And, yeah ... I'll post this too to expand on what actually happens with players that get drafted where our picks are probably going to end up.
Just for fun, I thought I’d try and come up with an estimate of what type of players our traded picks were likely to garner. We always things like “mortgaging the future!” and “a boatload of future draft picks!” But what does that really mean? Where are the picks we traded likely to end up? And, historically, what players have been drafted at those positions?
So I decided to guess where each pick would end up. Will it be exactly right? Hell no. Will it be close? Maybe? Probably? I dunno. But let’s just see and see how those picks would have played out since 2000. Here’s what I figure—and I think I’m being very conservative
Miami 2021 (Unprotected). This is the “crown jewel” pick. Except … well, Miami has Butler now, and Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic and Justice Winslow. They are—well, not that bad. (And then there’s the Russell Westbrook whispers … ) Here’s the deal; in the last 20 years, the Heat have had two seasons with less than 36 wins. I think they’ll probably be a low playoff team in 2020-21. But, for this, I have them missing the playoffs and being in the lottery with a #10 pick.
Clippers 2022 (Unprotected). This is where we have to be thoughtful and realistic. Does anyone think we’ll *miss* the playoffs in 2021-22? Realistically … no. I mean, it’s possible—but (very, very) unlikely. Will we be a championship level team? I think, given our FO and our current players the odds are much greater the answer is yes. But, for this, I have the Clippers being a very good team and drafting at #24.
Miami 2023 (Lottery Protected). This will probably end up going down the road and maybe even flipping to a second round pick. But, for this, I am going to say that Miami *just* makes the playoffs, and therefore has a high non-lottery pick at #16.
Clippers 2024 (Unprotected). Kind of like 2022. I am assuming the Clippers have slipped a little and are drafting at #22. This is commensurate with about a 50 win team. I think this is a fair guess.
Clippers 2026 (Unprotected). We could be a trainwreck by 2026. Or, we could have spent the money from PG and Kawhi Leonard on new, young stars and be great. For this, I’m assuming close to the worst. We’re not good. We’re not terrible, like some of the Sterling Clippers teams, but we’re more like a 32-35 win team. That has us drafting at #11.
Two low lottery picks, a high non-lottery pick, and two picks in the 20s. I think that’s a reasonable guess. So … what sort of players, historically, would that mean? Well, if you start with the #10 pick in 2000, and add the #24 pick in 2001, the #16 pick in 2002, the #22 pick in 2003 and the #11 pick in 2005, you get
2000 - Keyon Dooling, Raul Lopez, Jiri Welsch, Zoran Planinic, Fran Vasquez
Okay—ouch. That was bad. And I’m sure you may think I planned it that way. I didn’t. If you go through the next 14 drafts, some very good and a couple of elite players get picked up at these spots. Here are the next drafts with starting year
2001 - Joe Johnson, Nenad Krstic, Troy Bell, Viktor Khryapa, J.J. Redick
2002 - Caron Butler, Brian Cook, Kirk Snuder, Jarrett Jack, Acie Law
2003 – Jarvis Hayes, Delonte West, Joey Graham, Marcus Williams, Jerryd Bayless
2004 – Luke Jackson, Luther Head, Rodney Carney, Jared Dudley, Terrence Williams
2005 – Andrew Bynum, Kyle Lowry, Nick Young, Courtney Lee, Cole Aldrich
2006 – Mouhamed Sene, Rudy Fernandez, Marreese Speights, Victor Claver, Klay Thompson
2007 – Spencer Hawes, Serge Ibaka, James Johnson, Elliot Williams, Meyers Leonard
2008 – Brook Lopez, Byron Mullens, Luke Babbitt, Kenneth Faried, Michael Carter-Williams
2009 – Paul George, Damion James, Nikola Vucevic, Fab Melo, Doug McDermott
2010 – Jimmer Fredette, Reggie Jackson, Royce White, Mason Plumlee, Myles Turner
2011 – Austin Rivers, Jared Cunningham, Lucas Nogueira, Jordan Adams, Domantas Sabonis
2012 – C.J. McCollum, Tim Hardaway, Jusuf Nurkic, Bobby Portis, Malik Monk
2013 – Elfrid Payton, Shabazz Napier, Terry Rozier, Malachi Richardson, Shai Gilgeous Alexander
So, the team that started drafting in 2012 is a power house. They made out like bandits. 2001 is a good group. The 2009 group is good— because it’s anchored by Paul George. 2005 is “what if?” thing because of Bynum.
But, seriously. Most of the groups are mediocre to garbage. Some of have a great player like Klay Thompson … surrounded by garbage. Some have one good player and a couple of meh players. That’s 14 years worth of picks, and you get one very good and two good groupings. 3 out of 14 is not odds you want to go to Vegas with.
And, look … there’s no cherry picking a certain draft number because it’s good or bad. I tried to make this random. There are very good and great players here … Joe Johnson, Caron Butler, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Serge Ibaka, Paul George, Nikola Vucevic, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, C. J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic. I didn’t seriously look into it, but I’m willing to bet that choosing five realistic picks—say one in top 8-11 from year one, one in the 10-13 range from year six, one in the top 14-18 in year three, and two in the low to mid 20s in years two and four ... You can find a certain year with certain picks and go—“Wow!” But if you keep those same picks and look how it went in the other years—not so good. The value isn’t there.
So, yeah. Unless you’re regularly getting picks in the top 7 … or really, the top 5, the value of draft picks is more for what you deal them for than anything else. Essentially, we’re betting on ourselves not to suck so bad that we’re giving up top 7 picks. I think with our current FO and lineup that’s a good bet.