A history of NBA No. 1 draft choices who were traded

Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz (20) Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz (20) Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Joe Barry Carroll NBA Draft
Joe Barry Carroll at Purdue. File/Journal & Courier /

1957: Hot Rod Hundley goes No. 1 and sent to Lakers

The Lakers are one of the most successful franchises in NBA history but, somehow, they always seem to manage to pick up players drafted No. 1 or close to it.

The Rochester Royals were moving to Cincinnati in 1957, so they were hoping to make a big splash in the Queen City, and not looking to develop young players.

The Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), had the No. 1 pick in the 1957 draft and took high-scoring guard Hot Rod Hundley out of West Virginia. Hundley scored over 2,000 points in his career with the Mountaneers, and had 54 points against Furman as a senior.

But it was dribbling skills that got most noticed. He amazed fans by being able to dribble behind his back, that gave him the nickname ‘Hot Rod’.

In what would be now called a draft night trade (communications were not quite as fast back then), Hundley was packaged, along with four other players to the Lakers for center Clyde Lovellette and guard Jim Paxson (whose sons John and Jim Jr. would go on to play in the NBA).


Lovellette averaged 23.4 but played just one season for the Royals before being traded to the Hawks for a nice haul. The Royals only won two more games than the year before.

Hundley played six seasons with the Lakers (the last three in Los Angeles) before knee problems forced him to retire. He did make the All-Star team twice and helped the Lakers make the NBA finals three times (1959, ’62, 63).

Both teams got players who helped them.

However, for whatever reason, another trade for the No. 1 pick in the draft would not occur for 23 years.

1980: Celtics fleece Warriors in No. 1 trade (heist)

The Detroit Pistons actually had the worst record in the NBA in 1980, but coach/GM Dick Vitale had traded the rights to their first round pick back in September, to the Celtics, as part of the disastrous Bob McAdoo trade.

So here is that guy, Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics, popping up again. Larry Bird had joined the team the year before, but the Celtics  lost in the Eastern finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, who had big Darryl Dawkins and Caldwell Jones as centers.

light. Related Story. Dick Vitale and the worst team in Detroit Pistons history

The Warriors had a pretty bad season a well (24-48), and were going to draft third. They also wanted to go away from their center, Robert Parish, as it was quite obvious he would never lead a team to anything.

The talent evaluation by Golden State was so cataclysmic, we are not even going to break it down. Just look:



Not only did the Warriors trade away Robert Parish but they picked Joe Barry Carroll over Kevin McHale in the draft. Parish and McHale would combine with Bird to bring three NBA championships to Boston and, later on, enter the Hall of Fame.

Carroll had been a big star in college at Purdue, but his motor was always questioned. He had so much talent, he could dominate games with ease, and he did. That is why he was referred to as ‘Joe Barely Cares’, as he was so effortless in his play.

Carroll was not bad with Golden State. He averaged 20.4 points a game in seven seasons there, but the Warriors only made the playoffs once during that time. Brown was a backup center for Golden State for a few seasons and his career was over after five years.

Following the trade to get the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Warriors would not get past the second round of the playoffs for 35 years.