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A Decade of NBA Draft Ups and Downs

Eric Pincus breaks down each individual class from the last 10 NBA Drafts.

Eric Pincus



The NBA will hold its annual draft on Thursday night.

The top two prospects are widely believed to be LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram, although it’s yet to be determined if the Philadelphia 76ers (first overall) and Los Angeles Lakers (second) agree.

Every draft class is unique.  Some produce multiple All-Stars, but are shallow in depth. Others can boast a long list of starters, but few to no superstars.

Naturally, it takes time for young players to develop into franchise players.  The last three draft classes have yet to produce a single All-Star, but Minnesota Timberwolves forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns, taken first in 2014, looks like he’ll start earning that honor relatively quickly.

The 2010 class produced All-Stars in Paul George, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, but 58.3 percent either didn’t make the league or fell out within five years.

How will Thursday’s 60 prospects fare?  The challenge for teams, when selecting a number of 18- or 19-year-old kids, is guessing correctly.

The true answer may not be clear for a handful of years.

Some teams are more successful than others, as detailed in A Decade of Drafts: Which Teams Fared Best?

The following is a breakdown of the last 10 drafts, focusing on the number of All-Stars and starters in each class – along with a count of players who weren’t on NBA rosters after five season:


Class Individual All-Stars Total Appearances Average Appearances per Year
2006 5 17 1.7
2007 4 15 1.7
2008 5 14 1.8
2009 6 16 2.3
2010 3 8 1.3
2011 5 9 1.8
2012 4 7 1.8
2013 0 0 0
2014 0 0 0
2015 0 0 0
Total 32 (5.3%) 86 12.4

The 2009 class generated the most individual All-Stars and was just one shy of matching 2006’s total appearances mark, despite the latter class’ three-year head start.

None of the last three classes have produced All-Stars, yet.  Only Blake Griffin was named an All-Star as a rookie, and that technically was in his second year of service after injuries knocked him out for the 2009-10 season.

Six players were named All-Stars in their second season (Brandon Roy, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose and Griffin – noting the argument that the Clippers forward was still considered a rookie).

Five were All-Stars in their third year (Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Paul George and Kevin Love).

By that standard, the 2015 class may not be behind without any All-Stars, but 2013 and 2014 are lagging.

Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly the Seattle SuperSonics) and Golden State Warriors each drafted the most All-Stars over the last 10 years (three apiece) – although Oklahoma City’s James Harden wasn’t honored as such until he was traded to the Houston Rockets.

Highest Paid Players by Class

Class Player Total
2006 LaMarcus Aldridge $171,154,937
2007 Marc Gasol $180,435,514
2008 Kevin Love $172,106,169
2009 Blake Griffin $117,873,362
2010 John Wall $108,639,665
2011 Kyrie Irving $117,541,135
2012 Damian Lillard $154,260,167*
2013 Victor Oladipo $21,487,440
2014 Andrew Wiggins $24,850,243
2015 Karl-Anthony Towns $25,720,035
Total $1,090,140,842*

* The exact figures for Lillard’s extension won’t be established until early July.

Numbers include past and future NBA earnings, including any option years ahead.

Lillard beat out Anthony Davis, by virtue of a bigger contract extension qualifying for the “Rose Rule.”  Lillard qualified by two All-NBA honors (second team for 2015-16 and third team in 2013-14).  Davis was named to the All-NBA First Team in 2015 and voted in as an All-Star starter once – but he needed two of either to qualify the bigger extension.

Gasol not only tops the list in career earnings, but he’s the only second-round pick on the list.


Class 50+ Starts on Average for Career 50+ Starts at least 40% of Career Not Yet in NBA Out in Five Years or Less Total
2006 6 (10.0%) 11 (18.3%) 8 (13.3%) 28 (46.7%) 36 (60.0%)
2007 7 (11.7%) 12 (20.0%) 11 (18.3%) 22 (36.7%) 33 (55.0%)
2008 11 (18.3%) 19 (31.7%) 9 (15.0%) 16 (26.7%) 25 (41.7%)
2009 8 (13.3%) 14 (23.3%) 10 (16.7%) 17 (28.3%) 27 (45.0%)
2010 5 (8.3%) 11 (18.3%) 9 (15.0%) 26 (43.3%) 35 (58.3%)
2011 9 (15.0%) 15 (25.0%) 7 (11.7%) 19 (31.7%) 26 (43.3%)
2012 7 (11.7%) 10 (16.7%) 5 (8.3%) 23 (38.3%) 28 (46.7%)
2013 8 (13.3%) 8 (13.3%) 11 (18.3%) 13 (21.7%) 24 (40.0%)
2014 4 (6.7%) 11 (18.3%) 10 (16.7%) 6 (10.0%) 16 (26.7%)
2015 4 (6.7%) 4 (6.7%) 20 (33.3%) 0 (0.0%) 20 (33.3%)
Total 69 (11.5%) 115 (19.2%) 100 (16.7%) 170 (28.3%) 270 (45.0%)

Few players hit the NBA as a starter.  The 2008 class yielded 19 players who started at least 50 games over a minimum of 40 percent of their careers.  The 2014 class has early starter depth, while 2013 is lagging.

