Listen to a lot of people here and you get the impression that simply drafting high will be the solution to all Celtic problems, i.e., a) that a top five pick is an automatic cure-all, b) that getting # 2-3 over the # 6-7-8 is deeply critical, and c) that it will be a quick trip back to contending.
The Tim Duncan/Spurs example is oft cited as evidence, but I’m skeptical. The Spurs thing was a one-off total aberration. First, Duncan was added to another #1 pick, Robinson, and a #3 pick Elliott. That doesn’t happen everyday. Then the Spurs clairvoyantly added #28 Parker and #57 Ginobili. * Big flashback sigh alert! - In that 1999 draft, the Celtics had their only pick at # 55.... and chose the inimitable Kris Clack, a shooting guard whose shot sounded, unfortunately, just like his name. Never played an NBA minute. I was living in Europe and knew Ginobili's game. Sigh!
During the past four or five NBA drafts the Cavs, Kings, Wizards, and T-Wolves have lived at the top of the NBA draft with little to no result. Grabbing these numbers off of a Bill Simmons piece I wanted to see exactly how high those picks were and exactly what they got for them.
YR. # T-WOLVES # WIZARDS # KINGS # CAVS
2009 5/6 RUBIO, FLYNN
2010 4 W. JOHNSON 1 WALL 5 COUSINS 1/4 IRVING,
2011 2 D. WILLIAMS 6 VESELY 7 BIYAMBO THOMPSON
2012 3 BEAL 5 ROBINSON 4 WAITERS
2013 3 PORTER 7 MCLEMORE 1 BENNETT
AVG. 4 X 4 picks 3 X 4 picks 6 X 4 picks 2.5 X 4 picks
This is just another reminder that draft position itself has way less to do with success than the wisdom, vision, and capability of the person making the pick.