With the NBA Draft just days away, it is time to learn some interesting facts about the highly anticipated event.
Before you decide to fall in love with the first 10 players of the draft, you must realize that some of them will be busts. Yes, all of these players have talent, but don’t forget that most of these guys are only 19 years old. The average age for a lottery pick in the 1990 NBA Draft was 22. Based off mock draft’s with this year’s prospects, the average age for a lottery pick will be 19.2. In fact, the last time a senior was drafted with the first overall pick was back in 2000, when Kenyon Martin was selected by the New Jersey Nets. From the University of Cincinnati, Martin was clearly the right choice in a draft full of scrubs. Many consider the 2000 NBA Draft one of the worst in the sport’s history. During this so called “one and done era”, meaning a player goes to school for a year before declaring for the draft, teams are now getting teenagers and expecting them to perform at the highest level.
Although it appears that the first two picks are the best players in the draft, it is far from accurate. Since 1995, only ONCE have the first two picks both made at least one NBA All Star Game. The one time was back in 1999 when Elton Brand and Steve Francis were picked to start the draft. What does this tell us? Only one of the two top picks ends up being good at the professional level. From 1995-2012, 12 first overall picks were All-Stars. From that same time period, the number two pick sent only five players to the All-Star Game.
PICK NUMBER ONe
In a span starting from 1979 and ending in 2013, only seven times has the first overall pick not made an All-Star Game. Interestingly enough, only one time during the 80s did this occur, in 1989 with Pervis Ellison. Could this be because the players stayed in college longer during this time? It is hard to argue because guys like Derrick Rose, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns, who all were “one and done” and picked first in their respected drafts, have had terrific careers in the association.
The First Pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, “The Chosen One”, Lebron James (Business Insider)
PICK #8 IS NOT SO GREAt
One of the least talked about modern day curses is the 8th overall pick in the NBA Draft. The last 8th pick to make an All Star team came from the 1993 Draft, when the Milwaukee Bucks drafted Vin Baker from the University of Hartford. Baker would go on to have a good career, in which he was a 4x All Star, and 2x All NBA. Since Baker, guys like DaSagana Diop, Rafael Araujo and Joe Alexander, have played key roles in keeping the 8th pick curse going. The New York Knicks currently hold the #8 selection in the upcoming draft, which means the curse will most likely continue.
From 2000-2013, there has been 18 All Stars who were selected between picks #20-60. Guys like Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan and Marc Gasol, have proven that it does not matter where you get picked. Like said before, all of these guys have talent, it is just a matter of making the most of your opportunity.
(left to right) Jimmy Butler, 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, and Draymond Green, 35th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, have both had amazing starts to their NBA careers.(NBA.com)
After looking at the past 14 drafts, one thing jumps out at me. Only a handful of players per draft actually end up being really good in this league. To prove this, I have taken each draft from 2003-2012 and listed the players who have made an All Star team and an All NBA Team. Under the Notables section are players who did not meet these qualifications, but have had decent careers thus far. Out of fairness, I have not included the 2013-2016 drafts because I wanted to give the players at least five years of NBA experience. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only one from those drafts who has made an All Star Team, as well as an All NBA Team. Guys like Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis and Devin Booker, have shown that they will soon be perennial All Stars.
The List: Players who have made an All Star Team and an ALL NBA TEAM (Draft Pick)
Lebron James (1)
Carmelo Anthony (3)
Chris Bosh (4)
Dwayne Wade (5)
Notable(s): David West (18) (2x All Star)
Dwight Howard (1)
Notable(s): Loul Deng (7) (2x All Star, 2011-2012 All Defensive), Andre Igoudala (9) (1x All Star, 2014-15 Finals MVP, 2x All Defensive)
Deron Williams (3)
Chris Paul (4)
David Lee (30)
Notable(s): Danny Granger (17) (1x All Star)
Lamarcus Aldridge (2)
Brandon Roy (6)
Rajon Rondo (21)
Kyle Lowry (24)
Notable(s): Rudy Gay (8) (18.4 career points per game), Paul Milsap (47) (4x All Star, 2015-16 All Defensive)
Kevin Durant (2)
Al Horford (3)
Joakim Noah (9)
Marc Gasol (48)
Derrick Rose (1)
Russell Westbrook (4)
Kevin Love (5)
DeAndre Jordan (35)
Notable(s): Brook Lopez (10) (1x All Star), Goran Dragic (45) (2014 All NBA)
Blake Griffin (1)
James Harden (3)
Stephen Curry (7)
Demar DeRozan (9)
Notable(s): Jeff Teague (19) (1x All Star)
John Wall (1)
Demarcus Cousins (5)
Paul George (10)
Notable(s): Gordon Hayward (9) (1x All Star), Hassan Whiteside (33) (2015-2016 All-Defensive, lead the NBA in rebounds with 14.1 per game in the 2016-2017 season)
Kyrie Irving (1)
Klay Thompson (11)
Kawhi Leonard (15)
Jimmy Butler (30)
Isaiah Thomas (60)
Notable(s): Kemba Walker (9) (1x All Star)
Anthony Davis (1)
Damian Lillard (6)
Andre Drummond (9)
Draymond Green (35)
Numbers never lie. It is clear that, on average, the NBA Draft produces about four really good players, a few decent ones, and the rest do not pan out. So what does this mean for the upcoming draft on June 22nd?
With the Celtics in control of the first overall pick, it will be interesting to see if they trade it for a star, or hold on to the pick and continue to gather up young talent in an effort to eventually lose to the Cavaliers. Of the Celtics last 40 draft picks, only one of them, Joe Johnson (10th pick in the 2001 draft), has ended up an All Star. Johnson was of course traded midway during his rookie season. In my mind, trading the pick for a current star would give them the best chance to win.
Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are touted as the top prospects in the draft, and will most likely be selected first and second. Will the curse continue in which only one of them makes an All Star game? Whose career will the Knicks ruin at #8? What sleeper(s) will continue the trend of the late pick stars?
If in fact Fultz and Ball are the first two picks, I believe Ball will have the better career. Assuming he goes to Los Angeles, Ball will be surrounded by a good young group of players that he will only make better because of his playmaking abilities. The fact that Fultz only won nine games at Washington is a tad concerning in my eye. The UCLA Bruins won 15 games in the 2015-16 season. Once Ball arrived, they turned into a 31-win team. UCLA also had the 33rd hardest schedule in the country, while Washington finished 77th in NCAA College Basketball Strength of Schedule. When comparing stats, Ball had a better field goal percentage, and more rebounds and assists per game than Fultz. Fultz is a better scorer than Ball, but in five games against UCLA, Arizona (2x), Oregon, Gonzaga, Fultz shot only 42%. Not being able to perform efficiently against top tier teams is definitely something to worry about.
Fultz vs. Ball. Who will have the better NBA career? (Complex.com)
As far as sleepers of the draft, keep a tab on Franklin Jackson. Jackson, who went to Duke, will most likely have four of his teammates drafted ahead of him. Jackson, who had the fastest shuttle run time among NBA Draft Combine participants, has a game similar to Russell Westbrook. While not considered traditional point guards, both are extremely athletic and are at their best when they drive to the hoop. Westbrook, who attended UCLA, averaged 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game in two seasons for the Bruins. This was done on 46.4% shooting. During his lone season as a Blue Devil, Jackson went for 10.9/2.5/1.7 on 47% shooting.
MY FOUR STARS OF THE DRAFT
Lonzo Ball- UCLA
Jayson Tatum- Duke
Luke Kennard- Duke
Bam Adebayo- Kentucky
Who are your four?
Featured image by NBA.com
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