Twenty players from the most recent draft in 2015 have yet to sign in the NBA.  Based on previous years, between nine and 15 will eventually make their way (like recent rookies Nikola Jokic, Nemanja Bjelica and Sasha Kaun).  The Philadelphia 76ers hope to have Dario Saric (2014-12th) ink this summer after staying overseas for two seasons.

Results by Tier

The following table shows the league averages over every five picks in the first round, and every 10 in the second:

Tier All-Star Starter Not in NBA
1-5 12 (24%) 30 (60%) 3 (6%)
6-10 8 (16%) 30 (60%) 7 (14%)
11-15 2 (4%) 12 (24%) 8 (16%)
16-20 3 (6%) 10 (20%) 8 (16%)
21-25 2 (4%) 8 (16%) 15 (30%)
26-30 1 (2%) 5 (10%) 20 (40%)
31-40 1 (2%) 11 (11%) 52 (52%)
41-50 2 (2%) 8 (8%) 70 (70%)
51-60 1 (1%) 1 (1%) 87 (87%)
Total 32 (5.3%) 115 (19.7%) 270 (45.0%)

The odds of finding an All-Star in the 15-30 range were better than it was in the second round, but the majority were top-10 picks.  The same can be said of starters, where 60 of the 115 starters (52.2 percent) were taken the top 10.

Teams were twice as likely to find an All-Star with a top-10 pick – and six times more likely to land a starter – than choose a player who didn’t last more than five years.

The lone stand-out in the 51-60 range is Isaiah Thomas, the 60th pick in 2011.  Only 13 of 100 players (87 percent) in that same tier lasted more than five years in the league.

The data for the most recent drafts is inherently incomplete.  The 2015 class has only had one year to prove itself.

Year by Year

The numbers for the 2011 lockout-shortened season are adjusted up from 66 games to 82.  Teams listed are after any pre-career trades.  Frontcourt (FC) includes forwards and centers; Backcourt (BC) includes guards.  Some fall between the two, and a subjective decision was made case by case.


Count: FC 37 (61.7 percent) — lottery nine (64.3 percent); BC 23 (38.3 percent) — lottery five (35.7 percent)

All-Stars: LaMarcus Aldridge (2nd — Portland Trail Blazers), Brandon Roy (6th — Trail Blazers), Rajon Rondo (21st — Boston Celtics), Kyle Lowry (24th — Memphis Grizzlies), Paul Millsap (47th — Utah Jazz)

Lottery Misses: Andrea Bargnani (1st — Toronto Raptors), Adam Morrison (3rd — Charlotte Hornets née Bobcats), Tyrus Thomas (4th — Chicago Bulls), Shelden Williams (5th — Atlanta Hawks), Patrick O’Bryant (9th — Golden State Warriors), Mouhamed Sene (10th — Oklahoma City Thunder née Seattle SuperSonics), Hilton Armstrong (12th — New Orleans Pelicans née Hornets)

Second-Round Steal(s): Paul Millsap (47th)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Randy Foye (7th — Minnesota Timberwolves), Rudy Gay (8th — Memphis Grizzlies), J.J. Redick (11th — Orlando Magic), Thabo Sefolosha (13th — Bulls), Ronnie Brewer (14th — Jazz), Shannon Brown (25th — Cleveland Cavaliers), Jordan Farmar (26th — Los Angeles Lakers), Steve Novak (31st — Houston Rockets), P.J. Tucker (35th — Raptors), Daniel Gibson (42 — Cavaliers), Ryan Hollins (50th — Hornets)

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — Six players (10.0 percent)

In 40+ percent of years — 11 (18.3 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: Eight (13.3 percent)

Out in Five Years or Fewer: 28 (46.7 percent); FC 18; BC 10

Notable: Four of the first six drafted played briefly in the NBA.  Roy was a tremendous player whose career was derailed by injury.  Leon Powe (49th) was a contributor with the Boston Celtics before injury.


