BOZICH | Five Things the NBA Playoffs say about the Draft (and one-and-dones)
What lessons can be learned about the NBA Draft from the 2017 NBA Playoffs? How many second-round picks are filling important roles? How well have one-and-dones played?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – You make the five-hour drive to Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine and you have time to ask and research questions.
What are NBA coaches and scouts looking for in these workouts that they have not seen in games? (Are they just looking to get out of the house?) How does running around cones translate into winning basketball games?
Sometimes you even ask this: How critical is the NBA Draft?
Do teams figure it out? At what point do they start wishing, hoping and praying?
After returning from Chicago Friday night, I watched the Washington Wizards push the Boston Celtics into Game Seven of the Eastern Conference semifinals. I also decided to check the draft credentials of the top guys still performing in the playoffs.
I studied what I considered the top eight guys on the five remaining teams – Washington, Boston, Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio – and tried to answer the following questions on the final 40:
1. How high were they drafted?
The first-round is wonderful but it’s not mandatory for NBA individual success. Of the final 40 guys still playing the primary minutes for the five remaining teams, 28 were taken in the first round.
That's 70 percent.
Three – LeBron James in 2003, John Wall in 2010 and Kyrie Irving in 2011 -- were the overall top picks in their draft classes. (How about the buzzer beater Wall hit to put the Wizards in Game Seven against the Celtics Monday night. I'm sure his first congratulatory text was from Colin Cowherd, right?)
NBA teams get it right more than they get it wrong. Of the 28 first-rounders, 16 were top 10 picks, 10 were top 20 picks and two were top 30 picks.
2. How many second rounders have fought their way through to the final 40?
This is where NBA guys do not get it right. Of the final 40 guys still playing, 11 were taken in the second round along with one guy (Jonathon Simmons of the Spurs) who was undrafted.
As you’ve seen, several second-round guys are players their teams can’t win without – Draymond Green of Golden State (35th overall in 2012), Isaiah Thomas of Boston (No. 60 in 2011), Danny Green of the Spurs (46th overall in 2009).
3. How many years did they play college basketball?
Four American players in the final 40 skipped college – James, Shaun Livingston, Amir Johnson and J.R. Smith. Foreign basketball players continue to impact the NBA. Seven of the final 40 grew up overseas.
Of the 29 who did play college hoops, it breaks down this way:
One-and-dones – eight.
Two-and-dones – eight.
Three-and-dones – eight.
Here are the five guys who used all four seasons of college eligibility:
Danny Green at North Carolina; Jae Crowder who played junior college ball before finishing at Marquette; Channing Frye of Arizona; Kyle Korver of Creighton and Draymond Green of Michigan State.
4. Of the guys who played in college, how long did they generally remain on campus?
The number is 2.3 years.
I settled on that number by taking the total number of college years played by the group (68) and dividing it by the 29 with college experience.
Two guys won NCAA titles: Al Horford of Florida, Green of North Carolina.
5. Which programs pumped out the most pros?
The 29 players were produced by 23 programs. Four schools have more than one guy represented in the final 40.
Take a bow, Rick Barnes. The list is led by Texas with Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson, Avery Bradley and Lamarcus Aldridge. (No national titles or even Final Fours in the group, though. No wonder Barnes is at Tennessee.)
Three other schools have two players:
Florida with Horford and Bradley Beal; Kansas with Kelly Oubre and Markieff Morris and Arizona with Frye and Andre Iguodala.
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