FanPost

What's a Draft Pick worth?

This is the first of hopefully multiple fanposts in an attempt to look back and see how valuable a draft pick really is. One of the things I will not address in this particular post is that a draft pick is under a rookie contract which gives the team significant flexibility if the player turns out to be an all-star. For example --- OKC could never assemble the current team they have if they had to pick them ALL up in free-agency.

In this first series, I looked at the top 10 draft picks from 2003 - 2009. I subsequently ranked the players as
"Good" = All-star, top-10 player at their position, a clearly successful draft pick
"Starter" = Less than "Good", but still a starter in the league
"Bench" = Bench player in the rotation
"Bust" = Not serviceable at all, out of league (this is not relative to when they were chose)

To do this I used PER as well as Wins Produced. For Starters, there has been some judgement used to figure out whether the player could become a potential starter as a 2009 pick is relatively young. I welcome thoughts --- and please don't say stuff such as "this guy is over-rated" unless you have some backup or analysis because that is just useless for everyone.

Without further ado here we go:

2003
1. Lebron James Good
2. Darko Milicic BUST
3. Carmelo Anthony Good
4. Chris Bosh Good
5. Dwyane Wade Good
6. Chris Kaman Starter
7. Kirk Hinrich Bench
8. TJ Ford N/A
9. Mike Sweetney BUST
10. Jarvis Hayes BUST

2004
1. Dwight Howard Good
2. Emeka Okafor Starter
3. Ben Gordon Bench
4. Shaun Livingston Bench
5. Devin Harris Starter
6. Josh Childress Bench
7. Luol Deng Starter
8. Rafael Araujo BUST
9. Andre Iguodala Good
10. Luke Jackson BUST

2005
1. Andrew Bogut Starter
2. Marvin Williams Bench
3. Deron Williams Good
4. Chris Paul Good
5. Raymond Felton Bench
6. Martell Webster Bench
7. Charlie Villanueva BUST
8. Channing Frye Bench
9. Ike Diogu BUST
10. Andrew Bynum Good

2006
1. Andrea Bargnani Starter
2. LaMarcus Aldridge Good
3. Adam Morrison BUST
4. Tyrus Thomas Bench
5. Shelden Williams Bench
6. Brandon Roy Good
7. Randy Foye Bench
8. Rudy Gay Starter
9. Patrick O'Bryant BUST
10. Saer Sene BUST

2007
1. Greg Oden BUST
2. Kevin Durant Good
3. Al Horford Good
4. Mike Conley Starter
5. Jeff Green N/A
6. Yi Jianlian BUST
7. Corey Brewer Bench
8. Brandan Wright BUST
9. Joakim Noah Good
10. Spencer Hawes Bench

2008
1. Derrick Rose Good
2. Michael Beasley Bench
3. OJ Mayo Starter
4. Russell Westbrook Good
5. Kevin Love Good
6. Danilo Gallinari Bench
7. Eric Gordon Good
8. Joe Alexander BUST
9. DJ Augustin Bench
10. Brook Lopez Good

2009
1. Blake Griffin Good
2. Hasheem Thabeet BUST
3. James Harden Good
4. Tyreke Evans Bench
5. Ricky Rubio Starter
6. Jonny Flynn Bench
7. Stephen Curry Good
8. Jordan Hill Bench
9. DeMar DeRozan Bench
10. Brandon Jennings Good

The high-level takeaways are:

Top 10 Picks
Good 23 34%
Starter 10 15%
Bench 20 29%
Bust 15 22%
Total 68

Top 5 Picks
Good 15 44%
Starter 7 21%
Bench 8 24%
Bust 4 12%
34

***Please note they don't add up to 70 and 35 because of the N/A for some players such as Jeff Green and TJ Ford where I'm having a hard time characterizing what they could become

My initial takeaway is that a top 5 pick is clearly worth a lot. You have a 40%+ chance of getting a good to great player and a 20% chance for a starter. There are busts in there, but they only appear 1/10th of the time. By bust I mean utter useless player. You'll sometimes of course get a bench player which is a bust relative to where you chose, but still serviceable.

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