Most Forgotten NBA Draft Lottery Picks of Last Decade

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The NBA season is not yet done, as the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics tip off the Finals starting Thursday. However, the 28 other teams are already moving on to the 2024-25 campaign. A big part of that takes place later this month with the NBA Draft, which will influence Arizona sportsbooks odds ahead of next season.

This year’s draft is not building a lot of buzz in terms of the talent available. Instead, the biggest storyline may be which team may select LeBron James' son. Oddsmakers at Betway Arizona have the Phoenix Suns as their second choice to take the younger James. Only the Los Angeles Lakers at +160 have shorter odds than the Suns’ +750.

So, it would not surprise us here at BetArizona if some of the players selected at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn end up in the lot of most forgotten lottery picks.

In preparation for this year’s NBA Draft, we wanted to know which recent lottery picks are the least remembered. To do this, we went to Sporcle.com and used their “Can you name the players taken in the lottery during the last 20 NBA drafts?” quiz as the basis for our research. While the quiz looks over 20 years, we’ve shortened that timeframe to the past decade for our most forgotten list.

Also of interest: Phoenix Suns Draft Picks 2024: Who Will They Select In NBA Draft?

Top 10 Most Forgotten Lottery Picks (Since 2014)

Overall Rank

Player

Draft Year

Draft Pick

Team

% Correct By Quiz Takers

1

Georgios Papagiannis

2016

13th 

Suns

22.9%

2

Dyson Daniels

2022

8th 

Pelicans

23.9%

3

Noah Vonleh

2014

9th 

Hornets

24.1%

4

Denzel Valentine

2016

14th 

Bulls

25.6%

5

Trey Lyles

2015

12th 

Jazz

27.2%

6

Nik Stauskas 

2014

8th 

Kings

27.6%

7

Thon Maker

2016

10th 

Bucks

27.7%

8

Doug McDermott

2014

11th 

Bulls

28.2%

9

T.J. Warren

2014

14th 

Suns

28.5%

10

Cameron Payne

2015

14th 

Thunder

29.3%

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Which Players Are Unfortunate Enough to Make The List?

As the list above shows, the term “lottery pick” is an apt one. Yes, it’s meant to designate the first 14 picks, which the NBA determines by a lottery to thwart tanking. However, a high pick doesn’t guarantee success. In some cases, teams wind up with a great or even serviceable player. Other times, they end up with a Georgios Papagiannis.

There’s a good chance many Suns fans don’t remember the 7-3 Greek center. Shortly after selecting him, Phoenix dealt him, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Skal Labissiere to the Sacramento Kings for Marquese Chriss, whom the Kings picked eighth earlier in the draft.

Papagiannis played just 39 games over two seasons, averaging 4.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. To be fair, he’s moved on to play in Europe, where he has done very well for himself. He was named to the All-EuroLeague second team in 2022 and played on three Greek League champion squads with Panathinaikos. 

Phoenix fared much better with the other player it selected on this list. T.J. Warren played his first five seasons with the Suns. Although he never played in more than 66 games, the 6-8 forward was an effective scorer. He finished second on the team with a 19.6 point per game average in 2017-18.

Is The Future Bright For Phoenix?

Although the 2024-25 NBA season won’t begin for another four months, wagering on futures for next season is already available at many Arizona sports betting operators.

Think Phoenix can win it all next season? BetArizona.com is your home for all Suns odds in the offseason.

USA Today photo by Kim Klement.

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Author

Steve Bittenbender

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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