Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Notice a common thread running through this list of lottery busts?

How about the fact that every single one of them were either power forwards or centers? (OK, maybe Jonathan Bender is a small forward, but he's also 6'11, so maybe the point is that they're all very tall people.) That sets up two possible explanations:

1. We remember the Pervis Ellisons of the world more than we remember the Bo Kimbles.

2. Most major Draft mistakes are caused by GMs reaching for big men.

I'm leaning with #2. Because great (or even good) big men are incredibly rare and a tremendous asset, GMs go overboard trying to find them. As a result, they take B centers over A perimeter players. Think about these examples:

1993 - Shawn Bradley is taken in between Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, and Jamal Mashburn.

1998 - Michael Olowokandi goes ahead of Mike Bibby, Raef LaFrentz, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, and Paul Pierce.

2003 - Darko Mlicic is taken in between LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade. (Admittedly, this is imperfect because Mlicic and Bosh play the same position.)

You think this might have any implications for the 2005 Draft? I said it before and I'm saying it again: there's nothing wrong with taking Marvin Williams. It's more important to get a great player than it is to fill a need, especially when good centers are so rare that championship teams can win with power forwards at center.

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