Count: FC 38 (63.3 percent) — lottery 12 (86.0 percent); BC 22 (36.7 percent) — lottery two (14.0 percent)

All-Stars: Kevin Durant (2nd — Thunder née Sonics), Al Horford (3rd — Hawks), Joakim Noah (9th — Bulls), Marc Gasol (48th — Grizzlies via Lakers)

Lottery Misses: Greg Oden (1st — Blazers), Yi Jianlian (6th — Milwaukee Bucks), Acie Law (11th — Hawks), Julian Wright (13th — Pelicans née Hornets), Al Thornton (14th — Clippers)

Second-Round Steal(s): Marc Gasol (48th), Ramon Sessions (56th — Milwaukee Bucks)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Mike Conley (4th — Grizzlies), Jeff Green (5th Thunder née Sonics), Corey Brewer (9th — Timberwolves), Brandan Wright (8th — Warriors), Spencer Hawes (10th — Kings), Thaddeus Young (12th — 76ers), Rodney Stuckey (15th — Pistons), Nick Young (16th — Wizards), Marco Belinelli (18th — Warriors), Jason Smith (20th — 76ers), Jared Dudley (22nd — Hornets née Bobcats), Wilson Chandler (23rd — Knicks), Aaron Brooks (26th — Rockets), Arron Afflalo (27th — Pistons), Tiago Splitter (28th — Spurs), Carl Landry (31st — Rockets), Glen Davis (35th — Celtics), Josh McRoberts (37th — Blazers) and Ramon Sessions (56th).

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — Seven players (11.7 percent)

In 40+ percent of years — 12 (20.0 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: 11 (18.3 percent)

Out in Five Years or Fewer: 22 (36.7 percent); FC 13; BC nine

Overall, a quality draft, with a high volume of still-active players. But for the second year in a row, the top overall pick was dramatically overshadowed by the second.


Count: FC 39 (65.0 percent) — lottery seven (50.0 percent); BC 22 (36.7 percent) — lottery seven (50.0 percent)

All-Stars: Derrick Rose (1st — Bulls), Russell Westbrook (4th — Thunder née Sonics), Kevin Love (5th — Timberwolves), Brook Lopez (10th — Nets), Roy Hibbert (17th — Pacers)

Lottery Misses: Michael Beasley (2nd — Heat), O.J. Mayo (3rd — Grizzlies), Joe Alexander (8th — Bucks), Anthony Randolph (14th — Warriors)

Second-Round Steal(s): DeAndre Jordan (35th — Clippers), Goran Dragic (45th — Suns)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Danilo Gallinari (6th — Knicks), Eric Gordon (7th — Clippers), D.J. Augustin (9th — Hornets née Bobcats), Jerryd Bayless (11th — Blazers), Jason Thompson (12th — Kings), Brandon Rush (13th — Pacers), Robin Lopez (15th — Suns), Marreese Speights (16th –76ers), JaVale McGee (18th — Wizards), J.J. Hickson (19th — Cavaliers), Alexis Ajinca (20th — Hornets née Bobcats), Ryan Anderson (21st — Nets), Courtney Lee (22nd — Magic), Kosta Koufos (23rd — Jazz), Serge Ibaka (24th — Thunder née Sonics), Nicolas Batum (25th — Blazers), George Hill (26th — Spurs), Darell Arthur (27th — Grizzlies), Nikola Pekovic (31st — Wolves), Mario Chalmers (34th — HEAT), Omer Asik (36th — Bulls), Luc Mbah a Moute (37th — Bucks) and Sasha Kaun (56th — Cavaliers).

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — 11 players (18.3 percent)

In 40+ percent of years — 17 (28.3 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: Nine (15.0 percent)

Out in Five Years or Fewer: 16 (26.7 percent); FC eight; BC eight

Notable: Beasley and Mayo have had productive years in the NBA — “miss” may not be fair — but neither should have gone before Westbrook.  Kaun was just a rookie this last season, his fate as a hit or a miss is still to be determined.


Count: FC 30 (50.0 percent) — lottery five (35.7 percent); BC 30 (50.0 percent) — lottery nine (64.3 percent)

All-Stars: Blake Griffin (1st — Clippers), James Harden (3rd — Thunder), Stephen Curry (7th — Warriors), DeMar DeRozan (9th — Raptors), Jrue Holiday (17th — 76ers), Jeff Teague (19th — Hawks)

Lottery Misses: Hasheem Thabeet (2nd — Grizzlies), Jonny Flynn (6th — Wolves), Terrence Williams (11th — Nets); While Griffin and Harden are certainly justifiable, Tyreke Evans (4th — Kings) and Ricky Rubio (5th — Wolves) should not have been taken before Curry.

