The Lakers didn’t strike gold by landing the top pick in the NBA draft, but if past drafts are any indication, the seventh pick should yield a player who will be in the league for a long time.
Whether it’s Aaron Gordon, Noah VonLeh, Marcus Smart or another option, the seventh pick is likely to make the All-Rookie team, but like any player coming into the league, is a long shot to be one of the best ever.
Chris Mullin (1985), Bernard King (1977) and John Havlicek (1962) are the three No. 7 picks who have been inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in the 64 years of NBA drafts.
So immortality may be a reach, but the Lakers can expect a player who will make the team, remain in the league and possibly make an All-Star team.
Starting with Nene Hilario in 2002, every player taken with the seventh pick is still in the league, and seven of the 12 made the All-Rookie team. Two of them, Stephen Curry and Luol Deng, made All-Star teams, and 2007 No. 7 pick Corey Brewer won a title with the 2011 Mavericks.
Other notable picks in the seven slot include Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton (1999), who didn’t last with his original team in Washington, D.C. but made three All-Star teams and was a key member of the Detroit Pistons title team in 2004.
Antoine Walker (1996) made three All-Star teams with the Celtics and won a title with the Heat in 2006, while Luc Longley (1991) picked up three titles with the Bulls and Kevin Johnson (1987) made three All-Star teams while making the Phoenix Suns a solid playoff team in the early 1990s.
And then there’s the guy who was picked seventh in 1967 by the San Diego Rockets. He ended up winning a title as reserve with the Lakers in 1972 and later had as big of an influence on the league as anyone. The Rockets probably didn’t see that high of an upside when they took Pat Riley that year.