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Thread: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

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    Default The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    THE BEST AND WORST DRAFT PICKS OF THE DAVID STERN ERA
    Brian Schroeder


    As Iím sure youíve heard, this past Thursdayís NBA Draft was the final one for long time commissioner David Stern, who is set to retire in February 2014. In honor of this, and of the 30 years of first round picks heís made, I decided to make a completely arbitrary and utterly pointless ranking system.

    To start with, I only used the first ten picks of every draft, and then included some of the more successful later round picks from subsequent years. A team drafting a guy who didnít pan out at #11 isnít exactly a franchise killer. Drafting that same guy at #1, is another story.

    I used four criteria in my grading system: Playoff success, All-Star games, career success/awards, and loyalty/longevity. The latter two are on a 1-10 scale. If said draft pick played his entire career with the team that drafted him, he gets a 10. If said career was 10 or more years, he might get higher than that. The only players that get a 0 in this field are ones that never became a rotation player for the team that drafted them. Success/awards is out of 10 in multiples of 5. If a player flamed out of the NBA, he gets a 0. If he had a respectable NBA career, he gets a 5. If he was a star player/award winner, he gets a 10. For simplificationís sake, I decided not to differentiate between levels of stardom. Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley both get 10s in this category.

    The other two categories are somewhat trickier. Playoff success is tallied by the amount of appearances said player made in the playoffs with the team that drafted him, divided by two. If that player was part of a championship team, 5 points are added to his tally (one for every title). The final category, All-Star games, is perhaps simpler: however many All-Star games the player appeared in for any team. This will serve to stabilize some of the stranger careers. For instance, Chris Webber will inherently have a higher score than, say, Danny Manning, due to his status as a perennial All-Star. The final scores will reflect the overall success of that pick for the team who made it (or, more precisely, the team that ended up with the player in question when the season in question began).

    0-9: Wasted potential, a player who did not live up the expectations of a top 10 pick for the team that drafted him.

    10-19: Solid pro, perhaps not the star his team needed, but a guy whose NBA career can be considered successful.

    20-29: Low-level star, ranging from solid career starters to borderline Hall of Fame candidates.

    30-39: Superstar, everything a team could have asked for with a top 10 pick and a likely Hall of Famer. Also Derek Fisher.

    40+: Legend, an out and out success in every way imaginable. A franchise cornerstone and best case scenario.


    #1 Pick

    Five Best

    Tim Duncan, 1997. San Antonio Spurs. 61 Points
    Hakeem Olajuwon, 1984. Houston Rockets. 48 Points
    David Robinson, 1987. San Antonio Spurs. 46 Points
    Patrick Ewing, 1985. New York Knicks. 37 Points
    Shaquille OíNeal, 1992. Orlando Magic. 31 Points

    Five Worst

    Kwame Brown, 2001. Washington Wizards. 6 Points
    Pervis Ellison, 1989. Sacramento Kings. 7 Points
    Michael Olowokandi, 1998. Los Angeles Clippers. 8 Points
    Greg Oden, 2007. Portland Trail Blazers. 11 Points
    Joe Smith, 1995. Golden State Warriors. 12 Points

    Whatís interesting about the #1 pick is that there arenít nearly as many out and out busts as youíd imagine. Really, itís just Olowokandi and Kwame Brown who were bad NBA players. Pervis Ellison had no effect with the Kings, but ended up with a decent career. Itís telling that Joe Smith, consummate NBA journeyman with career averages of 10 points and 6 boards, ranked low enough to qualify for the bottom five. Oden, of course, has been limited by his injuries, but he was not a bad player when he played. In fact, he was quite good, enough that heís still playing for a comeback.

    Hereís the rest of the list, grouped by score. 29-20: LeBron James (29), Yao Ming, Allen Iverson (28), Derrick Rose, Brad Daugherty (25), Larry Johnson, Blake Griffin (22), Chris Webber (21), Glenn Robinson (20), Kyrie Irving (17), Kenyon Martin, John Wall (16), Anthony Davis, Andrea Bargnani (15), Andrew Bogut, Derrick Coleman (14), Danny Manning (13), Elton Brand (12).