Second-Round Steal(s): Danny Green (46th — Cavaliers), although Cleveland let him go after a year, giving the Spurs the chance to sign and develop an important championship role player.

Between All-Stars and Misses: Jordan Hill (8th — Knicks), Brandon Jennings (10th — Bucks), Gerald Henderson (12th — Hornets née Bobcats), Tyler Hansbrough (13th — Pacers), James Johnson (16th — Bulls), Ty Lawson (18th — Nuggets),Darren Collison (21st — Pelicans née Hornets), Omri Casspi (23rd — Kings), Taj Gibson (26th — Bulls), DeMarre Carroll (27th — Grizzlies), Wayne Ellington (28th — Wolves), Toney Douglas (29th — Knicks), Jeff Ayres (31st — Kings), Dante Cunningham (33rd — Blazers), DeJuan Blair (37th — Pistons), Jonas Jerebko (39th — Pistons), Jodie Meeks (41st — Bucks), Patrick Beverley (42nd — Heat), Chase Budinger (44th — Pistons), Patty Mills (55th — Blazers).

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — eight players (13.3 percent)

In 40+ percent of years — 14 (23.3 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: 10 (16.7 percent)

Out in Five Years or Fewer: 17 (28.3 percent); FC nine; BC eight

Notable: Evans and Rubio should not be considered misses outside of overlooking Curry.


Count: FC 44 (73.3 percent) — lottery 11 (78.6 percent); BC 16 (26.7 percent) — lottery three (21.4 percent)

All-Stars: John Wall (1st — Wizards), DeMarcus Cousins (5th — Kings), Paul George (10th — Pacers)

Lottery Misses: Evan Turner (2nd — 76ers), Wesley Johnson (4th — Wolves) — neither should have been taken before Cousins; Ekpe Udoh (6th — Warriors), Xavier Henry (12th — Grizzlies); also any non-All-Stars taken before Paul George.

Second-Round Steal(s): Lance Stephenson (40th — Pacers), Hassan Whiteside (33rd — Kings) would have been a steal, but he didn’t last in Sacramento.

Between All-Stars and Misses: Derrick Favors (2nd — Nets), Greg Monroe (7th -Pistons), Al-Farouq Aminu (8th — Clippers), Gordon Hayward (9th — Jazz), Cole Aldrich (11th — Thunder), Ed Davis (13th — Raptors), Patrick Patterson (14th — Rockets), Luke Babbitt (16th — Blazers), Kevin Seraphin (17th — Wizards), Eric Bledsoe (18th — Clippers), Avery Bradley (19th — Celtics), James Anderson (20th — Spurs), Trevor Booker (23rd — Wizards), Quincy Pondexter (26th — Pelicans née Hornets), Greivis Vasquez (28th — Grizzlies), Landry Fields (29th — Knicks), Jeremy Evans (55th — Jazz)

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — five players (8.3 percent)

In 40+ percent of years — 11 (18.3 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: Nine (15.0 percent)

Out in Five Years or Fewer: 26 (43.3 percent); FC 18; BC eight

Notable: Bledsoe and Bradley were two sharp, non-lottery picks.  Turner was a very productive player with the Celtics last season.  Johnson has contributed as a role player, but they were both drafted too high.  Both Tibor Pleiss (31st — Jazz via Thunder) and Nemanja Bjelica (35th — Wolves) were rookies last season; too soon to declare either a hit or a miss.  Larry Sanders (15th — Bucks) was initially productive, but left the NBA for personal reasons.  Fields also had a short, five-year career.


Count: FC 33 (55.0 percent) — lottery eight (57.2 percent); BC 27 (45.0 percent) — lottery six (42.9 percent)

All-Stars: Kyrie Irving (1st — Cavaliers), Klay Thompson (11th — Warriors), Kawhi Leonard (15th — Spurs), Jimmy Butler (30th — Bulls), Isaiah Thomas (60th — Kings)

Lottery Misses: Derrick Williams (2nd — Wolves), Jan Vesely (6th — Wizards, Jimmer Fredette (10th — Kings)

