We’ve been building up hype for the Sixers and their No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. But what about poor old Mr. 10? No, I’m not talking about Dr. Pepper. I’m talking about the 10th pick in the draft.
Remember? The Sixers do pick there as well, assuming they don’t trade it off for whatever reason. And so, the 10th should get some love.
Today, I want to talk about the last time the Sixers picked 10th in a draft. It just so happens that the Sixers have only picked 10th once before. And it also just so happens to be in a fantastic draft class. You may have seen commercials for it, especially during these playoffs.
The Sixers picked 10th in the star-studded 1984 NBA Draft. This same draft had folks like Charles Barkley (the Sixers also picked him with their fifth pick), Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Hakeem Olajuwon, and more stars I can’t think of off the top of my head. Anyway, NBA TV is doing a special on this draft and how awesome it was, now 30 years later.
Isn’t that something? The 30th anniversary of a fantastic draft is the last time the Sixers picked 10th. But that’s not what this post is about.
Who did the Sixers pick at 10? Leon Wood. Who?
Leon Wood was a PG out of California State University, Fullerton. He spent one and a half seasons with the Sixers. During this time, he averaged 4.1 points, 1.8 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.5 turnovers. His PER was 11.1 so he was below average.
Those stats aren’t star powered, huh? Okay, let’s look at his career and see if he really made a mark. Before we do, let’s also remember that stats don’t tell the entire story of the impact of a player. Still, just by his stats you wouldn’t consider him a star.
He scored 6.4 points, dished out 3.2 assists, grabbed 0.5 steals and had 1.0 turnovers.
But does that mean he’s a bust? Eh…kind of. I mean, obviously he’s no star. But, what about the guys picked after him? Could the Sixers have done better?
Let’s look at the win shares of the draft class. Wood is 22nd out of 228 players. Oh, I should mention that this draft had 10 (TEN!) rounds instead of the two that are used today. Also, only 58 of these players played in an NBA game. Anyway, 13 players picked after Wood are above him in W/S. In per game, he’s 20th in points, 45th in rebounds, and 9th in assists. All things considered, that’s not bad.
In that ranking, Wood would be in the middle of the pack. So, as a 10th pick with so many players picked but a lot less played, does the Sixers’ pick pan out?
Ultimately, for the Sixers, no. They only had him for a season and a half. As a player, I don’t think he’s a bust. He had a nice career.
And so, this 2014 draft is projected to be pretty deep. As deep and talented as the 84 draft? Probably not, but it’s way too early to tell. Should we feel better, worse, or the same about the 10th pick of this draft? I’d say feel the same. Each draft has a level of talent. There are a lot of smart teams out there who know talent to pick at 10. And so, the odds of a bust at ten seem lower than a bust in the top five.
I’m going to wrap this post up with one more train of thought.
You only hear about busts as they were picked in the top 3-5 in a draft. In that area, it’s typically high expectations to become a star at best and solid role player at worst. Less than that and you’re a bust. Picks 6-9 tend to be really good players, depending on the draft class. A team could get lucky if they picked a player who turns out to be a bust. As for the rest of the lottery, a solid starter is the ceiling in most cases. The Sixers picking at 10th would be looking for a solid starter at best. And yet, it’s very likely that, when we look back on their selection five years from now, the player pick at 10 won’t be heading for the bust label.
But what about you? Are you excited about the 10th pick? Do you think there’s real talent to be had? Or should the Sixers seriously package that and a player to move up (I’m hoping)? Either way, having two picks in the lottery is something plenty of teams wouldn’t mind having.
BONUS: Wood has been an NBA Official since the 95-96 season.