| The Detroit News
Picking at No. 7 in the NBA draft historically has been a good spot through the years. It’s the midpoint of the lottery and while there generally are some regrettable selections there, some good players also drop, and some others develop nicely into solid rotation players on their teams.
The Pistons are in that slot this season, with the draft approaching Wednesday. Because of the pandemic, the NBA has foregone many of the normal procedures, including the draft combine and may in-person team workouts. Given that, there could be some players who have been scouted less and slip down in the top 10 picks.
Among the No. 7 picks in the past decade, there haven’t been any All-Star selections, but the Nuggets’ Jamal Murray could be on the cusp, and if the Bulls can get healthy, any of the three No. 7 selections on their roster could make the jump.
Of those seventh selections this decade, six have made all-rookie teams, which shows some of the uncertainty at that spot. During that span, teams mostly have gone for big men and point guards at No. 7 and each has been a solid contributor.
Here’s a look at the No. 7 picks from the last decade:
2019: Coby White, Bulls
The Bulls added to their youth movement with one of the highly regarded point guards, with White’s size, speed and knack for attacking the rim. White had a very solid rookie season, posting 13.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists, and shooting 35% on 3-pointers. He only started one of 65 games, so the next step will be to see whether he can take on a bigger role or whether they need to keep looking for their lead guard.
2018: Wendell Carter Jr., Bulls
Injuries have been the biggest issue for the big man, who’s played just 87 of the Bulls’ 147 games. He had his best production last season with 11.3 points and 9.4 rebounds, averaging 29 minutes in 43 games of the shortened season. At 6-foot-9, he’s able to play some center and allow the Bulls to keep their young core of Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine together on the court.
2017: Lauri Markkanen, Timberwolves
Though Markkanen initially was drafted by Minnesota, he went to the Bulls on the draft-night deal that was headlined by Jimmy Butler and LaVine. Markkanen may be the best of their young prospects, averaging in double figures in each of his three seasons, including 18.7 points and nine rebounds and 36% on 3-pointers in 2018-19. At 7 feet, he’s become one of the prototypes for versatile big men who can function well in the paint and on the perimeter.
2016: Jamal Murray, Nuggets
During the bubble and playoffs, Murray had his biggest breakout, carrying the Nuggets to an upset over the Los Angeles Clippers on their way to the conference finals. Murray averaged 31.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists and a ridiculous 53% on 3-pointers in the first-round win over the Utah Jazz. Those numbers cooled a bit as the playoffs wore on, but he served notice that he’s one of the league’s best young players.
2015: Emmanuel Mudiay, Nuggets
Mudiay got a good try with the Nuggets but eventually was supplanted by Murray. Since 2018, he’s bounced to the Knicks and then the Jazz, where he started just two games last season and posted career-lows of 7.3 points and 2.1 assists. He signed for the free-agent minimum and it looks like he’ll be a journeyman unless he can find a better fit this offseason.
2014: Julius Randle, Lakers
Randle suffered a broken leg in his first game in the NBA and missed the rest of his rookie season, but his next three seasons with the Lakers were very good, averaging in double figures in each. He moved to the Pelicans, where he had his best season in 2018-19 with 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds and shot 34% from 3-point range, which set him up with a contract worth $62 million over three years with the Knicks.
2013: Ben McLemore, Kings
After four mediocre years to start his career in Sacramento, McLemore went to the Memphis Grizzlies before being traded back to the Kings. He’s found something of a home with the Houston Rockets, but he seemed reserved to being a role player rather than the breakout wing that he was projected to become after he left Kansas. He maybe had one of his best all-round seasons with Houston, with 10.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and shooting 40% from beyond the arc.
2012: Harrison Barnes, Warriors
Of all these picks, Barnes is probably the most accomplished and decorated, having won the NBA championship with the Warriors in 2015. Barnes was a big part of their core, but he left for the Dallas Mavericks in free agency in 2016 reached his peak there before being traded to the Sacramento Kings in 2019, where he signed a four-year deal worth $85 million.
2011: Bismack Biyombo, Kings
The big man from Congo has been with both variations of Charlotte, the Bobcats and Hornets. He was drafted by the Kings and dealt to the Bobcats in a three-team deal that involved Tobias Harris, Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston. He’s also had stops in Toronto and Orlando in his career but hasn’t averaged double figures in scoring yet. He finished a four-year deal worth $70 million and is a free agent.
2010: Greg Monroe, Pistons
Following a few good seasons with the Pistons to start his career, they let him go in favor of Andre Drummond as their building block. Monroe had stints in Milwaukee, Phoenix, Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia but didn’t play in the NBA last season. He was a solid big man and averaged a double-double with 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds in his last year in Detroit in 2015.