Second-Round Steal(s): Chandler Parsons (38th — Rockets), Isaiah Thomas (60th — Kings)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Enes Kanter (3rd — Jazz), Tristan Thompson (4th — Cavaliers), Jonas Valanciunas (5th — Raptors), Bismack Biyombo (7th — Hornets née Bobcats), Brandon Knight (8th — Pistons), Kemba Walker — Hornets née Bobcats), Alec Burks (12th — Jazz), Markieff Morris (13th — Suns), Marcus Morris (14th — Rockets), Nikola Vucevic (16th — 76ers), Iman Shumpert (17th — Knicks),  Tobias Harris (19th — Bucks), Donatas Motiejunas (20th — Rockets), Kenneth Faried (22nd — Nuggets), Nikola Mirotic (23rd — Bulls), Reggie Jackson (24th — Thunder), Norris Cole (28th — Miami), Cory Joseph (29th — Spurs), Bojan Bogdanovic (31st — Wolves), Shelvin Mack (34th — Wizards), Jon Leuer (40th — Bucks), Lavoy Allen (50th — 76ers), E’Twaun Moore (55th — Celtics)

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — nine players (15.0 percent)

In 40+ percent of years — 15 (25.0 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: Seven (11.7 percent)

Currently Out Through Fifth Year: 19 (31.7 percent); FC 11; BC eight

Notable: The best first-round picks outside of the lottery were Leonard and Butler.  Other strong selections were Faried and Joseph.  Andrew Goudelock (46th — Lakers) is hoping to stick in the league again on a non-guaranteed deal with the Rockets.


Count: FC 39 (65.0 percent) — lottery seven (50.0 percent); BC 21 (35.0 percent) — lottery seven (50.0 percent)

All-Stars: Anthony Davis (1st — Pelicans née Hornets), Damian Lillard (6th — Blazers), Andre Drummond (9th — Pistons), Draymond Green (35th — Warriors)

Lottery Misses: Thomas Robinson (5th — Kings), Austin Rivers (10th — Pelicans née Hornets), Kendall Marshall (13th — Suns); Honorable mention to any non-All-Stars taken ahead of Lillard.

Second-Round Steal(s): Jae Crowder (34th — Mavericks), Green, Khris Middleton (39th — Pistons), Will Barton (40th — Blazers)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd — Hornets née Bobcats), Bradley Beal (32nd — Wizards), Dion Waiters (4th — Cavaliers), Harrison Barnes (7th — Warriors), Terrence Ross (8th — Raptors), Meyers Leonard (11th — Blazers), Jeremy Lamb (12th — Rockets), John Henson (14th — Bucks), Moe Harkless (15th — Magic), Tyler Zeller (17th — Cavaliers), Terrence Jones (18th — Rockets), Andrew Nicholson (19th — Magic), Evan Fournier (20th — Nuggets), Jared Sullinger (21st — Celtics), John Jenkins (23rd — Hawks), Tony Wroten (25th — Grizzlies), Miles Plumlee (26th — Pacers), Festus Ezeli — (30th — Warriors), Quincy Acy (38th — Raptors), Mike Scott (43rd — Hawks), Kyle O’Quinn (49th — Magic),  Robert Sacre (60th — Lakers)

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — seven players (10.0 percent), rounding up Kidd-Gilchrist from 49.5

In 40+ percent of years — 10 (16.7 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: Five (8.3 percent)

Currently Out Through Fourth Year: 23 (38.3 percent); FC 14; BC nine

Notable: Rivers has found a valuable role the past two seasons on the Clippers, but he wasn’t especially successful on the Pelicans.  Marshall has found a place in the NBA, but was cut early by the Suns.  Royce White (16th — Rockets) and Fab Melo (22nd — Celtics) have yet to find footholds in the league.


Count: FC 33 (55.0 percent) — lottery eight (57.1 percent); BC 27 (45.0 percent) — lottery six (42.9 percent)

All-Stars: None

Lottery Misses: Anthony Bennett (1st — Cavaliers), Trey Burke (9th — Jazz)

Second-Round Steal(s): Perhaps Allen Crabbe (31st), Isaiah Canaan (34th) and/or Joffrey Lauvergne (55th)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Victor Oladipo (2nd — Magic), Otto Porter (3rd — Wizard), Cody Zeller (4th — Hornets née Bobcats), Alex Len (5th — Suns), Nerlens Noel (6th — 76ers), Ben McLemore (7th — Kings), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (8th — Pistons), C.J. McCollum (10th — Blazers), Michael Carter-Williams (11th — 76ers), Steven Adams (12th — Thunder), Kelly Olynyk (13th — Celtics), Shabazz Muhammad (14th — Wolves), Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th — Bucks), Lucas Nogueira (16th — Raptors), Dennis Schroder (17th — Hawks), Shane Larkin (18th — Mavericks), Sergey Karasev (19th — Cavaliers), Tony Snell (20th — Bulls). Rudy Gobert (27th — Jazz), Archie Goodwin (29th — Suns), Jeff Withey (39th — Pelicans), Mike Muscala (44th — Hawks), Raul Neto (47th — Jazz), Ryan Kelly (48th — Lakers), James Ennis (50th — Heat), Lorenzo Brown (52nd — 76ers)

