Friday, April 20

A History of #5

With the Sonics slated to pick #5 in the draft, I thought I’d take a look at the last 20 #5 picks in the NBA Draft:

1. Shelden Williams (Inc.)
2. Raymond Felton (B)
3. Devin Harris (B)
4. Dwayne Wade (A+)
5. Nikoloz Tstchivilli (D)
6. Jason Richardson (B+)
7. Mike Miller (B)
8. Jonathan Bender (D)
9. Vince Carter (A)
10. Tony Battie (C+)
11. Ray Allen (A)
12. Kevin Garnett (A+)
13. Juwan Howard (B)
14. JR Rider (C)
15. LaPhonso Ellis (C+)
16. Steve Smith (B+)
17. Kendall Gill (B)
18. JR Reid (B-)
19. Mitch Richmond (A-)
20. Scottie Pippen (A+)

The grades in brackets are my own, non-scientific grading of each player. You can feel free to disagree with the rankings, and they’re not based on anything more than a cursory look at statistics and my own memory of the players.

It broke down like this:
A’s: 6
B’s: 8
C’s: 3
D’s: 2
Inc: 1

That’s pretty good, on the whole. It means in the past 20 drafts, the #5 pick has yielded a B or A type player 70% of the time. Plus, only two real duds fell to #5 (Nikoloz and Bender), meaning there was a 90% chance the player at least started some of the time and wasn’t a “what a f*&^ing waste!” kind of pick.

The next couple of months will bring more draft goodness, but I thought I’d start off by taking a look at the history. After all, when was the last time you thought about JR Reid?


Gold said...

Yi = Nikoloz.

Anonymous said...

Gabe, would you like a "jump to conclusions" matt? Yi could potentially be an impact guy in this draft. Just because you've never seen him doesn't mean he can't play.

Just sayin'.

But on the post, your grading is solid overall, but your calling Jonathon Bender a bust is not completely fair.

He was a very good young player when drafted and had horrible luck with injuries and bad knees. Had his career not derailed due to injuries, he would have been one of the better #5's on this list.

He shouldn't be a "D"-- if you are going with "grades" he should be a "N/A withdrawn from school."

Anonymous said...

I can see your argument, but I'm looking at it from the perspective of the team drafting the player. That is, what sort of return did they get from their pick? You're right, Bender COULD have been a much better player if he hadn't been injured, but unfortunately, it didn't happen. In the end, the Pacers were left with practically nothing to show for the #5 pick, which means, to me, it was a bust.

DSA said...

Really good post. It almost feels like a science when you see it all out there in black and white.

For the record: I loved watching JR Reid with NC as a kid.

There have been some brilliant picks at 5: Ray, Mitch, Wade. I would be thrilled with a Devin Harris type from this draft.

But I think your middling grades are far too generous.

Tony Battie is pure D territory.

JR Rider was a cancer to three teams. (But, it was a cool slam dunk contest.) D.

Kendall Gill is a C+ in my book-- for incessant complaining about not getting the rock (after signing for top dollar for miserable teams)-- and then getting into a boxing career.

I could keep going-- but my point is that it feels less surefire once you give things a little more scrutiny. For example, did you really want to trade your 5 for Olden Polynice. (Ouch!)

Maybe we could talk about the 1s, 2s, and 3s in the coming days? I am fired up. Give me Durant!

Anonymous said...

Understood 'Nuss. But I would counter with nearly seperate classifications-- "logic of pick vs. talent available" and "hindsight outcome."

Kind of like the arguments thrown around at USSM about the validity of a trade, i.e. the Reed pickup at the time was excellent, but the end result has been horrible.

In that dual format, which truly is the best way to rate moves, you get far more insight.

Which lends itself to a couple irratations of mine that are half off topic. 1) MJ was cut from his HS team. 2) MJ was the 3rd player chosen.

With regards to #1-- he was cut from the varsity as a sophomore, but played JV ball-- like most sophomores at large schools. It's not like he was cut from the program.

But re:#2-- the first overall pick ahead of Jordan was Hakeem, and if I was in Houston's spot, I'd probably draft the elite C ahead of the elite SG.

The other player taken before Jordan was the oft maligned Sam Bowie. This pick was a mistake at the time, but looked worse in hindsight as Bowie had substantial injury issues that shortened his career and sapped his potential.

But even so, the non-picking of Jordan is defendable. The Blazers had an elite SG already in Clyde "The Glyde" Drexler. What the Blazers could have netted in hindsight--some very solid players drafted in this order with some real dogs between them not listed- Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, Michael Cage, John Stockton and non-1st rounder Jerome Kersey.

And in this draft we are seeing this year, I have NO DOUBT that many players drafted outside the top 5 will go on to have long solid and even spectacular NBA careers. The 2nd round will be loaded with guys that in other years could very well be mid-1st-rounders.

Our key will be not only to get a strong 1st pick, but potentially reload with 2-3 NBA caliber players who can contribute immediately.

