Wednesday, June 11

Picking for the Future

With the Finals upon us, and the NBA Draft weeks away, I thought it would be interesting to combine those two activities into one piece of information. Listed below are the players with noticeable playing time during the playoffs for both teams, followed by where they were selected in the draft.

Garnett, 5
R. Allen, 5
Perkins, 27
Posey, 18
Brown, 29
POWE, 49
Cassell, 24
House, 37
T. ALLEN, 25

Gasol, 3
Odom, 4
Radmanovic, 12

That’s a total of 21 players, and only four of them were picked in the top ten of the draft. Also of note, six of the Lakers’ 10 players are home-grown, while only five of the Celtics’ 12 players came via a Boston draft (and, it should be noted, Andrew Bynum is nowhere on that list; the 10th overall selection was picked by LA in 2005).

What does all of that matter, though? Well, one point in particular may be derived: The majority of a team’s roster comes by way of either the bottom of the first or the second rounds. True, you’re not going anywhere without a superstar, but a superstar alone does not a champion make. Give some bonus points to Mitch Kupchak for finding people like Vujacic and Walton long after other teams bypassed them.

With the Sonics holding four second-round picks this season, in addition to dual first-rounders, it is crucial for the future of this franchise that Sam Presti find at least one player who can contribute to the team’s on-court success, other than what he finds with the #4 overall selection. It’s unfortunate that the Sonics need so much help at so many positions at this time, but that is the messy bed in which Presti is awakening. Personally, I can’t fathom why the Sonics would want someone like Roy Hibbert with the second of their two first-rounders, and the idea that Jeff Green’s talents would improve by having his old friend around is laughable.

At that point in the draft, you come up with one of two players: the Wayne Simiens of the world and the Luke Waltons. For Presti’s sake, for Seattle let’s hope he finds more like the latter (Courtney Lee, please!) than the former.


Eric Reynolds said...

So, the guys in all-caps are perceived overachievers, relative to their draft position. Kobe's a skewed example, because if he had to play a year of college he would have been top ten easy. But the point is well made. My question, which I think you are getting at, is how much of this overachievement is scouting at the time of the draft, how much is coaching/development once they reach the NBA? The Laker guys who have overachieved all have come of age under Jackson, unless I'm forgetting something. The other guys (Gasol, Odom, Radman) developed under other coaches. Coincidence?

My point being, I realize that it's a combo of scouting and coaching that matters, and I have a decent amount of faith in Presti. But I have little faith that once Presti works his draft-day magic, Carlisimo is making them better players. Durant improved during a lousy season, I'll give PJ that, but he doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

We should've hired someone like Rick Carlisle last offseason.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the guys in all-caps were the ones drafted by their respective teams. I should have pointed that out somewhere in the article.

As to your other point, I agree 100%. Dizzy Dean is famous for saying that "you can't take an old mule and win the Kentucky Derby" no matter how much you practice him. Likewise, with the exception of exceptional people like Kevin Durant, it doesn't matter how well Presti drafts if the man in charge of coaching those players is incompetent. Good point, Eric.

Anonymous said...

Surely, the Sonics are going to trade away some of those second round choices. I expect them to trade up either the #4 or the #24 or both.

Could they trade the #24 plus a couple of second rounders to get Lopez and Bayless?