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — eight (13.3 percent), rounding up for Miles Plumlee from 49.7

In 40+ percent of years — eight (13.3 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: 11 (18.3 percent)

Currently Out Through Third Year: 13 (21.7 percent); FC four; BC nine

Notable: Gobert was a tremendous selection by Utah late in the first.  Others who stands out with the All-Star potential include Antetokounmpo and McCollum.


Count: FC 35 (58.3 percent) — lottery nine (64.3 percent); BC 25 (41.7 percent) — lottery five (35.7 percent)

All-Stars: None

Lottery Misses: Nik Stauskas (8th — Kings), although he showed he still has potential in stretches after a trade to the 76ers.

Second-Round Steal(s): Nikola Jokic (41st), Jordan Clarkson (46th)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Too early to say, too many to list.

At Least 50 Starts

Career average — four (6.7 percent)

In 40+ percent of years — 11 (18.3 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: 10 (16.7 percent)

Currently Out Through Second Year: Six (10.0 percent); FC three; BC three

Notable: Two lottery picks are expected to make their debut next season with the Sixers – Joel Embiid (3rd) and Dario Saric (12th).


Count: FC 36 (60.0 percent) — lottery nine (64.3 percent); BC 24 (40.0 percent) — lottery five (35.7 percent)

All-Stars: None

Lottery Misses: To be determined.

Second-Round Steal(s): Josh Richardson (40th — HEAT), Norman Powell (46th — Raptors)

Between All-Stars and Misses: Too early to say, too many to list.

At Least 50 Starts: Four (6.7 percent)

Yet to Reach NBA: 20 (33.3 percent)

Currently Out Through First Year: None

Notable: Devin Booker (13th — Suns) was an excellent late-lottery pick.  Larry Nance Jr. (27th — Lakers) was also a solid find.


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NBA Daily: Jayson Tatum: Boston’s X-Factor

Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum speaks to Michael Scotto about his early adjustments and success.

Michael Scotto



When All-Star Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia five minutes into the season, the outlook changed drastically for the Boston Celtics this season.

“I think our group, going into the season, there were a lot of expectations with Gordon [Hayward] and then the injury happens, and a lot of our younger guys had to grow up a lot quicker,” Celtics center Al Horford told Basketball Insiders on January 6 before facing the Brooklyn Nets. “It has given our team an opportunity to develop, to embrace the challenge that we have in front of us, and it’s opened up a lot of playing time for guys.

“I feel like we’re taking advantage of it. We’re growing as a group and, really, I feel like there’s no ceiling for our group. As long as we keep defending and keep doing the things that we need to do on the defensive end, I think it’s going to put us in a position to be successful.”

Those expectations included challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown and potentially a championship.

In Hayward’s absence, the youngest player had to grow up the quickest: third overall pick Jayson Tatum.

“It just gave me more of an opportunity that I wouldn’t have had,” Tatum told Basketball Insiders in a video interview. “It’s definitely unfortunate that it had to come the way it did with one of our best players getting hurt, but we’ve all just had to contribute more, step up more losing him on the first night. We had 81 more games left, so we couldn’t make excuses for that.”

The 19-year-old forward has made the most of his opportunity as a full-time starter in his rookie campaign. Tatum is averaging 13.9 points while shooting 50 percent from the field, a league-leading 46 percent from beyond the arc, and 82 percent from the foul line as of January 16.

The 6-foot-8 forward has shown a penchant for coming through in the clutch halfway through the season. According to Basketball-Reference, Tatum has shot 60 percent from the field and 54 percent from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter.

The Eastern Conference December Rookie of the Month has taken some notes in the clutch from four-time All-Star Kyrie Irving.

“I grew up in high school and college seeing him on TV and now seeing it live on your own team,” Tatum told Basketball Insiders. “He’s one of the best players in the world, and he puts on a show each and every night.”

Tatum and Irving, both Duke alumni, played for coach Mike Krzyzewski and are in their first season under Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

Tatum notices differences between the two coaches who have molded the talented teenager.

“They’re both great terrific coaches,” Tatum told Basketball Insiders. “Coach K has been coaching for a long time, but they definitely both know a lot. Brad is a lot more chill, Coach (K) is a lot more fired up, slapping the floor and yelling at guys. I definitely respect them both, and it’s an honor to play for both of them.”

