Drafting History (Part 1)


Continuing our NBA Draft theme, we will talk about what team brass has been able to do in the draft.

The Sixers, with the mediocre-est of mediocre records last season, have two selections, at 16 and 50. Neither pick seems to have

superstar potential. But, as I detailed yesterday, the Sixers can draft an important member of the roster. Not to mention that, of the top 9 players on our roster, 3 were drafted below the 16th pick (Holiday, Williams, and Meeks). Other NBA teams, such as the Spurs, regularly thrive will lower picks, especially on the perimeter. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were late draft picks, Manu even being the 57th overall pick. It can be done.

So today and tomorrow, we’re going into the past to evaluate the draft records of the Sixers and their front office, which is basically the New Jersey front office for the early-2000s. I’ll be grading draft picks based on value relative to draft position.

2010 – drafted Evan Turner second overall

It’s tough to pass judgment on this selection yet – Turner played one year in a backup role. While he performed below expectations, he was not a bust. It takes time to establish that label. And I believe, like many others, that Turner will shed this tag next year, especially if given more playing time. The team did not have a second round pick, which happens more often that not with this team. Turner needs to step his game up to give Thorn and Stefanski a good grade here.

Grade: Incomplete

2009 – drafted Jrue Holiday 17th overall

In a drafted dominated by point guards, Jrue Holiday may emerge as one of the best. The list of point guards taken in 2009 is staggering, though it needs to be said the Minnesota royally screwed up its two picks. Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn are arguably the two least consequential picks from the draft. Flynn looks to be a career backup at best. Rubio still hasn’t entered the States.

The front office got this pick right. While he fell right into our laps, Holiday is an emerging talent with lots of room to grow. And he still hasn’t turned 21 yet.

Grade: High

2008 – drafted Marreese Speights 16th overall

See yesterday’s column.

Grade: Passing, but very average

Now, the past three were all selections from Ed Stefanski* as GM of the Sixers. After a brief side note, picks from Rod Thorn and the Nets

*Selections from Ed Stefanski sounds like a really bad album. I can only imagine the phrase “Basketball Sense” being repeated on a loop for 30 minutes for a short time before going mad.

2009 – Terrence Williams, 11th overall

Williams has been traded to the Rockets since, who valued his versatility and his nightly triple-double threat. However, he’s only achieved these marks with consistent playing time, and apparently has done little to deserve that. His shooting numbers are bad: Williams, in his 2-year career, shoots under 40% overall. He’s also turnover-prone, averaging over 1.5 in under 21 minutes per game. While talented, he hasn’t left a mark on the NBA, yet.

Grade: Low, but with a chance to improve

2008 – Brook Lopez, 10th overall, Ryan Anderson 22nd, Chris Douglas-Roberts 41st

Now this draft had a big return. While I make jokes about Lopez’s inability to rebound, I recognize Lopez as a legitimate offensive force. While he takes too many jumpers, he can hit them. He’s a load to handle when he decides to post up. Lopez, even with his flaws, is a top-10 NBA center. Those are hard to find. Also note that Lopez fell after Charlotte decided to draft DJ Augustin instead of Lopez, seen as an easy selection for Charlotte.

Anderson, meanwhile, fits perfectly as a role player alongside Dwight Howard in Orlando as a 3-point shooter who’s also big. His other skills are lacking, but that alone makes Anderson a valuable role player. CDR is fickle but, as the 41st pick, provides more value than most players at that point. He can fill it up, but many contend he has an attitude problem.

Grade: High

2007 – Sean Williams, 17th overall

As much as I can appreciate his name, Williams failed to make a positive impact in the NBA. A highly-skilled but fringy prospect after being suspended in college, Williams had one skill: blocks. However, his shot-blocking proficiency was his only discernible skill, and as of 2011 Williams played in the D-League. He will probably get another chance in the NBA for his size and his blocks, but so far has produced very little.

Grade: Low

Part 2 will be up tomorrow. So far, a mixed bag of results. Will the change for the better or the worse? I’ll leave with this cliffhanger.