A Brief History of Trading the No. 1 Pick
Early NBA Trades
1957: Hot Rod Hundley
The early NBA is a bit of a wilderness, so I want to move quickly through the first two instances of the first pick getting dealt.
The Minneapolis Lakers grabbed Hot Rod Hundley from the Rochester Royals (they would later become the Sacramento Kings, thus the logo above) with the first pick back in 1957. Hundley was a two-time All-Star who averaged 8.4 points per game.
Not exactly a strong endorsement. And no one would blame you for not knowing who the Kings got in return for trading the No. 1 pick.
Hundley finished fifth in win shares for his draft class. First was Red Auerbach’s selection of Sam Jones with the eighth pick. Only one other player had more than 10.0 win shares in their career.
Not exactly a strong draft.
1950: Chuck Share
This is another case of Red Auerbach knowing his talent and getting the guy he really wants. Auerbach is quite possibly the best manager in NBA history. But that is also probably a product of his and Celtics’ ownership’s seriousness about competing and winning in an era when the rest of the league was not as invested in that.
Auerbach once got the Celtics’ owner to promise to send the Ice Capades to St. Louis for an extra week to acquire Bill Russell in 1956 (or at least that is how the story goes, they got some good players in return for that second pick too). That is the kind of era of NBA basketball that we are talking about.
Here the Celtics again win the deal.
They acquired Sharman coming off a rookie year where he averaged 12.2 points per game. His team, the Washington Capitals, was dissolved after his rookie season and he went to the Pistons in the dispersal draft. That might be why the Pistons were OK parting with him.
Sharman would become an All-Star and a key part to the Celtics’ dynasty of the 1950s.
Share was an All-American in college, but struggled to find his footing in the NBA. He averaged 3.9 points per game his rookie year. He averaged 8.3 points per game for his career.
Mark another win for Auerbach and the Celtics.