Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NBA Draft - #2 vs. #3

Getting the second draft pick is supposed to be better than the third, right? You're getting the better player.Pretty simple, isn't it? But lets take a look at the recent history and see if the outcome truly met the expectation.
For this analysis I checked the 20 drafts between 1992-2011.Its too early to determine the outcome for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal, the #2 and #3 picks in the last draft, so I'll put them aside for now.I'll rank each player on the following scale:
10 - Hall Of Fame lock (the LeBrons, Shaqs and Kobes of the world)
9 - Franchise player, a tier below Hall Of Fame (for example: Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard)
8 - All Star (Joakim Noah, Zach Randolph)
7 - Solid starter (Andre Miller, Raymond Felton)
6 - Rotation player (Randy Foye, Mike Miller)
5 - Bust (Eddy Curry, Shaun Livingston)
4 - Complete bust (Michael Olowokandi, Dajuan Wagner)

I'll keep both the accumulated score, and the head-to-head for each draft.Lets see what conclusions will we find

1992 - Alonzo Mourning vs. Christian Laettner
Zo is the classic 9.Laettner did make one All-Star appearance (in 1997) but he's a 7, not an 8.So its a decisive victory for the #2s.

Acummulated score: 9-7 for #2s
Head-to-Head score: 1-0 for #2s

1993 - Shawn Bradley vs. Penny Hardaway
Bradley is widely considered a bust, but he actually had a solid career, playing in the league for 12 years and averaging 23 minutes per game.Thats enough to earn him a 6.
Penny could have been a 10 if it wasn't for his injuries.He was a 9 for three seasons after Shaq left Orlando, but that's not enough to earn him that grade.I'll grade him an 8.
#3s win this one, and we're tied.

Acummulated score: 15-15
Head-to-Head score: 1-1 

1994 - Jason Kidd vs. Grant Hill
One of the best #2-#3 tandems in the last 20 years.Kidd was consistently one of the best point guards in the league, has one championship ring and two Finals appearances.He's probably the second best #2 pick in that time frame, so no doubt here - 10.
Hill could have been there as well, but like Hardaway, injuries have hurt his career bad enough.He's still a solid 8, though

Acummulated score: 25-23 #2s
Head-to-Head score: 2-1  #2s

1995 - Antonio McDyess vs. Jerry Stackhouse
It was very hard to compare those two.Stackhouse has two All-Star appearances, McDyess has one.What probably makes the difference is that Stackhouse was the best player on his team in his peak (with Detroit in the late 90s), McDyess never was.In addition Stackhouses's peak has lasted longer.So it will be 8 for Stackhouse, 7 for McDyess.

Acummulated score: 32-31 #2s
Head-to-Head score: 2-2

1996 - Marcus Camby vs. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Abdur-Rahim has made the All-Star team once, and was the best player on weak teams for several seasons, averaging at least 19.9 points for seven straight seasons.Camby was always the definition of a solid starter. 8-7 for Abdur-Rahim.

Acummulated score: 39-39
Head-to-Head score: 3-2 #3s

1997 - Keith Van Horn vs. Chauncey Billups
Van Horn is another example of a player that most remember for not living up to the hype, but forget he was actually quite a good player, averaging over 15 points in each of his first seven seasons.He's a 7.
Billups, on the other hand, has 5 All-Star appearances and a record of being the leader of pretty much every place he step his feet at.The 2004 NBA Finals MVP award solidifies his grade as a 9

Acummulated score: 48-46 #3s
Head-to-Head score: 4-2 #3s

1998 - Mike Bibby vs. Raef LaFrentz
I was shocked to find out that Bibby has never made an All-Star team.During is Sacramento years he definitely played like an All-Star, and was a centerpiece for a legendary team (although not their superstar).He'll get an 8, even without having an All-Star appearance.
LaFrentz has had only 5 seasons with over 75 games, another one with 69.When he was healthy he would have qualified for a solid starter grade, but he wasn't healthy enough.It will be a 6, #2s claw one back.

Acummulated score: 54-54 
Head-to-Head score: 4-3 #3s

1999 - Steve Francis vs. Baron Davis
Both have multiple All-Star appearances, so they both qualify for an 8.Neither is good enough to make a 9.Francis had a much shorter peak, and a bigger crash, so even though both get an 8, Davis will get an advantage in the head-to-head.

