Odds are that the Portland Trailblazers, winners of this year's draft lottery, will use the top pick to take Ohio State big man Greg Oden. How have past No. 1 picks worked out since the league instituted the lottery in 1985? Here's one interested observer's ranking. What do you think?
1. Shaquille O'Neal, 1992: Four rings, countless careers made, Hall of Fame plaques buffed for Phil Jackson and -- soon -- Pat Riley. From the time he entered the league until this season, all but five NBA titles have been won by Shaq or the team that eliminated Shaq.
2. Tim Duncan, 1997: Three titles and a fourth likely on the way.
3. LeBron James, 2003: He's scored more than 8,000 points, handed out more than 2,000 assists and grabbed more than 2,000 rebounds, all before the age of 23.
4. Allen Iverson 1996: He may never win a title, but the player with the third-highest career scoring average in NBA history was instrumental in helping the NBA make the transition from old school to new school, with all its pluses and minuses.
5. Patrick Ewing, 1985: Never won the title he famously promised year after year, but he made the Knicks relevant again and a title contender while also helping generate some of the most memorable rivalries in league history.
6. David Robinson, 1987: OK, he needed Duncan to come along before he could finally win a ring, but the onetime MVP averaged 21 points, 10.6 rebounds and blocked more than 2 shots a game in the course of a 14-year career.
7. Chris Webber, 1993: Yes, he's been moody. Yes, he hasn't been great in the clutch. But he may be the best passing big man of his generation, which went a long way toward transforming the Kings from NBA backwater to title contender.
8. Dwight Howard, 2004: After shooting better than 60 percent, scoring almost 18 points a night and grabbing more than 12 boards a game for the second consecutive season, the 22-year-old Howard is only giving a glimpse of the NBA's next dominant big man.
9. Elton Brand, 1999: How a guy who averages better than 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks per game can play in only one All-Star Game is a mystery. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he's only led a team to the playoffs once in his career.
10. Yao Ming, 2002: After enduring seemingly endless Chinese national team duty for the first few years of his career, Yao has only recently demonstrated the kind of dominant play the Rockets envisioned when they drafted him.
11. Brad Daugherty, 1986: His eight years of service and relatively unathletic frame belied one of the league's most underrated centers, one who averaged 19 points and almost 10 rebounds a night.
12. Derrick Coleman, 1990: Did you know that DC averaged more than 16 points, 9 rebounds, almost 3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game for his career? Think about how much better those stats could have been if Coleman actually cared about playing.
13. Larry Johnson, 1991: Though a back injury robbed LJ of what he could have been, Johnson quietly transformed himself from low-post pillar to perimeter threat in his later years, extending his useful life as a player despite the fact the he could barely jump.
14. Andrea Bargnani, 2006: As last year's draft prize demonstrated in the playoffs, he already has the perimeter game under control. With a summer of workouts and more playing time, you'll see he has plenty of inside game, too.
15. Kenyon Martin, 2000: After his second microfracture knee surgery, his career is in serious doubt, but when he was healthy, his defense, low-post scoring and rebounding were key to sending the Nets to two straight NBA Finals.
16. Andrew Bogut, 2005: Handed the starting center job in his second season, Bogut didn't disappoint, but he didn't impress. And if a club is going to select you over Deron Williams or Chris Paul, you have to impress.
17. Glenn Robinson, 1994: The Big Dog may have dogged it on defense, but the former Boilermaker brought the goods on the offensive end, averaging among the more empty 20.7 points per game you'd likely see.
18. Joe Smith, 1995: Has he been the superstar most expect a No. 1 to be? No. But he's been a quietly productive power forward for 12 years, which is a lot more than you can say about the fellows who follow on this list.
19. Danny Manning, 1988: It wasn't as if Manning couldn't play -- he averaged almost 21 points, 8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per 40 minutes of play; it's that he also averaged only 58 games a year.
20. Pervis Ellison, 1989: There's a reason that in 11 seasons, Never Nervous Pervis played for four teams, only one of which reached the playoffs.
21. Michael Olowokandi, 1998: When you're 7-feet, shouldn't you get more than 6.8 rebounds a game? When you're 7-feet, shouldn't you average more than 9.8 points a game more than twice in a career? When you are this big a bust, should you be allowed to make more than $37 million. Life isn't fair.
22. Kwame Brown, 2001: How many supposed franchise players do you know who make more headlines for allegedly throwing a birthday cake at a man on the street in the wee hours than for anything he's done on the court in six seasons?