NBA PM: Is Arenas the Best Pick Since ’89?
Nothing is worse than utilizing a high draft pick on a player that ends up doing nothing in his NBA career.
The fact that a team already has a high pick is an indication that it wasn’t particularly good to start with, and the squandered opportunity only serves to compound those issues.
Likewise, drafting an elite player in the second round is one of the best things a team can do for itself. Second-round picks are cheap and generally not expected to do very much, so when one does break through the team that selected him looks and feels pretty smart.
Just how smart or dumb a team should feel was a matter debate until Roland Beech of 82games.com compiled his “Best/Worst Value Picks” chart. The table rates the bet and worst (doy) picks from 1989 until 2008 with an admittedly “simplistic” formula of “Rating = points/game + rebounds/game + assists/game” and then those figures were compared to the average for that particular player’s draft position.
So if Player A was drafted first overall and scores 10 PPG, but the rest of the top picks average 20, he’s going to represent a “low value” pick.
Some of these are very predictable. Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who was taken fifth overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2002 NBA Draft, is seen as the worst pick of the sample. He’s closely followed by former Warriors pick Patrick O’Bryant (ninth overall in 2006), Kwame Brown (first overall by the Wizards in 2001), Saer Sene (AKA Mouhamed Sene) who was taken by the Seattle SuperSonics with the 10th pick in 2006 is the fourth-worst pick. However Serge Ibaka’s listing seems like a mistake. After being drafted 24th overall in 2008, Ibaka didn’t arrive in the NBA until 2009, but his statistics apparently didn’t register in the computation.
That anomaly aside, the results were equally interesting on the “best” end of the spectrum, where current Grizzlies combo guard Gilbert Arenas, who was taken 30th overall by the Warriors in 2001, led the way. Carlos Boozer (Cavaliers, 34th in 2002), Dino Radja (Celtics, 40th in 1989), Kobe Bryant (Charlotte Hornets, 13th in 1996), Michael Redd (Bucks, 43rd in 2000), Manu Ginobili (Spurs, 57th in 1999), Rashard Lewis (Sonics, 32nd in 1998), Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks, ninth in 1998), Stephen Jackson (Suns, 42nd in 1997) and Cuttino Mobley (Rockets, 41st in 1998) rounded out the top 10.
One thing that stuck out to Beech was that the worst picks tended to be straight from high school or came from overseas:
“Another interesting fact is that of these top fifty values, 19 or 38% did not go to a US college, but came from either High School (8/50) or from international play (11/50). Now that the high school doors to the NBA are closed and the international game is fully on the radar, we may see less of this trend.”
The other obvious observation that can be drawn is that most of the worst picks were centers and power forwards because size is a narcotic in NBA front offices.
Luke Jackson (Cavaliers, 10th in 2004) is the only non “big man” ranked in the top 16 of the “worst picks.”
With June’s draft rapidly approaching, Beech’s work is useful to sift through.
Jordan Crawford remains optimistic about his, Wizards’ future
It’s been over a year since Jordan Crawford was traded from a playoff atmosphere with the Atlanta Hawks to a—how shall we put it—losing atmosphere with the Washington Wizards.
During his brief tenure in the Capital, Crawford has seen coach Flip Saunders get fired and he’s endured 64 losses in a very short amount of time.
But in spite of all the negativity, Crawford says he’s still enjoying playing for the 14-win Wizards this season.
“Great city, fans, they love their basketball,” Crawford told HOOPSWORLD. “I’ve been having a good time here, it’s been okay.”
Things may have gotten better for the shooting guard from Xavier at the trade deadline when fellow wing, Nick Young, was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers. Crawford doesn’t have any complaints about Young (well, no public complaints), but his departure has freed up more time for Crawford.
“You could kind of tell something was going to happen and then once it did, Nick got a great position in L.A. and it was time for me to step up and take more of a role,” Crawford explained.
Now Crawford is the team’s second-leading scorer (14.8 PPG) and he’s averaged over 18 PPG in the month of April thanks to a 37.5% mark from 3-point range. That’s a significant improvement for a 28.5% career 3-point shooter and it’s a positive Crawford can take into next season.
Crawford will continue to work on his perimeter shooting this summer in Los Angeles, Detroit and the Washington area, but that’s not the only thing he’ll be focused on.
“Everything,” he said, “Everything.”
Despite the losses, Crawford is excited to be paired in the backcourt with a young point guard like John Wall, but says the two need to “make it exciting”, “learn on the fly” and they need to be “tight.”
Fortunately, Crawford is one of the few players in the league that’s fast enough to keep up with Wall.
The biggest positive for the 23-year-old from Detroit is that he’s making improvements as the Wizards are making some of their own. He’s bumped his player Efficiency Rating over 15 (the league average) by taking much smarter shots this season (his true shooting percentage went from 45.6 as a rookie to 49.3).
“No, it’s a team game,” he said of knowing when to be aggressive on offense. “It’s basketball. It’s still the same when you grew up. You pick your spots to attack but you still play as a team.”
Most importantly, Crawford thinks the Wizards are set to contend for a playoff spot after acquiring Nene at the deadline.
“It’s a big trade,” he said. “Got a great player, it’s going to be exciting going into the next year.”
It’s hard to know if that’s true, but if Crawford continues to develop and Nene is healthy, it’s hard to imagine the Wizards being as dreadful as they were this year.
Garnett, Bynum named Players of the Week
Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum were named Players of the Week for the Eastern and Western Conferences respectively.
The Celtics went 4-1 last week while Garnett averaged 20 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. His 21-point, 12-rebound effort against the Nets on April 14th pushed the Celtics to an easy 12-point win.
Meanwhile, Bynum kept the Lakers perfect last week by averaging 21.8 points, 16.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game in Kobe Bryant’s absence. Most notably, Bynum had a 30-rebound performance in the April 11th win over the San Antonio Spurs.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to inn sure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNYC, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: If you are looking for the next NBA Chat, you can find them here: Upcoming NBA Chats.