Draft Positions: What Type of Player Goes at Each Slot?


Tonight we find out the order of this year’s NBA Draft lottery.  And with that news, organizations and fans alike will get into a tizzy over what type of player they are going to be able to select with their pick.  And, like most things draft related, expectations will greatly outdo reality.

You’re not going to get a LeBron James very often with your NBA draft pick.  Depending on where you are selecting (and, obviously, the talent available in that year’s draft), you aren’t even going to get a key contributor, let alone an All-Star, with your selection.  Yet the expectations are always so high – ‘we have a lottery pick – we’re going to get a franchise savior’ this time of year.  And it’s not just the fans – team owners, GMs, etc. all count on hitting a home run in the draft each year.  The reality is not quite that exciting.

Using the wonderful Basketball Reference, I’ve examined all the lottery era drafts to determine the best case, worse case, and average scenario facing a team selecting at each spot in the draft, ranking the players based on Win Score/48 minutes.  And, as the chart shows, you’re not guaranteed a superstar regardless of where you pick.  Time to temper expectations.


Pick # Best Case Worse Case Average
1 David Robinson Anthony Bennett Larry Johnson
2 Kevin Durant Jay Williams Mike Bibby
3 James Harden Chris Washburn Baron Davis
4 Chris Paul Marcus Fizer Jamal Mashburn
5 Dwyane Wade Nikoloz Tskitishvili DeMarcus Cousins
6 Brandon Roy Jonny Flynn Joe Kleine
7 Kevin Johnson Bobby Hurley Lorenzen Wright
8 Brandan Wright Rafael Araujo Terrence Ross
9 Dirk Nowitzki Trey Burke Joel Przybilla
10 Andrew Bynum Austin Rivers Caron Butler
11 Reggie Miller Terrence Williams Bonzi Wells
12 Nick Collison Kenny Green Cherokee Parks
13 Karl Malone Kendall Marshall Bryant Stith
14 Peja Stojakovic Mateen Cleaves Eric Williams
15-20 Kawhi Leonard Kevin Brooks Iman Shumpert
21-30 Arvydas Sabonis Damion James Anthony Bonner
2nd Round Manu Ginobili Jamison Brewer Jimmy Oliver


About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto, The MMA Manifesto, & A Dry Heat.