The Value of a Draft Pick 2011

Published: June 22, 2011

It’s time for my annual “Value of a Draft Pick” post, where I attempt to crush all your hopes and dreams for a contributor to be selected in the draft.

As always, I’ll start by explaining my methodology and ranking system, and then summarize the value of picks in the draft before getting to the Hornet’s pick specifically.  If you only care about what the 45th pick will do for you, then skip to the last section of this post.

Determining the Value of a Pick

To determine the value of a pick, I assigned an overall career ranking based on a bastardized Wages of Wins Win Score and applied it to all the players who have been taken in the draft since 1984.  I also cut off my evaluation of players after 2007 since most players don’t reach their true level of play until after their third full season.  Finally I jammed those numbers into a simple Grade ranking. Below is what each grade means, and I give an example player the Hornets drafted:

  • N/A – the player never logged an NBA minute. (Tim Pickett, Andrew Betts)
  • F – The player never developed and earned only minor garbage time minutes – or was really, really bad. (Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons. Yay 2006 draft!)
  • D – A substitute – possibly in the rotation, but a 7th or 8th man at best. (Lee Nailon, Julian Wright)
  • C – A fringe starter, sixth man sort. (JR Smith)
  • B – A solid starter (David West, Jamaal Magloire)
  • A – A star (Pre-fat Baron Davis, Chris Paul)

The picks fell rather logically into groups based on their average rating so I’ve collated those groups in the below table and then determined the % chance of receiving each classification of player.

Pick(s) “A” Ranking “B” Ranking “C” Ranking “D” Ranking “F” Ranking “N/A” Ranking
1 57% 13% 22% 4% 4% 0%
2-5 34% 23% 24% 13% 5% 1%
6-10 17% 17% 22% 28% 16% 0%
11-18 8% 13% 20% 28% 30% 1%
19-27 5% 8% 20% 31% 32% 3%
28-37 2% 5% 10% 28% 40% 15%
38-60 1% 2% 10% 19% 29% 40%

So what does this tell us? The 1st pick is worth a lot more than any other pick, period. With the 1st pick of the draft, there is a 70% chance to land a major player.  However, as soon as the pick drops to any of the spots between 2nd and 5th, only a little more than half the players are starter quality, and one out of five will be awful(D ranking or worse). I should also note there is no significant difference between picking 2nd and picking 5th. The players taken in those spots produce almost equally in the NBA.

The next group are Picks 6-10. As you can see, the odds of picking up a starting-caliber player or better has dropped to one in three. Still, with one of these picks, there is a great chance of landing a useful player(54%), and a solid 17% chance you’ll get a star.

Picks 11-18 are where the numbers start bottoming out. While still likely to land a rotation player, the chance of getting a star is small.  You are also more likely to get a total bust(31%) than you are to get a starter.(22%)

19-27 continues the trend, with more players falling into grade D and lower(66%) though it is still possible to land a good player.  The odds are that one(Darren Collison, anybody?) of the nine players picked in this range will at least be a starter, and another two will land in a rotation.  The rest?  Yuck.

Picks 28 through 37 are essentially the last chance to get anyone worth drafting. Almost half the players taken here will only stick with a team for a couple years while a rare few will pan out and be good.(7%) The bad news is a team has the same chance that a draft pick will never play an NBA minute(15%) as it does finding a valuable contributer.(16%)

Players taken after 37 are pretty much throwaways. Almost half will never play in the NBA, and a bare 2% will ever be considered good.  Two teams will probably dig up decent rotation players, but they’ve clearly beaten the odds.

What will the 45th pick do for me?

To wrap this post up, here are the stats specifically for the 45th pick of the draft, which is currently held by the Hornets:

Pick A B C D F N/A
45th 0% 0% 30% 26% 35% 9%

As you can see, the 45th pick has never yielded a good or great player.  However, the pick has yielded a surprising number of mediocre players.  As a result of the large number of “C” ranked players, this pick actually has the highest average rating of any pick in the second round.  Some of the decent players selected 45th that you might recognize are Matt Barnes of the Lakers, Matt Bonner of the Spurs and Louis Williams of the 76ers.(who is on the verge of being a “B” player)

I’ll leave it up to you whether you want to feel that the 45th pick is due a good player, whether we should feel good about all the decent players the pick has generated in the past, or whether we have to be terrified by the law of averages, and expect nothing.


  1. cp3xxnewO

    June 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I wouldnt mind a C type player with the 45th pick… nobody expects a star. A guy like David Lighty from Ohio State could be a solid backup 2 guard with his good defense and long range shooting. He doesnt have much potential, but we need to build a strong team now if we want to convince Chris Paul to stay, right?

  2. Hordan

    June 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    The 2nd pick is cursed. History of 2nd rounders: Stromile Swift (2000), Tyson Chandler (2001), Jay Williams (2002), Darko Milicic (2003), Emeka Okafor (2004), Marvin Williams (2005), Lamarcus Aldridge (2006), Kevin Durant (2007), Michael Beasley (2008), Hasheem Thabeet (2009), and Evan Turner (2010).

    Out of these 11 players there are two stars, two solid starters, two fringe starters, three roatation players, and two garbage minutes only/never developed players.

    Kevin Durant should not be in that list. The Blazers never should have passed him up. So if they did make the right decision and draft Durant, Oden would be in his place, putting him in the Never developed category. Also, Lamarcus Aldridge being called a star may be a bit of a stretch but he’s well on his way to being one of the best power forwards in the league.

