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Overvaluing the #1 pick

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by jopatmc, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    Here's some more interesting facts about #1 overall picks


    Since 1970, only 10 overall #1 picks have won a championship.
    (Bill Walton, Mychal Thompson, Magic Johnson, Mark Aguirre, James Worthy, Hakeem, David Robinson, Shaq, Duncan, Lebron) That's less than 25% of the #1 overall picks have won a ring.

    Of those 10 overall #1 picks that won a championship, only 6 of them could be considered the best player on their team that won a championship.
    (Bill Walton-Blazers, Magic Johnson, Hakeem, Shaq, Duncan, Lebron)

    Of those 10, 5 of them played with at least one other #1 overall pick. (Mychal Thompson actually played off the bench with Magic, Kareem, and Worthy. Duncan and Robinson teamed up.)

    At least 10 of the #1 overall picks since 1970 have to be considered busts. (The same number that won championships.) And another 5 or so would have be be considered mediocre or pedestrian.

    Of all the #1 overall picks in the NBA since 1970, only 9 are in the Naismith Hall-of-Fame with another 6 players that will probably make it at some point. That's a total of 15 players with hall of fame careers since 1970. Around 35%.



    It does no good to just get the #1 overall pick. You've got to get the #1 pick the right year. The year Magic was drafted, no question, get the #1 overall pick. The year Lebron was picked, no question, get the #1 pick. Could both of those guys have busted. Yes, but the odds were very small with their skillsets.

    It's a crapshoot at best. So, if you're gonna play bad and "tank" to get a guy like Andrew Wiggins, you'd better be really bad, and you'd better make other trades to give you multiple lottery chances in the 2014 draft. Wiggins, in my opinion, is the same class of player as guys like lebron and magic. I didn't say he was that good. I said he is in the same class of player.

    My point: "Tanking" by itself doesn't get the job done. You've got to tank while controlling some of the other lottery team's lottery picks. (I'm pretty sure this is how Morey is viewing our future. He's trying to figure out how to leverage into the 2014 draft and have control of multiple lottery picks.)
     
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  2. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
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    But unfortunately Toronto's pick, if by some miracle it does not hit lottery this year and instead is in 2014 (or 2015... I'm not sure if Wiggins is definitely eligible for 2014 yet), can't get you the #1 pick. And I don't see any collection of players/picks tempting a team to trade that #1 pick.

    I'm not sure teams will trade unprotected picks in that draft. Hardly anyone does these days anyway, unless some major salary is taken on (like the Cavs taking on Baron Davis for the Clippers pick that ended up winning the lottery and netting the Cavs Kyrie Irving).
     
  3. Raven

    Raven Member

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    I'd rather have number one instead of number fourteen. If the Rox are missing the playoffs, let them miss by a wide enough margin to have shot at winning the top pick. That's true for both 2013 and 1014.

    See my Sig.
     
  4. CDrex

    CDrex Contributing Member

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    While I don't see tanking as an automatic winner like some here do, I think that's a pretty big oversimplification. The difference between #1 and our famous #14 over the stretch from the start of the lottery to the point where we can call a guy's career "complete" (say, '85-'02) has the following
    top guys (first pick): Ewing, Robinson, Shaq, Webber, Iverson, Duncan, Yao, Brand
    top guys (fourth pick): Mutombo, Rasheed, Sam Perkins, Odom, Rice || scrubs
    top guys (14th pick): Peja, Majerle, Tim Hardaway || scrubs

    In that stretch, the average career trajectory of each pick:
    #1: Chris Webber
    #2: Armen Gilliam
    #3: Shareef Abdur-Rahim
    #4: Stephon Marbury
    #5: Mitch Richmond
    #6: Joe Kleine
    #7: Tim Thomas
    #8: Larry Hughes
    #9: Clarence Weatherspoon
    #10: Erick Dampier
    #11: Bonzi Wells
    #12: Michael Doleac
    #13: Jay Humphries
    #14: Malik Sealy

    The average career performance for each pick in that stretch, normalized to that of #1:
    [​IMG]

    Overall, I'd kind of say ALL picks are overrated in terms of turning a franchise around. But #1 is less overrated than most, to me. Also, don't pick 6th. ;)

    And yeah, I did this crap just for kicks last year, been meaning to write it up in a CF-friendly format forever but haven't gotten around to it.
     