Stevens’ defensive system has helped Tatum realize the defensive potential that drew comparisons to Paul George from scouts and executives before the draft. According to Basketball-Reference, the rookie is tied for third in defensive win shares with George (2.5) and ranks eighth in defensive rating (101.5).

On offense, Tatum has put in time with trainer Drew Hanlen of Pure Sweat Basketball to work on his isolation moves and improve his 3-point shooting. Tatum shot a pedestrian 34 percent from 3-point range at Duke, but now leads the NBA shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc.

Thus far, Tatum has shown encouraging flashes of becoming the player he ultimately wants to be on both sides of the court.

“Just being in the All-Star game as many times as possible, win MVP, win a championship,” Tatum told Basketball Insiders. “Everyone wants to win a championship. Just play as long as possible. Hopefully, I can do that.”

If Tatum continues to be near the top of the Rookie of the Year conversation, rise to the occasion in the fourth quarter and remain a lockdown defender and 3-point shooter, maybe he and the Celtics can realize those heightened expectations after all.

Is that a lot to ask of a 19-year-old?


However, as the NBA has learned, Tatum is no average teenager and the x-factor towards how far Boston can go this season.

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NBA Daily: Surging HEAT Must Overcome Adversity

The Miami HEAT have been hit with a number of injuries at shooting guard. Can they stay hot?

Buddy Grizzard



The Miami HEAT have surged to fourth in the Eastern Conference on the back of a 14-5 stretch since Dec. 9, including a seven-game win streak that ended with Monday’s 119-111 loss to the Bulls in Chicago. In the loss, shooting guard Tyler Johnson got his legs tangled with Robin Lopez and appeared to suffer a serious injury.

“I was scared,” said HEAT small forward Josh Richardson, who joined his teammates in racing down the court to check on Johnson. “You never want to see a guy, whether it’s on your team or the other team, down like that. I talked to him when he was in here [the locker room] and he said he didn’t know what was up.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra told pool reporters after the game that X-rays were negative. It was initially feared to be a knee injury, but Spoelstra said the knee is okay and the ankle is the area of concern. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tweeted that an MRI was not deemed necessary and Johnson will be listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, the HEAT is facing a serious shortage at shooting guard, having lost Dion Waiters to season-ending knee surgery, Rodney McGruder to a left tibia stress fracture that will likely keep him out until February, and now Johnson. Miami has applied for a $5.5 million disabled player exception after losing Waiters, according to the Sun-Sentinel. HEAT power forward James Johnson said the team will be looking for other players to step up.

“I think it’s the next guy’s gonna step up like we always do,” said Johnson. “As we have guys going down we also have guys getting back and getting back in their groove [like] Justise Winslow. Hopefully, it’s going to give another guy a chance to emerge on this team or in this league.”

Johnson added that the loss to Chicago came against a hot team and the HEAT didn’t have the right mental approach or defensive communication to slow them down.

“Our communication was lacking tonight,” said Johnson. “I think our brains rested tonight and that’s not like us. Tilt your hat to Chicago. They’re shooting the hell out the ball. They didn’t let us come back.”

Richardson echoed the theme of communication and the inability to counter a hot-shooting team.

“We weren’t communicating very well and we were not giving them enough static on the three-point line,” said Richardson. “They’ve been the number one three-point shooting team in the league for like 20 games now. They ran some good actions that we were not reacting right to.”

Spoelstra referred to a turnover-riddled close to the first half as “disgusting” basketball and agreed that the defense let his team down.

“I don’t know what our record is in HEAT franchise history when we give up 120-plus,” said Spoelstra. “I would guess that it’s probably not pretty good.”

The good news for Miami is that it can try a combination of Richardson and Winslow at the wings, while Wayne Ellington has been shooting the leather off the ball from three this season (40.5 percent on over seven attempts per game). The HEAT is the latest team to attempt to defy history by making a serious run without a superstar player. To make that a reality and remain in the upper half of the East’s playoff bracket, Miami will have to personify the “next man up” credo.

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NBA Daily: Is It Time To Cash Out On Kemba Walker?

Should the Hornets get serious about trading Kemba Walker or risk losing him in 2019 for next to nothing?

Steve Kyler



Is It Time To Sell?

Every professional sports team at some point has to decide when its time to cash out, especially if they have a star player heading towards free agency. The Charlotte Hornets are a team teetering on this decision with star guard Kemba Walker.

