Draft Mining

Although I despise the sensationalist opinions of John Conzano, I have to say that his article on the Blazers keeping their #10 selection got me thinking. I've been spending all of my Blazermaniacal time thinking of ways we could cash in on trading that sucker that I haven't really given any consideration to keeping it. The 10th pick just sounds so unsexy. I thought that, in order to wrap my mind around the possibility of keeping it, I should do some research and see what types of players were taken with the 10th pick in the draft in years past. So, I spent some time today deep in the chasms of the drafts of years past. I dug back 10 years in order to get a better idea of what kind of expectations I should have entering this year's draft. First, who was taken with the 10th overall pick:

#10 Picks In The Last 10 Years:

2012: Austin Rivers

2011: Jimmer Fredette

2010: Paul George

2009: Brandon Jennings

2008: Brook Lopez

2007: Spencer Hawes

2006: Mouhamed Sene

2005: Andrew Bynum

2004: Luke Jackson

2003: Jarvis Hayes

In this list, the 4 that stand out the most to me are Andrew Bynum (pre-injury), Brook Lopez, Brandon Jennings, and Paul George. Those are some pretty decent players to be taken with the 10th overall pick in the draft. Heck, Paul George led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals this year! Not too shabby for a 3rd year #10 pick. I would say though, overall, the list is quite underwhelming. Once I got a little further into my research, feeling a bit hopeless, I decided to expand my search a bit further. Which players, taken after the #10 pick, have turned out to have a decent career trajectory in the last 10 years? I went with a top 25 approach and my findings surprised me quite a bit:

Top 25 Post Pick 10:

2003, #18: David West (*)

2004, #15: Al Jefferson

2004, #17: Josh Smith

2004, #20: Jameer Nelson (*)

2005, #17: Danny Granger (*)

2005, #30: David Lee (*)

2006, #21: Rajon Rondo (*)

2007, #28: Tiago Splitter

2008, #17: Roy Hibbert (*)

2008, #18: JaVale McGee

2008, #19: JJ Hickson

2008, #24: Serge Ibaka

2008, #25: Nicolas Batum

2008, #26: George Hill

2008, #31: Nicola Pekovic

2008, #35: DeAndre Jordan

2008, #36: Omer Asik

2009, #17: Jrue Holiday (*)

2009, #18: Ty Lawson

2009, #20: Eric Maynor

2009, #37: DeJuan Blair

2010, #15: Larry Sanders

2010, #18: Eric Bledsoe

2011, #15: Kawhi Leonard

2011, #22: Kenneth Faried

2012: Too Soon

(*) Indicates All-Star

That's quite a list of quality players that have been taken in the back two-thirds of the 1st round of the draft. In the last 10 years, 7 of them have even turned in All-Star seasons. This isn't counting All-Star hopefuls like Faried, Jordan, Hill, and Ibaka - who seem to all have a decent case each year. If we're going by percentages in determining our hopes, the Blazers have a slim chance of pulling out a good, quality, potentially All-Star caliber player - but it's possible. Years like 2003 (West) and 2006 (Rando) give me even more hope - both were incredibly weak drafts and still there were late-round All-Stars to be found. Let's hope Olshey & CO can figure out who that diamond in the rough is and gittem.

(Also of note): Although it only produced 1 late-round All-Star thus far, 2008 was a CRAZY deep draft!!! McGee, Pekovic, Jordan, and Asik (all tied to the Blazers' center acquisition talks this offseason) were all drafted that year - 3 of which were drafted in the 2nd round! There were 8 prominent starting players drafted at #17 and beyond. This is in addition to the Rose, Mayo, Westbrook, Love, and Gallinari picks in the top 10. Has there ever been a deeper draft than 2008?

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