Hindsight is a strange thing, illuminating truth as fiction, and darkhorses as frontrunners. Let's hope whatever the Supes do, it can be graded well both in the moment, and down the road...

Gold said...

I didnt mean to imply that Yi will be as worthless of a pro as Tstchivilli is. However, I think he would be a massive reach at the 5 spot, and a gargantuan mistake for a sonics team that needs to put butts in seats and get competetive right now if they want to save the franchise. The Supes have taken a project three years in a row, and Horford/Noah/either Wright, even Brewer or Green to fill in for Rashard would be much more solid picks. It's not often that a team, and particularly this team, gets a top 5 pick. I think that the national media has the Sonics all over Yi because theyve been known to take international players before, and because seattle would be an "easy transition city" for an Asian player, neither of which are even remotely good reasons to make another raw upside pick. the sonics need to get tough, and play defense NOW, not potentially 4 years from now in oklahoma or vegas.

Unknown said...

Unless the Sonics can get Oden, I don't see why they would draft, yet, another center. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the Swift works out because that is all I've got.

If we stay at #5 there will be two excellent looking point guards available, Acie Earl and Mike Connely, Jr. I've seen more of Connely then I've see of Earl, so I lean that way. I love his speed and quickness and I'm thinking Chris Paul all over again. But I acknowledge it's a crapshoot to draft a freshman point guard. What do the rest of you know about Earl? As you can tell I've given up on Luke and Watson as anything more than a serviceable back-up.

Here's a couple of other ideas I have been floating around in my head for the #5 pick. Randy Brewer as a future replacement for Ray Ray. What do you think? Also, what do you think of trading Ray, Ray and one of the PGs to Cleveland for Larry Hughes (a suitable replacement that can play D) and Anderson V in a sign and trade. I think AV can deliver what Collison can on a good night, but on a consistent basis. And AV has a bit of attitude as well.

In the big picture, the current configuration has talent, but just doesn't gel as a team. The only way to fix that is to move some of the parts. Now that I'm way off topic, I'll shut up and wait for your input.

Anonymous said...

Harry, I like your creativity, but disagree with your construct ideas.

I think Ridnour's problems are as much an issue with the coach than his ability. I still see him as a poor man's Steve Nash, but with the wrong roster construct and philosophy around him.

If you trade Ray Ray, you better get more than Larry Hughes and AV. You saw a "good night" Hughes today, and his bad nights are simply ugly... and our 3 headed young post monster has the potential to develop to a point equal to if not superior to AV.

You actually are referring to Corey Brewer, Ronnie was drafted last year out of Arkansas, and Randy Brewer-- not sure who he is.

But Corey is a not a great shooter, and is a small forward. In fact, on some levels, he is a cross between Scotty Pippen and Larry Hughes, and may end up being a lock-down defender with a decent "O" game, or a complete bust that never develops since he refuses to use his left hand.

Conley is intriguing, and Acie Law is a solid player that will be ready to play immediately, but may never be anything more than an average starter at best. He is not "NBA quick" and will struggle to match up defensively, perhaps even more so than Ridnour.

If we draft either PG, we need to move (please!) Watson and split time with Ridnour. If we do trade RayRay, that will mean we don't win the lotto-- if we do, we make the run with RayRay and Oden.

If Rashard leaves, hopefully it is in a sign and trade so we at least get a draft pick out of it... but that issue is looming and makes Brewer/Green a logical if weak choice.

I just hate the way the Sonics have played everything out... NOT trading Rashard for the stretch run when there was value and interest. NOT tanking late in the season. NOT playing the young centers they drafted even in a rebuilding year. NOT giving either PG confidence and making both look over their shoulder every time they make a mistake.

This offseason, between Rashard, the lotto, aging RayRay and the whole "Seattle/OKCity" issue, is the most pivotal in team history. A series of wrong moves (and luck) and the team will be doomed to years of mediocrity, most likely in OK City. The right moves (and luck) and we have a new title contender and a new permenant home in the works.

Gold said...

I think that the most productive thing that could happen for the Sonics is to get rid of Sund immediately, and to hand over the keys to a new GM (RC Buford??) with a clean slate and a green light. Coaching and the impending move are important, but smart moves could be made by this team objectively whether or not the move happens. Someone without investment in the franchise needs to look at it with fresh eyes and decide what works. Watson should be gone, we should see what we could get for Petro, and there's no way that Sund gets a sign and trade for Rashard because the other GMs know what an inactive pussy he is. Rashard is great, but there's something to be said for moving in a 3 that can play some D. I think that there could be a market for Ray with the Celts (if they get KD or Oden), Bulls (if they lose early and dont feel he's redundant with Gordon), and a number of other teams. Lets hope we dont need to have this discussion because May 22nd goes our way.

LotharBot said...

I'm pretty sure the sucky guy who played for the Nuggets spells his name Tskitishvili

Anonymous said...

Not only did the Pacers get very little out of that #5 pick, but they also traded Antonio Davis to the Raptors in exchange for it.