The Jazz have loaded up on lottery picks, both ours and other teams' used ones. Everybody always seems to believe we are following the OKC model, which I believe is a dangerous way to go. It's like saying we're going to win the championship following the Detroit Pistons model from the year they won. They were an anomaly (in terms of team composition), as are the Thunder, in my opinion. I decided to check out draft picks, specifically lottery picks, back through 1995 (before that there were only 11 lottery picks) and excluding the most recent draft. There were either 13 or 14 lottery picks in each of these years. The basis I'm building off of is that you need at least one (likely more) all-star(s) to win a championship, and of course we currently have none. My question is what is the best way to acquire all-star caliber players?
Looking at data I took from Basketball Reference, if you have a lottery pick, there is roughly a 24% chance that you draft an all-star (this increase to 27% if you ignore the drafts from 2009-now to account for young players who may make it later). That's not great. Especially since our future is heavily supported by our brigade of lottery picks. Statistically, out of Burks, Hayward, Favors, and Kanter, only one will be an all-star. It's because of this that I honestly do believe trading draft picks and young players is always good business, if the price is right.
Building through the draft takes a good mix of skill and luck. I decided to look at the first three picks, and OKC, statistically, got lucky. The odds of a first pick (since 1995) becoming an all-star is almost 59%, the third pick falls just a bit shy of that at 53%. The second pick, for whatever reason, is just under 30%. Durant is in that 30%, Greg Oden is in the 41%. I find it interesting though that the top pick is such a highly coveted pick, but it's far from a sure thing. Since 2003 (the LeBron pick), the 1st pick has been just 50% (though Wall could make it one day).
There is a good thing here though. The Spurs. Really, the Spurs have been using the OKC model correctly for years. Yes, they got lucky getting Duncan, but they also draft Parker outside the lottery and Ginobili with the 2nd-to-last pick, and turned them into all-stars. They have also done a remarkable job drafting and trading for role-players to fill in the gaps. We, of course, now have Dennis Lindsey, who is far, far better than KOC if draft records mean anything. If there is one person I believe could find a way to build around what we have, it's Lindsey. Corbin is obviously no Popovich, so that could be an issue, but I'd like to think Corbin will either figure it out once we clear out some of the logjam, or he finds another job.
Just for fun, have you guys ever looked at players the Jazz draft vs. players draft right after or very soon after Jazz picks? It's amazing. Eric Maynor vs. Darren Collison in 2009. Kosta Koufos vs. Serge Ibaka or Nicolas Batum in 2008. Ante Tomic vs. Goran Dragic that same year. Mo Almond vs. Aaron Brooks in 2007. 2004 might be my favorite, we draft Kris Humphries one spot before Big Al, followed immediately by us drafting Kirk Snyder right before Josh Smith. Amazing. 2001 is pretty great too though. We draft Raul Lopez with the 24th pick. The next four picks were Gerald Wallace, Samuel Dalembert, Jamaal Tinsley, and Tony Parker. Somewhere in an alternate universe a team of Big Al, Serge Ibaka, Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace, and a some conglomerate of point guards is kicking ass.
Save us Dennis Lindsey, you're our only hope.