Monday, June 07, 2010

The 24th Pick, A History

The 24th pick has been in the first round of the NBA Draft since 1988. Here's a list of the players selected in that spot.

2009: Byron Mullens
2008: Serge Ibaka
2007: Rudy Fernandez
2006: Kyle Lowry
2005: Luther Head
2004: Delonte West
2003: Brian Cook
2002: Nenad Krstic (Strange that three of the last eight 24th picks were on Oklahoma City's roster last season.)
2001: Raul Lopez
2000: Dalibor Bagaric
1999: Andrei Kirilenko
1998: Felipe Lopez
1997: Rodrick Rhodes (Rhodes and Lopez both had lengthy (and disappointing, relative to expectations, collegiate careers) and were both 24 in their rookie seasons. Granted, pickings were slim at the point in both drafts, but I fail to see the appeal of spending a first round pick on an old-for-his-draft-class wing who can't shoot.)
1996: Derek Fisher
1995: Loren Meyer
1994: Monty Williams
1993: Sam Cassell
1992: Latrell Sprewell
1991: Rick Fox (Using faulty probabilities, it appears the Hawks are almost as likely to draft an unlikeable Laker (Fisher, Fox) with the 24th pick as they are to pick a future All-Star (Sprewell, Cassell, Kirilenko).)
1990: Dwayne Schintzius
1989: Anthony Cook
1988: Brian Shaw

Of these 22 players, 3 (Kirilenko, Sprewell, Cassell) made at least one All-Star team and were good NBA starters, 3 more had lengthy careers as useful rotation players (Fisher, Fox, and Shaw), 5 active players (Ibaka, Fernandez, Lowry, Krstic, West) could reasonably be expected to achieve at least that latter status and, if they don't, could have a brief run as a useful rotation player similar to that which Monty Williams enjoyed with the Spurs.

That leaves 10 players whose contributions ranged from end of the rotation in a good season to disposable roster filler in a typical season: Mullens, Head, Brian Cook, Raul Lopez, Bagaric, Felipe Lopez, Rhodes, Meyer, Schintzius, and Anthony Cook. Possible lessons learned from these unsuccessful selections:
  1. Don't draft old college players.
  2. Especially don't draft old college players who can't shoot.
  3. Collegiate big men available late in the first-round are likely available for a reason.
  4. Even if you do your international scouting work and draft a potentially useful player (say, Raul Lopez) late in the first-round he can still hurt his knee and/or end up in Europe for the bulk of his career.
It's not an exact science.

Nor are these groundbreaking prescriptions for maximizing the value of the 24th pick but I'll be keeping them in mind as I preview the 2010 Draft.
  1. International scouting is a must. There may be no more important work done by the Hawks in this draft than coming to a conclusion on Kevin Seraphin.
  2. When considering college players, demand either youth or production.
  3. Don't expect to get a well-rounded collegiate player. However, a pass-first point guard or a spot-up shooter can provide value if he possesses the athleticism and intelligence to become a useful defender in the NBA.
In the next post, we'll get down to cases.

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