Yesterday Sean_Corp put out a nice draft history of Jeff Bower so that we could see what we might be in for come this year's draft and in future years. Based on a request, I took the liberty of creating a very similar article on Joe Dumars' draft history for comparison. Well, after reading a comment by southdetroit on the Bower thread about the San Antonio Spurs draft history over the same time as Bower, I did some cursory investigation. I was, and wasn't, amazed at what I saw. Here's a deeper investigation. (Sorry for posting something about the Spurs on our site, but I think it will show a good basis for comparison. I hope it doesn't water down your kool-aid too much).
Gregg Popovich became the General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations in 1994. He held this position until 2002 when he relinquished the General Manager duties to RC Buford. We're about to look over 20 years of draft picks by these two. What do you think you'll find?
On to the data!
|1994||22||Bill Curley||Bill Curley No. 33 in career Win Shares (1.6). Notable available players ranked above Curley in career WS include Wesley Person (No. 23, 44 WS), Voshon Lenard (No. 46, 29.6 WS), and Zeljko Rebraca (8.3). Was traded to Detroit and a 2nd round pick (Charles O'Bannon) for Sean Elliott.|
|1995||29||Cory Alexander||Cory Alexander No. 27 in career Win Shares (3.0). Notable available players ranked above Alexander in career WS include Eric Snow (No. 43, 43.4 WS), Fred Hoiberg (No. 52, 27.6 WS), and Don Reid (No. 58, 13.7 WS).|
|1997||1||Tim Duncan||Tim Duncan No. 1 in career Win Shares (191.6). Chauncey Billups is second at 120.8 career WS.|
|1998||24||Felipe Lopez||Felipe Lopez No. 32 in career Win Shares (3.1). Notable available players ranked above Lopez in career WS include Rashard Lewis (No. 32, 90.9 WS), Cuttino Mobley (No. 41, 52.2 WS), and Al Harrington (No. 25, 42.5 WS). Traded (draft day) with Carl Herrera to Vancouver for Antonio Daniels.|
|52||Derrick Dial||Derrick Dial No. 43 in career Win Shares (0.6). Notable available players ranked above Dial in career WS include Greg Buckner (No. 53, 20.9 WS), Ryan Bowen (No. 55, 12.4 WS), and Tremaine Fowlkes (No. 54, 2.1 WS).|
|1999||29||Leon Smith||Leon Smith No. 38 in career Win Shares (0.2). Notable available players ranked above Smith in career WS include Todd MacCulloch (No. 47, 11.9 WS) and others. Traded (draft day) to Dallas for Gordan Giricek (later traded for Romain Sato) and 2000 2nd round pick (Chris Carrawell).|
|57||Manu Ginobili||Manu Ginobili No. 5 in career Win Shares (93.8). Nobody drafted after Ginobili had more career WS.|
|2000||41||Chris Carrawell||Chris Carrawell never played in the NBA.|
|54||Corey Hightower||Corey Hightower never played in the NBA.|
|2001||28||Tony Parker||Tony Parker No. 2 in career Win Shares (96.0). Nobody drafted after Parker had more career WS.|
|55||Robertas Javtokas||Robertas Javtokas never played in the NBA.|
|57||Bryan Bracey||Bryan Bracey never played in the NBA.|
|2002||26||John Salmons||John Salmons No. 11 in career Win Shares (33.8). Notable available players ranked above Salmons in career WS include Carlos Boozer (No. 34, 78.1 WS) and Matt Barnes (No. 45, 34 WS). Traded (draft day) with Randy Holcomb to Philadelphia for Speedy Claxton.|
|55||Luis Scola||Luis Scola No. 9 in career Win Shares (37.2). Nobody drafted after Scola had more career WS. Traded (5 years later) with Jackie Butler to Houston for Vasslilis Spanoulis (waved by Spurs) and 2009 2nd round pick (Nando De Colo).|
|56||Randy Holcomb||Randy Holcomb No. T-40 in career Win Shares (0.0). Corsley Edwards, the last selection in the draft who was drafted right after Holcomb, had 0.1 career WS. Traded (draft day) with John Salmons to Philadelphia for Speedy Claxton.|
|2003||28||Leandro Barbosa||Leandro Barbosa No. 15 in career Win Shares (31.9). Notable available players ranked above Barbosa in career WS include Kyle Korver (No. 51, 50 WS), Mo Williams (No. 47, 36.8 WS), and Matt Bonner (No. 45, 35.5 WS). Traded (draft day) to Phoenix for 2005 1st round pick which was later traded with Malik Rose and a 2006 1st round pick to New York for Jamison Brewer and Nazr Mohammed. That 2005 1st round pick ended up being David Lee.|
|2004||28||Beno Udrih||Beno Udrih No. 16 in career Win Shares (26.1). Notable available players ranked above Udrih in career WS include Anderson Varejao (No. 30, 43.3 WS) and Trevor Ariza (No. 43, 34.1 WS).|
|52||Romain Sato||Romain Sato never played in the NBA.|
|57||Sergey Karaulov||Sergey Karaulov never played in the NBA.|
|2005||28||Ian Mahinmi||Ian Mahinmi No. 29 in career Win Shares (11.7). Notable available players ranked above Mahinmi in career WS include David Lee (No. 30, 64.1 WS), Amir Johnson (No. 56, 34.1 WS), and Monta Ellis (No. 40, 33.0 WS).|