    #2 Pick

    Five Best

    Jason Kidd, 1994, Dallas Mavericks. 32 Points
    Gary Payton, 1990. Seattle SuperSonics. 29 Points
    Kevin Durant, 2007. Seattle SuperSonics. 28 Points
    Alonzo Mourning, 1992. Charlotte Hornets. 22 Points
    Rik Smits, 1988. Indiana Pacers. 22 Points

    Five Worst

    Hasheem Thabeet, 2009. Memphis Grizzlies. 7 Points
    Darko Milicic, 2003. Detroit Pistons. 8 Points
    Jay Williams, 2002. Chicago Bulls. 10 Points
    Stromile Swift, 2000. Vancouver Grizzlies. 10 Points
    Michael Beasley, 2008. Miami Heat. 11 Points

    The #2 pick is, in all honesty, somewhat weak. Only one of these players, Jason Kidd, has won a title with the team that drafted him, and that was at the end of his career, on his second stint with the team. However, there arenít a huge amount of total busts here, either, although the bottom 5 is full of them, with the exception of Jay Williams, whose career was robbed from his by injury. The rest of the scores follow: LaMarcus Aldridge (20), Marcus Camby (16), Antonio McDyess, Mike Bibby, Danny Ferry (15), Tyson Chandler, Kenny Anderson, Steve Francis, Derrick Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14), Sam Bowie, Evan Turner (13), Keith Van Horn, Armen Gilliam, Emeka Okafor, Marvin Williams, Shawn Bradley (12), Wayman Tisdale (11).


    #3 Pick

    Five Best

    Michael Jordan, 1984. Chicago Bulls. 70 Points
    Grant Hill, 1994. Detroit Pistons. 26 Points
    Sean Elliott, 1989. San Antonio Spurs. 26 Points
    Penny Hardaway, 1993. Orlando Magic. 25 Points
    Carmelo Anthony, 2003. Denver Nuggets. 23 Points

    Five Worst

    Chris Washburn, 1986. Golden State Warriors, 7 Points
    Darius Miles, 2000. Los Angeles Clippers. 8 Points
    Adam Morrison, 2006. Charlote Bobcats. 8 Points
    Dennis Hopson, 1987. New Jersey Nets. 9 Points
    Raef LaFrentz, 1998. Denver Nuggets. 10 Points

    MJ aside, the third pick is not particularly interesting. It has its share of stars, and its share of busts, but few were momentous enough to effect the course of a franchise substantially in either direction. Sounds like Otto Porter Jr will fit right in with this crop.

    The rest: Al Horford (23), Deron Williams (20), Pau Gasol, James Harden (19), Chauncey Billups (17), Baron Davis, Mahmoud Abdul-Raud (16), Jerry Stackhouse, Ben Gordon, Derrick Favors, Bradley Beal (15), Christian Laettner (14), O.J. Mayo, Enes Kanter, Benoit Benjamin (13), Mike Dunleavy Jr, Billy Owens (12), Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Charles Smith (11).


    #4 Pick

    Five Best

    Chris Paul, 2005. New Orleans Hornets. 26 Points
    Dikembe Mutombo, 1995. Denver Nuggets. 22 Points
    Chris Bosh, 2003. Toronto Raptors. 22 Points
    Russell Westbrook, 2008. Oklahoma City Thunder. 21 Points
    Rasheed Wallace, 1995. Washington Bullets. 18 Points

    Five Worst

    Marcus Fizer, 2000. Chicago Bulls. 7 Points
    Eddy Curry, 2001. Chicago Bulls. 9 Points
    Wesley Johnson, 2010. Minnesota Timberwolves. 10 Points
    Drew Gooden, 2002. Memphis Grizzlies. 10 Points
    Tyrus Thomas, 2006. Chicago Bulls. 11 Points

    A very average group of guys here at the 4 spot, with the difference between the 5th best and the 5th worst picks being a measly 7 points. Interestingly, none of these picks won a title with the team that drafted them. The vast majority of these picks were solid NBA players without much of an impact. The rest as follows: Mike Conley (18), Dennis Scott, Xavier McDaniel (17), Glen Rice, Sam Perkins (16), Chuck Person, Jamal Mashburn, Antawn Jamison, Lamar Odom, Stephon Marbury, Tristan Thompson (15), Tyreke Evans, Dion Waiters, Antonio Daniels, Chris Morris (14), Jim Jackson (13), Donyell Marshall, Shaun Livingston, Reggie Williams (11)