Now, let’s be honest for a moment. The Hornets are getting nothing of meaningful value in a trade for Walker if they decided to put him on the trade market—that’s something that will drive part of the decision. Check out these UK sports books with free bets!

The other part of the decision is evaluating the marketplace. This is where Charlotte may have an advantage that’s easy to overlook, which is the ability to massively overpay.

Looking ahead to the cap situations for the NBA in the summer of 2019, there doesn’t appear to be a lot worth getting excited over. While it’s possible someone unexpected goes into cap clearing mode to get space, the teams that project to have space in 2019 also project to have space in 2018, meaning some of that 2019 money could get spent in July and change the landscape even more.

But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume most of the 2019 cap space teams swing and miss on anything meaningful this summer and have flexibility the following summer. Not only will Walker be a name to watch, but guys like Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Dallas’ Harrison Barnes, Detroit’s Tobias Harris, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Cleveland’s Kevin Love can all hit unrestricted free agency.

That’s a pretty respectable free agent class.

While most of those names will likely stay where they are, especially if their teams shower them with full max contracts as most would expect, there are a few names that might make the market interesting.

The wrinkle in all of it is the teams projected to have space. Based on what’s guaranteed today, the top of the 2019 cap space board starts with the LA Clippers.

The Clippers currently have just Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari under contract going into 2019. They will have qualifying offers on Milos Teodosic and Sam Dekker, but that’s about it. If the Clippers play their cards right, they could be looking at what could be close to $48 million in usable cap space, making them the biggest threat to poach a player because of the LA marketplace. It should be noted, though, that DeAndre Jordan’s situation will have an impact here.

The Chicago Bulls come in second on the 2019 cap space list with just $35.77 million in cap commitments. The problem for the Bulls is they are going to have to start paying their young guys, most notably Zach LaVine. That’s won’t stop the Bulls from getting to cap space, it’s simply a variable the Bulls have to address this summer that could get expensive.

The Philadelphia 76ers could come in third on the 2019 cap space list, although it seems the 76ers may go all in this summer on re-signing guard J.J. Redick and a swing at a big fish or two. If the 76ers miss, they still have an extension for Ben Simmons to consider, but that shouldn’t impact the ability to get to meaningful space.

For the Hornets, those three situations have to be a little scary, as all of themff something Charlotte can’t offer – big markets and rosters (save maybe the Clippers) with potentially higher upside.

The next group of cap space markets might get to real salary cap room, but its more likely they spend this summer like say the Houston Rockets or are equal to less desirable situations like Sacramento (similar), Dallas (has Dennis Smith Jr), Atlanta (similar) or Phoenix (likely drafts a point guard).

That brings us back to the Hornets decision making process.

If the Hornets put Walker on the market, historically, teams get pennies on the dollar for high-level players headed to free agency. If traded, its more likely than not that Walker hits free agency and goes shopping. That’s the scary part of trading for an expiring contract unless you get the player early enough for him to grow attached to the situation, most players explore options. That tends to drive down the potential return.

The Hornets can also start extension discussions with Walker and his camp this summer and it seems more likely than not the Hornets will pay Walker the full max allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, which could be a deal north of $150 million and he could ink that in July.

It’s possible that someone offers the Hornets the moon for Walker. That has happened in the past. The Celtics gave the Cavaliers a pretty solid return for Irving, a player the Cavaliers had to trade. So it’s not out of the question real offers come in, especially with the NBA trade deadline approaching, but what’s far more likely is the Hornets wait out this season and try to extend Walker this summer.

League sources at the G-League Showcase last week, doubted that any traction could be had on Walker while admitting he’s a name to watch, despite however unlikely a trade seemed today.

The challenge for the Hornets isn’t as simple as cashing out of Walker, not just because the return will be low, but also because where would the franchise go from here?

It’s easy to say re-build through the draft, but glance around the NBA today – how many of those rebuild through the draft situations are yielding competitive teams? How many of them have been rebuilding for five years or more?

Rebuilding through the draft is a painfully slow and frustrating process that usually costs you a coach or two and typically a new front office. Rebuilding through the draft is time consuming and usually very expensive.

It’s easier to rebuild around a star already in place and the fact that Walker himself laughs off the notion of him being anywhere but Charlotte is at least a good sign and the Hornets have some time before they have to really make a decision.

At some point, Charlotte has to decide when to cash out. For the Hornets, the time to make that decision on Walker might be the February 8 trade deadline. It might also be July 1, when they’ll know whether Walker would sign a max contract extension.

If he won’t commit then, the Hornets have their answer and can use the summer to try an extract a package similar to what the Cavaliers got for Irving.

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