTERS (ODEN)