Acummulated score: 62-62 
Head-to-Head score: 5-3 #3s

2000 - Stromile Swift vs. Darius Miles
Ugh.Miles had about two seasons as a rotation player.Swift was a journey man that did pretty much nothing.5 to each, with Miles getting the head-to-head advantage for having at least some value at his peak.

Acummulated score: 67-67 
Head-to-Head score: 6-3 #3s

2001 - Tyson Chandler vs. Pau Gasol
It took Chandler time to solidify himself as an All-Star level player.Gasol made impact from the beginning, and was the franchise player for a playoff team in Memphis and then the second best player on a two-time championship team in LA.9-8 Gasol.

Acummulated score: 76-75 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 7-3 #3s

2002 - Jay Williams vs. Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Williams is the definition of a total bust.4, without question.
Dunleavy has averaged 9.9 points or more in every season except for his rookie year, and did start in more than two thirds of his games.He gets a solid starter's 7.

Acummulated score: 83-79 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 8-3 #3s

2003 - Darko Milicic vs. Carmelo Anthony
At first I thought Milicic could pass as a rotation player, but then I took a closer look at his numbers.He has never averaged more than 9 points or 26 minutes per game.That can only qualify as a 5.
Anthony isn't quite at the LeBron-Kobe-Durant level, he'll get a 9. Looks like the #3s continue pulling away.

Acummulated score: 92-83 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 9-3 #3s

2004 - Emeka Okafor vs. Ben Gordon 
Emeka was a solid starter throughout his career. Gordon was usually a sixth player (what gave him the Sixth Man Of The Year award in his rookie season) but produces starter numbers.Both get a 7, with Okafor getting the head-to-head advantage.

Acummulated score: 99-90 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 9-4 #3s

2005 - Marvin Williams vs. Deron Williams
Marvin Williams is a #2 that will always be defined by the defined by the two guys that followed him.He himself is actually a good player, good enough to get solid starter grade.
Deron, of course, is another story.Like Carmelo - not good enough for a 10, but definitely good enough for a 9.

Acummulated score: 108-97 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 10-4 #3s

2006 - LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Adam Morrison
Finally the #2s get their big break.Aldridge is currently a solidified All-Star, with potential to rise the the Anthony-Deron-Bosh level.Morrison, on the other hand, was a complete bust.So thats 8-4 for the #2s.

Acummulated score: 112-105 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 10-5 #3s

2007 - Kevin Durant vs. Al Horford
Durant is the best #2 pick in the 20 year time span, maybe even in history, and a sure Hall Of Fame lock.Horford already has two All-Star appearances, with probably more to come. 10-8 #2s.

Acummulated score: 120-115 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 10-6 #3s

2008 - Michael Beasley vs. O.J. Mayo
Being a Suns fan, it's hard for me to be objective regarding Beasley.Objectively his numbers are good enough for a starter.Mayo has revived his career and his starter status this year in Dallas.Both will get a 7, however Mayo's career is on its way up, Beasley's seems on its way down, Mayo will get the head-to-head advantage.

Acummulated score: 127-122 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 11-6 #3s

2009 - Hasheem Thabeet vs. James Harden
The total bust vs. the player that is currently setting himself up as a franchise player in Houston.9-4 Harden.

Acummulated score: 136-126 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 12-6 #3s

2010 - Evan Turner vs. Derrick Favors
That's a tough one, considering the fact that neither of them has truly broken out yet.However Turner has already broken into the Philly starting 5, Favors hasn't (not completely by his fault - Utah is currently loaded in his position).It will be 7-6 for Turner.

Acummulated score: 142-133 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 12-7 #3s

2011 - Derrick Williams vs. Enes Kanter
Another tough one.Williams has received some chances and didn't take advantage of them, Kanter didn't even have this yet.Its too early to call either of them a bust, so they'll both get a 6, and Williams will get the advantage.

Acummulated score: 148-139 #3s 
Head-to-Head score: 12-8 #3s

So there we have it.In 60% of the drafts in the last 20 years the #3 pick turned out better than the #2.On average the #2 pick produces a player of 6.95 - a solid starter, while #3 produces 7.4 - an above average starter.
I could have played with the numbers a bit more, draw some more conclusions.I might do it, but it will be in a different time, in a different post.

Cheers till the next time.