|2006||59||Damir Markota||Damir Markota No. 57 in career Win Shares (-0.2). Notable available players ranked above Markota in career WS include Will Blalock (No. 60, -0.1 WS). Traded (draft day) to Milwaukee for 2007 2nd round pick (Marcus Williams).|
|2007||28||Tiago Splitter||Tiago Splitter No. 13 in career Win Shares (19.4). Notable available players ranked above Splitter in career WS include Marc Gasol (No. 48, 48 WS), Carl Landry (No. 31, 31 WS), and Ramon Sessions (No. 56, 22.7 WS).|
|33||Marcus Williams||Marcus Williams No. 56 in career Win Shares (-0.1). Notable available players ranked above Williams in career WS include Gasol, Sessions, and many others.|
|58||Giorgos Printezis||Giorgos Printezis never played in the NBA.|
|2008||26||George Hill||George Hill No. 4 in career Win Shares (36.4). Nobody drafted after Hill had more career WS.|
|45||Goran Dragic||Goran Dragic No. 12 in career Win Shares (25.1). Nobody drafted after Dragic had more career WS. Traded (2 days after draft) to Phoenix for Malik Hairston, cash and 2009 2nd round pick (DeJuan Blair).|
|57||James Gist||James Gist never played in the NBA.|
|2009||37||DeJuan Blair||DeJuan Blair No. 10 in career Win Shares (19.0). Nobody drafted after Dragic had more career WS.|
|51||Jack McClinton||Jack McClinton never played in the NBA.|
|53||Nando De Colo||Nando De Colo No. 40 in career Win Shares (2.4). Notable available players ranked above De Colo in career WS include Patrick Mills (No. 55, 8.6 WS).|
|2010||20||James Anderson||James Anderson No. 23 in career Win Shares (3.6). Notable available players ranked above Anderson in career WS include Lance Stephenson (No. 40, 12.4 WS), Trevor Booker (No. 23, 12.2 WS) and Greivis Vasquez (No. 28, 10.2 WS).|
|49||Ryan Richards||Ryan Richards never played in the NBA.|
|2011||29||Corey Joseph||Corey Joseph No. 25 in career Win Shares (3.8). Notable available players ranked above Joseph in career WS include Chandler Parsons (No. 38, 18.0 WS), Isaiah Thomas (No. 60, 17.1 WS), and Jimmy Butler (No. 30, 15.2 WS).|
|59||Adam Hanga||Adam Hanga never played in the NBA.|
|2012||59||Marcus Denmon||Marcus Denmon never played in the NBA.|
|2013||28||Livio Jean-Charles||Livio Jean-Charles never played in the NBA.|
|58||Deshaun Thomas||Deshaun Thomas never played in the NBA.|
With all of that in consideration, if all of those drafts were redone today based on current career WS:
- 1 (2.9%) - Rank the same in career WS to where they were picked
- 6 (17.6%) - Rank worse in career WS than where they were picked (-55)
- 14 (41.2%) - Never played in the NBA
- 16 (47.1%) - Rank better in career WS than where they were picked (+308)
So over 37 picks, their picks were 6.8 "spots" better than where they were picked. Bower was 1.5 and Dumars was 2.3. WOW!!!
However, instead of overall, let's do the busts vs. the bangs. Pop/Buford had 16 players who were better than their draft position for a +308, that's an average of 19.25 position improvement for the good ones. Pop/Buford also had 6 players who were worse than their draft position for -55, that's an average of -9.2 position decrease for the busts. So in comparison:
Also, here's some disclaimer information that I've realized with this being my second article like this. I'm not sure whether it's fair that a player who was drafted say 56th be ranked 54th with a -0.1 when there were 10 other players who were drafted but didn't play in the NBA. Would you say they should really be considered 44th then? Also, there are times that players are drafted and then traded on the same day or before the season even starts. Should draft day trades be considered that GM's credit/downfall if it was likely selected for another team? I would argue that picks that are traded after the draft but before the season should still be considered as they may not have drafted them for the other team they were later traded to. And lastly, the percentages and counts could be considered "off" based on trades that later resulted in other picks. Drafting Dragic who was a 33 position jump who never played for the Spurs but later turned into Blair who was a 27 position jump, should only one be counted? Would it be Dragic because he was drafted first, or Blair because he was the end result and actually played for the Spurs?
Regardless of the above, I personally think that Pop/Buford are amazing at the draft. Take into consideration that their average draft position is 41.3 and they average an improvement overall of 6.8 spots (16.5% improvement). Compare this to Dumars who had an average draft position of 33.8 and had an average improvement overall of 2.3 spots (6.8% improvement). Bower had an average draft position of 26 and had an average improvement overall of 1.5 (5.8% improvement). Also notice how over a 20 year span that the Spurs had 37 picks, but over the last 13 years the Pistons had 33 picks? Do the Spurs trade their picks more often for other assets and if so, should we be doing the same?
What say you DBB?