    #5 Pick

    Five Best

    Scottie Pippen, 1987. Chicago Bulls. 56 Points
    Dwyane Wade, 2003. Miami Heat. 48 Points
    Kevin Garnett, 1995. Minnesota Timberwolves. 39 Points
    Charles Barkley, 1984. Philadelphia 76ers. 34 Points
    Ray Allen, 1996. Milwaukee Bucks. 32 Points

    Five Worst

    Nikoloz Tskitishvili, 2002. Denver Nuggets. 8 Points
    Shelden Williams, 2006. Atlanta Hawks. 9 Points
    Isaiah Rider, 1993. Minnesota Timberwolves. 9 Points
    Thomas Robinson, 2012. Sacramento Kings. 10 Points
    J.R. Reid, 1989. Charlotte Hornets. 11 Points

    The five spot is, by far, the most decorated thus far. While only two of these players won a title with the team that drafted them, those two players combined to win 9 titles, and the other three players in the top are all sure fire Hall of Famers who rank among the best to ever play their respective positions. They were all perennial All-Stars and MVP candidates, and maximized the worth their teams got for them (even Ray Allen fetched a mighty price in return for his services when Milwaukee traded him). This is as good as weíre likely to get. On the flip side, the bad picks here are certainly damaging. I feel bad about putting Thomas Robinson on here after one season, but his usefulness to the Kings is done, so itís safe to say he was a bad pick for them. Hereís to hoping he makes a career out of it.

    The rest: Vince Carter (22), Mitch Richmond (20), Kevin Love, Steve Smith (19), Ricky Rubio, Jon Koncak, Kenny Walker (16), Jonas Valanciunas, DeMarcus Cousins, Devin Harris (15), Juwan Howard, Kendall Gill, Mike Miller (14), Jeff Green, Jason Richardson (13), Tony Battie, Raymond Felton, LaPhonso Ellis, Jonathan Bender (12)


    #6 Pick

    Five Best

    Brandon Roy, 2006. Portland Trail Blazers. 22 Points
    Antoine Walker, 1996. Boston Celtics. 18 Points
    Wally Szczerbiak, 1999. Minnesota Timberwolves. 17 Points
    Hersey Hawkins, 1988. Los Angeles Clippers. 16 Points
    Shane Battier, 2001. Memphis Grizzlies. 16 Points

    Five Worst

    Dajuan Wagner, 2002. Cleveland Cavaliers. 8 Points
    Jonny Flynn, 2009. Minnesota Timberwolves. 8 Points
    Yi Jianlian, 2007. Milwaukee Bucks. 9 Points
    William Bedford, 1986. Philadelphia 76ers. 9 Points
    DerMarr Johnson, 2000. Atlanta Hawks. 9 Points

    This is the exact opposite of the five slot. Only Brandon Roy could possibly be considered a franchise player, and with his career tragically cut short by injury, heís hardly the most valuable draft pick in the world. On the flip side, the busts that have come from this spot are massive. Dajuan Wagner is a somewhat forgotten player nowadays, but as a risk-reward pick, heís one of the worst in the last few decades. To think that he came the year before LeBron is to really put into perspective just how bad that Cavs front office could be. Not sure I would have stayed with the people responsible for Dajuan Wagner when Miami came-a-calling, either.

    The rest: Damian Lillard (15), Stacey King (14), Ekpe Udoh, Kenny Smith (13), Joe Kleine, Tom Gugliotta, Robert Traylor, Chris Kaman, Danilo Gallinari (12), Ron Mercer, Martell Webster, Melvin Turpin, Doug Smith, Calbert Cheaney (11), Felton Spencer, Bryant Reeves, Josh Childress, Sharone Wright, Jan Vesely (10)


    #7 Pick

    Five Best

    Chris Mullin, 1985. Golden State Warriors. 26 Points
    Kevin Johnson, 1987. Phoenix Suns. 23 Points
    Luol Deng, 2004. Chicago Bulls. 22 Points
    Nene Hilario, 2002. Denver Nuggets. 20 Points
    Stephen Curry, 2009. Golden State Warriors. 19 Points

    Five Worst

    Eddie Griffin, 2001. Houston Rockets. 9 Points
    Chris Mihm, 2000. Cleveland Cavaliers. 9 Points
    Charlie Villanueva, 2005. Toronto Raptors. 9 Points
    Lionel Simmons, 1990. Los Angeles Clippers. 10 Points
    Luc Longley, 1991. Minnesota Timberwolves. 10 Points

    This is more of a traditionally spread pick, albeit one without any bonafide superstars. Still, itís also one without any major, franchise destroying busts. Eddie Griffin comes the closest, but with the problems he dealt with in his tragically short life, itís hard to really blame this pick on anything to do with basketball. Mihm and Villanueva, though both bad value, put together extended NBA careers.

