Sometimes things are not what they appear to be on the surface. For example, I often come across as acerbic, brooding and negative, but in real life... ok, bad example. Maybe this is a better one (thanks to the Gumpster). Take one of those boxes of assorted chocolates. At first glance most people would think - "Yum. Chocolate.", but then... by some cruel, insidious prank... it turns out some of the pieces are filled with some noisome concoction that I wouldn't feed my dog. Others are still perfectly good. Some are even absolutely delectable. But it's hard to know what you're going to get.
Such is the dilemma of the NBA draft. It's hard to know for sure how things will turn out. Sometimes there appear to be sure things, see James, Lebron, but other times unforeseen pitfalls still derail great expectations, see Oden, Greg. Now that we factor in that educated guesses are still wrong to a certain degree, how can we quantify that degree?
Let's take a look at 10 recent years of lottery picks (2002 -2011).
*Player position was determined by using the position with the most career games played based on basketball-reference.com
Here's what I used as my general criteria:
- #1 picks need to be franchise players
- #2 - #5 need to be above average starters and/or all-stars
- #6 - #10 need to be below average starters or 6th man type players
- #11 - #15 need to be productive role players (7th or 8th guy consistently for their careers
- Point guards = 19.23%
- Shooting guards = 23.81%
- Small forwards = 37.93%
- Power forwards = 44.12%
- Centers = 40%
What does this show? That guards are the safest picks and forwards and centers are almost identically riskier picks. In fact, it's about twice as likely for a forward or center to bust.
So... fact or fiction - centers are the most likely to bust... Fiction.
What this illustrates is that once a player gets to about 6' 7" or above they are equally likely to bust.
What does this mean to the Suns heading into the draft? Don't shy away from picking a center in the lottery if he's #1 on your BPA list.