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Should the Miami Heat go for a top-5 draft pick or remain competitive?

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A list of recent NBA lottery talent doesn’t give a clear answer on how to beat the odds for a championship ring.

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Miami Heat fans have a vigorous debate on the direction their beloved team should take this season and thereafter.

A look at the recent top-5 picks in the NBA Drafts from 2008 to 2017 reveals very few championship rings among the selections.

A Decade of NBA Lottery Picks

YEAR PICK TEAM PLAYER TOTAL
YEAR PICK TEAM PLAYER TOTAL
2011 2 MIN Derrick Williams 6
2015 1 MIN Karl-Anthony Towns 6
2016 5 MIN Kris Dunn 6
2008 3 MIN O.J. Mayo 6
2009 5 MIN Ricky Rubio 6
2010 4 MIN Wesley Johnson 6
2014 1 CLE Andrew Wiggins 5
2013 1 CLE Anthony Bennett 5
2012 4 CLE Dion Waiters 5
2011 1 CLE Kyrie Irving 5
2011 4 CLE Tristan Thompson 5
2016 1 PHI Ben Simmons 5
2010 2 PHI Evan Turner 5
2015 3 PHI Jahlil Okafor 5
2014 3 PHI Joel Embiid 5
2017 1 PHI Markelle Fultz 5
2017 5 SAC De'Aaron Fox 4
2010 5 SAC DeMarcus Cousins 4
2012 5 SAC Thomas Robinson 4
2009 4 SAC Tyreke Evans 4
2016 2 LAL Brandon Ingram 3
2015 2 LAL D'Angelo Russell 3
2017 2 LAL Lonzo Ball 3
2014 4 ORL Aaron Gordon 3
2015 5 ORL Mario Hezonja 3
2013 2 ORL Victor Oladipo 3
2013 5 PHO Alex Len 3
2016 4 PHO Dragan Bender 3
2017 4 PHO Josh Jackson 3
2012 3 WAS Bradley Beal 3
2010 1 WAS John Wall 3
2013 3 WAS Otto Porter 3
2016 3 BOS Jaylen Brown 2
2017 3 BOS Jayson Tatum 2
2013 4 CHA Cody Zeller 2
2012 2 CHA Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2
2009 2 MEM Hasheem Thabeet 2
2008 5 MEM Kevin Love 2
2009 3 OKC James Harden 2
2008 4 OKC Russell Westbrook 2
2014 5 UTA Dante Exum 2
2011 3 UTA Enes Kanter 2
2008 1 CHI Derrick Rose 1
2009 1 LAC Blake Griffin 1
2008 2 MIA Michael Beasley 1
2014 2 MIL Jabari Parker 1
2010 3 NJN Derrick Favors 1
2012 1 NOH Anthony Davis 1
2015 4 NYK Kristaps Porzingis 1
2011 5 TOR Jonas Valanciunas 1

Of the 13 teams with multiple top-5 picks only one team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have any players with championship rings from the team that drafted them, i.e. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.

The Minnesota Timberwolves with 6, Philadelphia 76ers with 5, and Sacramento Kings with 4 picks each have yet to reach the NBA Finals in the last decade.

None of the players on teams with 3 picks each, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, or Washington Wizards have gone past their respective Conference Finals to see action in June.

The 50 players were each seen as top-5 talents in their respective draft classes, and some have notably achieved individual honors, such as All-Star status, in their careers.

For mysterious reasons the current crop of top-5 choices haven’t had the immense impact of prior selections such as Tim Duncan, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.

Recently the concept of “tanking” to get the best young available talent has had mixed results in delivering a championship trophy for the home fans.

Perhaps the 76ers will deliver the goods, but a legacy isn’t built on what a team is going to do – it only counts when they actually bring home the prize.

Eight teams got three or more top-5 picks from 2008 to 2017, yet the Cavaliers alone won a championship in that span, while this season they are projected to receive another type of reward with their sixth lottery pick.

In 2012 the immensely talented trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, which the Oklahoma City Thunder drafted out of college, lost to the Heat and each went their separate ways with various degrees of success.

Whether the Miami should continue on their path to provide entertaining teams for their fans, or adopt a “process” route doesn’t have a definitive answer.

Judging from the list of players in the table above, the chances of immediate results may be very slim for teams at the bottom, especially when they are so bad it would take more than one teenager to help his team reach the NBA Finals.