    Okafor and Tyson aren’t worthy of number two overall, but they weren’t total busts. Beasley is still trying to find his way in the league, so I’d consider him more of a sixth man type of player.

    But look at all the busts: Darko, Stromile Swift, Jay Williams, and Hasheem Thabeet. I know this doesn’t pretain to the Hornets, but when I read Ryan’s method of ranking I had to go back and look. The T-Wolves are doomed.

    • JCS

      June 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      Players from DUKE are cursed. Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Cherokee Parks, Grant Hill (who somewhat beat the curse), William Avery, Trajan Langdon, Daniel Ewing, Roshown McCleod, Mike Dunleavy, Sheldan Williams, Jay Williams, Chris Duhon, Jon Scheyer, and soon-to-be bums Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, all have the same pattern. They all stayed at DUKE for more than a year – cursed. Elton Brand gets a pass since he, Grant Hill, J.J. Redick, Gerald Henderson (verdict is still out), and Shane Battier are the only ones to make something of themselves after playing at DUKE for multiple years. Conversely, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer are the only descent players because they went through the loop hole, which is to leave DUKE after one year.

  3. L_Reazy

    June 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Which one is worse:

    The Hornets drafting Kobe and then trading him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac


    The Blazers passing on the opportunity to draft Kevin Durant, and instead choosing to draft Greg Oden instead?


    • JCS

      June 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      Which one is worse:

      Drafting a convicted felon who disgraces Phil Jackson’s legacy


      Learning the hard way not to draft ogres made of glass

      • Nic

        June 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

        Who’s the convicted felon you speak of? Kobe was never convicted of anything…

      • JCS

        June 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

        I wanted to put something that rhymed with confused grapist but I figured Ryan would delete that.

  4. J

    June 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    1986 was the not just the bust draft but the drug bust draft beside the tragedy of Len Bias death the day after he was drafted but the players who had drug problems in the draft Chris Washburn,Roy Tarpley and Pearl Washington. I know this is an off subject but the NBA draft is a crapshoot anyway some teams are lucky to find gems in the draft.But hears are some No.45 picks from 1986 to 2010

    1986:Keith Smith (G) Loyola Marymount University Bucks
    1987:Brad Lohaus (C) Iowa Celtics
    1988:Tom Garrick (G) Rhode Island Clippers
    1989:Scott Haffner (G) Evansville Heat
    1990:Antonio Davis (F) Texas El-Paso Pacers
    1991:Bobby Phills (G) Southern University LA Bucks
    1992:Matt Geiger (C) Georgia Tech Heat
    1993:Byron Russell (G) Cal Long Beach Jazz
    1994:DeWayne Moton (F) Louisville Warriors
    1995:Troy Brown (F) Providence Hawks
    1996:Joe Vogel (G) Colorado Sonics
    1997:God Shammgod (G) Providence College Wizards
    1998:Toby Baliey (G) UCLA Lakers
    1999:Ryan Robertson (G) Kansas Kings
    2000:Jabari Smith (F) LSU Kings
    2001:Loren Woods (C) Arizona T-Wolves
    2002:Matt Barnes (F) UCLA Grizzlies
    2003:Matt Bonner (F) Florida Bulls
    2004:Beranard Robinson (G-F) Michigan Bobcats
    2005:Louis Williams (G) 76ers
    2006:Alexander Johnson (F) Florida St. Pacers
    2007:Jared Jordan (F) Marist Clippers
    2008:Goran Dragic (G) Spurs
    2009:Nick Calathes (F) Florida T-Wolves
    2010:Paulo Prestes T-Wolves

    • JCS

      June 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Nice J. Imagine if we could get the next Antonio Davis or Byron Russell.

  5. Michael McNamara

    June 22, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    And as I said in the forum- to add to this optimism, only one guy drafted in the second round even got 500 minutes last year. There was 1 B player (Landry Fields) and 2-3 D-minus players according to Ryan’s grades within the context of one season. Yes, some of them might blossom into B or C players in the future, but the point is that Hornets fans should not expect whoever we pick at 45 to contribute next year.

  6. L_Reazy

    June 23, 2011 at 1:10 am

    WHAT ABOUT THIS SCENARIO (assuming David West leaves via Free Agency):

    The Hornets use the Trade Exception to absorb Stephen Jackson’s contract which has 2yrs left. He will be 35-years old when the contract expires.

    Sign Kenyon Martin to a 2-year deal. He will be 35-years old when that deal expires.

    Sign Tracy McGrady and Joel Pryzbilla to moderate 1-year deals.

    Re-sign Carl Landry to a 4-year deal.

    RESULT: The Hornets would now have one of the ‘toughest’ teams in the league!

    F-Martin, F-Ariza, C-Okafor, G-Jackson, G-Paul

    F-Landry, F-Pondexter, C-Pryzbilla, G-McGrady, G-Jack


    • L_Reazy

      June 23, 2011 at 1:20 am

      In fact, if this team / contracts ever existed the only remaining players under contract for the 2013-2014 season (assuming CP3 re-signed for a long term deal in 2011 or 2012) would be Okafor (1-year left), Ariza (1-year left), Pondexter (1-year left), and Landry (2-years left if he re-signed this off-season for my suggested 4-year deal).

      So, taking on Stephen Jackson’s contract (at his age) and signing Kenyon Martin (at his older age) would not hurt the team’s near future transactions. It would enable the Hornets to be contenders for two years before adding a lot more talent to CP3 in 2013 when majority of the team’s contracts expire.


    • nikkoewan

      June 23, 2011 at 3:55 am

      can’t absorb Jackson’s salary using TPE…

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