As most Blazer fans know, our 2013 1st round draft pick was traded to Charlotte as a top-12 protected pick. That means if the pick ends up in the top-12 we keep the pick (and Charlotte gets our 1st round pick the first year it is not in the top-12), otherwise the pick belongs to Charlotte.
I think it is nearly essential to our rebuilding strategy that we keep that pick this year, and it will also be critical to our success that the pick ends up closer to top-5 than top-10. So I wondered how many wins can the Blazers afford before they are in danger of losing that crucial pick to Charlotte this year? And how many wins would earn a #5 pick versus a #10 pick?
I'm sure most of us agree that the Blazers will be piling up wins left and right after LaMarcus Aldridge has appeared in his second All-Star game this February and Damian Lillard is closing in on his Rookie of the Year award. So at what point must Neil Olshey shut down LaMarcus for the season because of a sore shoulder from all those dunk-lobs from Lillard, mandate that Meyers Leonard get 35 minutes a night to enhance his development, and bench Batum in a humanitarian move to protect the rest of league's junk?
To answer those questions I went back and examined the win-loss records of the 14 lottery teams (prior to any draft pick trades and prior to the lottery drawing) for the last 10 years. Last year's lockout-shortened 66-game won-loss percentages were extended to a normal 82-game season. The data is presented in two tables below.
Table 1 shows the average, minimum, and maximum number of wins over 10 years for each of the top-14 draft slots.
Table 2 shows the average, highest, and lowest draft slot over 10 years that would have been earned for any specific number of wins.
Table 1 (10-Year Data)
|Pick #||# Wins||# Wins||# Wins|
Table 2 (10-Year Data)
|# Wins||Pick #||Pick #||Pick #|
1) Table 1 provides some idea how many wins the Blazers could accumulate before losing their top-12 protected pick to Charlotte. The #12 pick went to teams with an average of 38 wins, and never less than 35 wins.
So unless the Blazers win more than 35 games they probably won't lose the pick to Charlotte. In fact, no team with less than 38 wins fell to the #13 draft slot. Since my early pre-training camp prediction is 25-30 wins for the Blazers, I'm not worried about losing the 2013 pick to Charlotte.
2) Table 1 shows that the #10 pick went to teams that averaged 34 wins, and won between 32 and 37 games.
Since I predicated no more than 30 wins, it looks to me like we will getting a top-10 pick.
3) Table 1 shows that the #5 pick went to teams that averaged 26 wins, and won between 23 and 31 games.
Since my win prediction is 25-30 games, I conclude we have a shot at a #5 pick.
4) Table 2 shows that 30 wins have/would have earned the #7 pick on average, and as high as #4 or as low as #10.
5) Table 2 shows that 25 wins have/would have earned the #4 pick on average, and as high as #2 or as low as #7.
So based on 4) and 5) my 25-30 win prediction suggests a good chance to get a #4-#7 pick, while possibly rising as high as #2 or dropping as low as #10.
Since a #4-#7 pick fits my earlier concern that we need to get closer to a #5 pick than a #10 pick, I'm liking my pre-training camp prediction of 25-30 wins. If we get in danger of winning more, then I suspect Neil Olshey will be emphasizing to Terry Stotts our player development goals versus wins. Of course Neil will have the benefit of knowing exactly where everyone else stands in the lottery race to help him make those decisions when the time comes.
So based on your win predictions, what do you think the Blazers draft position will be next year (pre-lottery drawing)?