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  5. roslolian

    roslolian Rockets Only Fan

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    Jopat you're also missing the more important fact, getting the talent is just half of the equation, you need to have the supporting cast as well if you wanna keep that talent you drafted.

    I'm sure Cleveland thought their troubles were over when LBJ started tearing it up, or Orlando thought they were set when Howard/Shaq arrived, but look at them now starting from square 1.

    This is the problem with tanking: if you wanna tank, you gotta have a crap team and dumbass GM. But if you have a crap team and a dumbass GM, then your number 1 pick will leave you ASAP for the Lakers, South Beach or NY.

    People here orgasm about the OKC but remember they got the number 2 pick because they sucked for like 4 years as the Seattle Supersonics, their old GM kept getting these 7 foot busts like Saer Sene and Robert Swift year after year. And then after their new GM cleaned house they still spent another 5 years collecting top 10 picks. So all in all that's like a decade of waiting around for KD to come along.

    I mean, just look at Cleveland, team got gifted with a legit franchise player, and then they surround him with Tyrus Thompson and that SG who has no NBA skill apart from driving to the basket. In 5 years we might be seeing the Decision part 2, when Irving leaves Cleveland because they're going nowhere and goes to LA to play with Howard and the newly traded for Shabuzz Mohammed.
     
  6. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    Great stuff.

    The draft is a crap shoot. The lower your draft position is, the crappier is your crap shoot. So the #1 it's not overrated in that sense, compared to the lower picks.

    And free agency is also a crap shoot, if you haven't noticed. So is trading. So yeah, landing a bona fide franchise player who can lead you to championship takes a LOT of LUCK.

    You just want a GM who doesn't screw up when the luck comes.
     
  7. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    If we're gonna play for the 2014 lottery, we gotta play now or by the draft this next season. In other words, you gotta get teams to make deals for our talent and picks. For instance, if we go to the lottery this season, we may be able to peddle our lottery pick plus another youngster for an unconditional lottery pick in 2014. And we may be able to peddle Toronto's pick plus another young talent for and unconditional 2014 pick or at least the right to swap picks (similar to the McGrady/Knicks deal) in the 2014 pick.

    For Morey to really be serious about trying to get Wiggins, he's gonna have to make several trades that give us a series of pick swap rights over several possible lottery teams or he's gonna flat out have to give up some of our young talent along with our picks to get a team to trade us their pick unprotected. The Toronto pick along with the Dallas pick (a possible future unprotected pick) plus some of our youngsters might get it done.
     
  8. bongman

    bongman Member

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    You might have missed another important factor in the equation. You will also need to keep that player (not losing to free agency or traded demands) in your team long enough to win a championship. Mychal Thompson, Mark Aguirre, Shaq and Lebron did not win it with the team that drafted them.
     
  9. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    That is very true.

    Mychal Thompson was over the hill. Just a real good bench/6th man player on the team he won a ring with.

    Shaq....Orlando...what can you say? I have to put that one on Orlando for being so crummy in the front office.

    Aguirre wasn't the primary player on those Pistons teams..although a very important piece. He kinda forced his way to Detroit to play with his buddy.

    Lebron...well, that's the #1, #4, and #5 players on that team. Perhaps........................Morey is following this model???? Could work in a deep draft. That 2003 draft was a huge haul for the NBA. Unique draft. Unique free agent situation. Those players made it happen. But an interesting model to say the least.


    I want CZeller and AWiggins.
     
  10. amaru

    amaru Member

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    It beats the hell out of #14 three years running...
     
  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy SPECIAL MASTER
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    Just take the best player on the board and you're good. Get the pick right. Not the next guys fault people screwed up the pick historically.
     
  12. MambaJoe

    MambaJoe Member

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    The question is, how bad do Morey wants Wiggins? Would Morey try to go after Wiggins or swing around for an establish 2nd tier star in the league...
     
  13. dback816

    dback816 Member

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    It makes no sense to call #1 picks overvalued. Those guys go for #1 for a reason.

