When I think of the duties of a general manager, a few primary responsibilities come to mind: 1. Drafting players 2. Trades 3. Signing free agents 4. Re-signing own players. Former Detroit Pistons executive didn't get nearly enough credit for his drafting acumen (a few high-profile whiffs notwithstanding), while he was notorious for handing giant paycheckes to free agents and overspending on his own players.
Now that Jeff Bower is finalizing an agreement to become the new general manager for the Pistons, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to closely examine his history in the draft. I thought it would be a good idea. Maybe it still is, but I'm less sure.
Sometimes data is clarifying and sometimes it is just a bunch of noise. I've compiled the chart below and I'll let the readers be the judge on how beneficial it is.
A few notes: I collected draft information from 2000-10, during this time Bower served in the following capacities: 2005-10: New Orleans Hornets, General Manager; 2004-05: New Orleans Hornets, Director of Player Personnel; 2003-04: New Orleans Hornets, Assistant Coach; 2001-03: Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, General Manager; 2000-01: Charlotte Hornets, Assistant General Manager. Sometimes he was the key decision maker, sometimes not. But I figured more data is better than less data, and Bower was obviously a key figure within the organization during the entire span.
On to the data!
|2000||No. 19||Jamaal Magloire||Jamaal Magloire No. 8 in career Win Shares (27.7). Notable available players ranked above Magloire in career WS are Morris Peterson (Pick No. 21, 35.7 Win Shares) and Michael Redd (No. 43, 55.9 WS).|
|2001||No. 16||Kirk Haston||Kirk Haston No. 54 in career WS (-0.5). Notable available players ranked above Haston in career WS include Tony Parker (No. 28, 96 WS), Zach Randolph (No. 19, 64.9 WS), Gerald Wallace (No. 25, 59.6 WS).|
|2003||No. 18||David West||David West No. 5 in career WS (70.1). No notable available players ranked above West in career WS.|
|No. 48||James Lang||James Lang No. 40 in career WS (0.1). Notable available players ranked above Lange in career WS include James Jones (No. 49, 21.6 WS) and Kyle Korver (No. 51, 50.9 WS).|
|2004||No. 18||J.R. Smith||J.R. Smith No. 11 in career WS (35.2). Notable available players ranked above Smith in career WS are Jameer Nelson (No. 20, 43.0 WS), Anderson Verajao (No. 30, 43.3 WS) and Kevin Martin (No. 26, 58.2 WS).|
|No. 44||Tim Pickett||Tim Pickett never played in NBA. Only notable available player above Pickett in career WS is Bernard Robinson (No. 45, 2.0 WS).|
|2005||No. 4||Chris Paul||Chris Paul No. 1 in career WS (115.2).|
|No. 33||Brandon Bass||Brandon Bass No. 11 in career WS (31.2). Notable available players ranked ahead of Bass in career WS are Amir Johnson (No. 56 34.1 WS), Monta Ellis (No. 40 33.0 WS), Marcin Gortat (No. 57, 32.4 WS).|
|2006||No. 12||Hilton Armstrong||Hilton Armstrong No. 27 in career WS (3.9). Notable available players ranked ahead of Armstrong in career WS include Thabo Sefolosha (No. 13, 24.4 WS), Ronnie Brewer (No. 14, 30.4 WS), Rajon Rondo (No. 21, 45.0 WS), Kyle Lowry (No. 34, 41.1 Ws), Paul Millsap (No. 47, 54.8 WS).|
|No. 15||Cedric Simmons||Cedric Simmons No. 41 in career WS (0.1). Notable available players ranked ahead of Simmons in career WS include Rondo, Lowry, Millsap and many more.|
|No. 43||Marcus Vinicius||Marcus Vinicius No. 43 in career WS (0.2). Notable available players ranked ahead of Vinicius in career WS include Millsap, Leon Powe (No. 49, 12.0 WS) and Ryan Hollins (No. 50, 8.5 WS).|
|2007||No. 13||Julian Wright||Julian Wright ranked No. 30 in career WS (3.9). Notable available players ranked above Wright in career WS include Carl Landry (No. 31, 31.0 WS), Jared Dudley (No. 22, 28.9 WS), Arron Afflalo (No. 27, 26.6 WS), Rodney Stuckey (No. 15, 22.7 WS), Marco Bellinelli (No. 18, 16.8 WS) and Wilson Chandler (No. 23, 16.3 WS).|
|No. 43||Adam Haluska||Adam Haluska never played in the NBA. Notable available players ranked above Haluska in career WS include Marc Gasol (No. 48, 48.0 WS), Ramon Sessions (No. 56, 22.7 WS) and Aaron Gray ((No. 49, 6.2 WS).|
|2009||No. 21||Darren Collison||Darren Collision No. 7 in WS (22.6). Notable players ranked above Collison are Taj Gibson (No. 26, 23.4 WS).|
|No. 43||Marcus* Thornton||
Thornton No. 13 in WS (16.6). No notable players ranked above Thornton.
|* Draft-day trade to acquire Thornton|
What conclusions can be drawn from Bower's work in the draft? My Magic 8-Ball says, "Reply hazy try again."
As in, it's pretty scattershot. He has his share of hits and misses and his misses are pretty horrific. He also doesn't seem like he or the organization he represented had much value for second-round picks. Considering a team is allotted 22 draft picks in this span, the Hornets made just 15 selections, including only six second rounders.
He also didn't seem to get on the international player crazy at any point in his tenure, drafting just one foreign-born unsubstantial player in his tenure. It's interesting that when he selected.
But, yeah, that's about all I've gleaned from his draft record. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to look at the players drafted during Van Gundy's tenure in Orlando when he worked with his good friend Otis Smith. Perhaps another day.