    The rest: Alvin Robertson, Kirk Hinrich (18), Greg Monroe, Harrison Barnes, Richard Hamilton (16), Roy Tarpley, Jason Williams (15), Damon Stoudamire, George McCloud (14), Lamond Murray, Bobby Hurley, Tim Perry, Bismack Biyombo (13), Eric Gordon, Walt Williams (12), Lorenzen Wright, Tim Thomas, Randy Foye, Corey Brewer (11)


    #8 Pick

    Five Best

    Detlef Schrempf, 1985. Dallas Mavericks. 18 Points
    Kerry Kittles, 1996. New Jersey Nets. 17 Points
    Vin Baker, 1993. Milwaukee Bucks. 15 Points
    Brian Grant, 1994. Sacramento Kings. 15 Points
    Ron Harper, 1986. Cleveland Cavaliers. 15 Points

    Five Worst

    Joe Alexander, 2008. Milwaukee Bucks. 5 Points
    DeSagana Diop, 2001. Cleveland Cavaliers. 6 Points
    Rafael Araujo, 2004. Toronto Raptors. 7 Points
    Shawn Respert, 1995. Milwaukee Bucks. 9 Points
    Lancaster Gordon, 1984. Los Angeles Clippers. 9 Points

    If you thought the #6 pick was bad, then this must be torture. Not a single serious cornerstone to build off of here, with the possible exception of Schrempf, who saw most of his success with a different team. Kerry Kittles was a solid contributor on a back to back Finals team, but he was the 4th starter on that team and the Eastern Conference was abysmal, so he hardly inspires confidence. The bad picks from this spot include two of the worst in the history of the NBA in Diop and Joe Alexander, neither of whom Iím convinced had ever actually played basketball beforehand. In four years, Ben McLemore could be the best #8 pick in the last 30 years, and I wouldnít bat an eye.

    The rest: Andre Miller, Rudy Gay, Brandon Knight (14), Terrence Ross, Randy White, Olden Polynice, Larry Hughes (13), T.J. Ford, Channing Frye, Rex Chapman (12), Todd Day, Adonal Foyle, Chris Wilcox, Jamal Crawford (11), Jordan Hill, Brandan Wright, Bo Kimble, Al-Farouq Aminu (10), Mark Macon (9)


    #9 Pick

    Five Best

    Dirk Nowitzki, 1998. Dallas Mavericks. 41 Points
    Amaríe Stoudemire, 2002. Phoenix Suns. 23 Points
    Joakim Noah, 2007. Chicago Bulls. 22 Points
    Tracy McGrady, 1996. Toronto Raptors. 21 Points
    Andre Iguodala, 2004. Philadelphia 76ers. 20 Points

    Five Worst

    Ed OíBannon, 1995. New Jersey Nets. 8 Points
    Patrick OíBryant, 2006. Golden State Warriors. 8 Points
    Michael Sweetney, 2003. New York Knicks. 9 Points
    Rodney White, 2001. Detroit Pistons. 10 Points
    Eric Montross, 1994. Boston Celtics. 10 Points

    Much more stable and impressive than the last, the 9 spot has seen at least one sure-fire Hall of Famer in Dirk, and a bevy of recent All-Stars in Noah, STAT, T-Mac and Iguodala. On the bust end of things, if your team has a chance to draft someone with a O in front of their name in the 9 spot, run in fear or pray for a trade.

