History of No. 14 draft picks less than stellar

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Maurice Lucas, center, was drafted with the No. 14 pick by the Chicago Bulls in 1974. It was the only time in history that the Bulls have had the 14th pick, and Lucas never ended up wearing the Red and Black. The Bulls were being outbid by the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis and Lucas headed out of Chicago just as quick as he came.

    Maurice Lucas, center, was drafted with the No. 14 pick by the Chicago Bulls in 1974. It was the only time in history that the Bulls have had the 14th pick, and Lucas never ended up wearing the Red and Black. The Bulls were being outbid by the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis and Lucas headed out of Chicago just as quick as he came. AP File Photo

 
 
Updated 6/18/2016 6:37 PM

A good player, a future NBA star, will be available when the Bulls make their choice in Thursday's NBA Draft.

But No. 14, which is where the Bulls pick this year, has been an unlucky number in past drafts.

 

Case in point: The Bulls had the 14th pick just once in team history and made a good choice, selecting Marquette power forward Maurice Lucas.

The problem is the Bulls were outbid by the ABA's short-lived Spirits of St. Louis and Lucas never wore the Red and Black. Imagine how helpful it would have been to have Lucas on the floor when the Bulls faced a seven-game Western Conference finals series against Golden State in 1975, or if he were with them instead of against them during their epic miniseries against Portland two years later.

Lucas, who died in 2010, was a three-time NBA all-star and one of the more overlooked stories of lost opportunities in Chicago sports. He landed in Portland in an ABA dispersal draft after the Bulls took 7-foot-2 center Artis Gilmore, who become a six-time NBA all-star and member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame after his stellar ABA career.

But it's not just the Bulls who messed up their No. 14 pick. There hasn't been an NBA all-star chosen at No. 14 since Sacramento took Peja Stojakovic in 1996.

The best No. 14 pick in NBA history was Clyde Drexler in 1983, but even that came with a catch. If some other teams showed more common sense -- like the Bulls, who took Sidney Green No. 5 that year -- Drexler wouldn't have been available at 14 and the Blazers probably would have taken Michael Jordan with the second pick the next year.

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OK, that one worked out well for the Bulls, but it did nothing to help the cause of the No. 14 pick.

Since 1970, there have been five all-stars chosen with the No. 14 selection (out of 46 players) -- Drexler, Lucas, Stojakovic, Tim Hardaway (1989) and Dan Majerle (1988). So based on history, the Bulls have a 10.9 percent chance of selecting a future all-star next Thursday.

There also have been plenty of busts at No. 14 -- Yinka Dare, William Avery, Mateen Cleaves and Rich King, the center from Nebraska, not the retiring sportscaster. All of them played fewer than 200 NBA games in their career.

Some other No. 14 picks are best known for things other than playing basketball, such as Kobe's dad, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant (1975) or former Kardashian husband Kris Humphries (2004). Alfredrick Hughes, the player who led Loyola of Chicago to its last NCAA Tournament appearance in 1985, was a No. 14 pick who didn't make much noise in the big leagues.

Obviously, there were good players selected after the No. 14 pick every year. So it's up to Gar Forman and John Paxson to break the string of poor choices.

The Bulls have several needs, so they'll probably head into the draft looking to take the best available player. They could use another point guard, maybe one who could eventually take over for Derrick Rose; an athletic wing player to either complement Jimmy Butler or replace him; and an athletic big man, with both Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol heading into free-agency.

Get the latest Bulls news via Twitter @McGrawDHBulls.

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