    The averages for the lower picks are even worse in comparison.
     
  14. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    That might not be a true statement.


    Signed

    Larry Bird
    Kobe Bryant
    Dirk Nowitzki
    Kevin Garnett
    DWade
    Kevin Durant
    Michael Jordan
    Isiah Thomas
    Bill Russell
    ..........and others
     
  15. iconoclastic

    iconoclastic Member

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    The #1 pick is not overvalued if you compare it to the value of the #2 pick, #3 pick, #4 pick, and so on separately.
     
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  16. oakdogg

    oakdogg Contributing Member

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    I think high school players who came out like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett and even Kwame Brown skew the whole analysis. Had they played a year of college like they would now, their draft placement might have been completely different. Also, I wonder if the improved foreign scouting of today would similarly change the placement of a Dirk Nowitzki. I agree though that the draft is not a sure thing and there is definitely luck involved obviously.
     
  17. emjohn

    emjohn Contributing Member

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    Land two picks in the top 6 and your odds are fantastic in improving significantly.

    I'm sorry, but it's plain and simple - Morey has busted trying to rebuild via trade and FA the past 3-4 years. Flat busted. Don't look me in the eye and try and say that we need to stay the course. If Les relents, there's no justification for anything other than a youth movement.

    Let the rookie contracts pile up. In a hardening cap environment, you can have all you want and not sniff the luxury tax. You can absorb someone's bad contract for a protected pick. If guys don't pan out, ditch them after year 3. Beats overpaying a vet and not being able to dump the deal for 4-5 years.

    There's no easy quick road back to relevancy. So do the right thing and mine the draft with multiple picks. Going in with a single first rounder is a crap shot. Going in with a couple good lottery picks? That's easy money.
     
  18. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    This. I don't see a scenario in which a team is going to give the Rockets their pick without a protection if Wiggins is on the table, if he's so good in the first place.

    As for the value of the #1 pick, also keep in mind there's some natural market forces that correct the value of the pick for the strength of that draft. In weak drafts, lottery picks are cheaper to trade for. The #1 pick in the Kenyon Martin draft could have been had for a good asset, whereas the #1 pick in the Lebron James draft couldn't have been had at any price at all.

    The same is true for tanking, though correlation to the strength of the draft would be less strong. A strong draft will entice more teams to 'rebuild' that season, meaning you'll have to tank harder to get the highest picks, whereas a weak draft will remove the tanking incentive and teams don't have to shed as much talent from their team in order to win a high pick.

    It's useful to see how well these #1 picks performed, but you also need to consider how dearly their teams paid to get them in the first place and consider how dearly the Rockets would have to pay (in relation to how bad we'd be anyway) for a shot at it. It'd be much more costly for the Thunder to take a crack at getting the #1 than it would be for the Rockets. In our case, Morey (rightly) decided that our roster wasn't headed any place special anyway and needed a rebuild -- since you're tearing it down anyway, does it hurt that much to make yourself a little extra worse to maximize your chance for a #1? I don't think so.
     
  19. LCAhmed

    LCAhmed Contributing Member

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    Sometimes #2 (Durant) is better than #1 (Oden)

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Shroopy2

    Shroopy2 Contributing Member

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    So what you're saying is

    Be in close enough position to the top to have someone ELSE screw up the #1 pick, so you can find the player who will luckily be the best player of that draft. You have to HOPE the best player lands in your lap.

    But then is there really a LESSER chance at screwing up a lower pick even? The #2 team in 1984 said to themselves "1 IS OVERRATED! Hell we're STILL in a GOOD spot", and they chose Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.

    So you can count on other people to screw up in any draft to have players FALL TO YOU. But then ... you STILL have to get it right when its your turn. You still have to know to take the right pick out of Purvis Short, Freeman Williams, Larry Bird and Ron Brewer.

    Maybe you can actually have the other teams ahead of you work out the "draft kinks" and take FUTURE DUDS off the board before you have to deal with them. Though there's no way around it, the #1 is the only pick that controls their own destiny and gets the pick of the litter. I guess its a good thing for teams to have human error help bring them some luck in spite of that.
     
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