    The rest: Shawn Marion (19), Derrick McKey, Charles Oakley (17), Otis Thorpe, Stacey Augmon (16), Gordon Hayward, Kemba Walker, Andre Drummond (15), DeMar DeRozan, Rony Seikaly (14), Rodney Rogers, Brad Sellers (13), Clarence Weatherspoon, Joel Przybilla (12), Tom Hammonds, D.J. Augustin, Willie Burton (11), Samaki Walker, Ike Diogu (10)


    #10 Pick

    Five Best

    Paul Pierce, 1998. Boston Celtics. 37 Points
    Horace Grant, 1987. Chicago Bulls. 27 Points
    Andrew Bynum, 2005. Los Angeles Lakers. 25 Points
    Joe Johnson, 2001. Boston Celtics. 21 Points
    Eddie Jones, 1994. Los Angeles Lakers. 19 Points

    Five Worst

    Mouhamad Sene, 2006. Seattle SuperSonics. 5 Points
    Luke Jackson, 2004. Cleveland Cavaliers. 8 Points
    Rumeal Robinson, 1990. Atlanta Hawks. 9 Points
    Danny Fortson, 1997. Denver Nuggets. 10 Points
    Ed Pinckney, 1985. Phoenix Suns. 11 Points

    We round out the top 10 with a strong showing from the three winningest franchises in the history of the league. The top three players here combined to win 10 titles for their team, more than justifying their draft selections and absolutely maximizing their value at this particular spot. Paul Pierce is the shining star here, becoming one of the best players in the history of one of the most storied franchises in the history of the sport after being drafted after NINE other players. On the negative side of things, another of the worst picks in history, Mouhamad Sene, meanders his way to the top of the list in a fashion not dissimilar to how he meandered through his uneventful NBA career.

    The rest: Brook Lopez, Paul George (18), Lindsey Hunter (17), Willie Anderson (16), Caron Butler, Brandon Jennings, Kurt Thomas (15), Jason Terry (14), Jimmer Fredette, Erick Dampier (13), Leon Wood, Pooh Richardson, Keyon Dooling, Johnny Dawkins, Adam Keefe, Bison Dele, Jarvis Hayes (12), Austin Rivers, Spencer Hawes, Ed Pinckney (11)


    Best of the Rest

    While the top 10 tends to be where franchises make and take their futures, itís not the only place to find value. Hereís the rest of the first rounders in David Sternís tenure whose scores tallied a 20 or above on my super-awesome scale, in descending order.

    Kobe Bryant (64), Tony Parker (49), Karl Malone (44), John Stockton (39), Joe Dumars, Derek Fisher (38), Steve Nash, Reggie Miller, Rajon Rondo (30), Shawn Kemp (27), Robert Horry, Tayshaun Prince, Sam Cassell (25), Peja Stojakovic, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (24), Arvydas Sabonis (22), Terry Porter, Andrei Kirilenko, Danny Granger (21), Tim Hardaway, Vlade Divac, Roy Hibbert, David West, A.C. Green, Kawhi Leonard (20)


    Note: A higher ranking does not make a better player. All it means is that the player in question was more valuable to the team that drafted him than someone with a lower ranking. Case in point: Derek Fisher is one of the worst players above 20 on this list, and heís got one point less than Kevin Garnett.

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    Default Re: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    Eddie Jones!
    And where is the center that Portland drafted in front of Jordan?

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    Default Re: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleazar View Post
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    Eddie Jones!
    And where is the center that Portland drafted in front of Jordan?
    Sam Bowie is in the #2 pick section. Where's Len Bias?

    I think this thing ignores the important question of who else was in the draft. Pervis may not have produced as much as a #1 pick should have from the '89 draft, but who else would have? Sean Elliott is the only positive on the list and he wouldn't be there if taken #1. That was just a weak draft...

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    Default Re: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    I was a little confused by the thread title. I thought Stern only did trades.

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    Default Re: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    Quote Originally Posted by AesopRockOn View Post
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    I was a little confused by the thread title. I thought Stern only did trades.
    You sir are not familiar with the bent/frozen envelope theory.



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    Default Re: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    Quote Originally Posted by Grover View Post
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    Sam Bowie is in the #2 pick section. Where's Len Bias?
    Yes, but I meant why wasn't he ranked the worst of the #2 picks.

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    Default Re: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    Quote Originally Posted by Grover View Post
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    Where's Len Bias?
    Dwight Howard isn't listed either.


    Quote Originally Posted by Eleazar View Post
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    Yes, but I meant why wasn't he ranked the worst of the #2 picks.
    ...because he was tied for 12th worst (he and Evan Turner had 13 points) by HP's methodology.

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    Default Re: The Best and Worst Draft Picks of the David Stern Era (Hardwood Paroxysm)

    Quote Originally Posted by avoidingtheclowns View Post
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    ...because he was tied for 12th worst (he and Evan Turner had 13 points) by HP's methodology.
    Head meet wall.

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