What Can You Get For A 10 These Days?

Kurt —  May 24, 2005

There were no frozen envelopes or big surprises (unless you’re a Bucks fan) — the Lakers will be drafting 10th this year.

This is the Lakers’ first time in the lottery in 11 years and we fans are not quite sure what to expect, although some have visions of getting a starting point guard or a big man who will help anchor the franchise and fill most of Shaq’s shoes. Not likely — history shows that at 10 you get a good backup who could develop into a starter in a few years. However, every once in a while you can get lucky.

To help get an idea of what we can expect, here are the last decade’s worth of number 10 picks. The number after them in parenthases is their first season Win Shares — the sabermetric baseball stat assigning percentage of wins to a player converted to basketball. (Basketball-Reference did the calculations so here is their description: Win Shares are assigned to players based on their offense, defense, and playing time. A Win Share is worth one-third of a team win. If a team wins 60 games, there are 180 Win Shares to distribute among the players.)

2004 Luke Jackson, Cleveland (0)
2003 Jarvis Hayes, Washington (4)
2002 Caron Butler, Miami (11)
2001 Joe Johnson, Boston (9)
2000 Kenyon Dooling, Clippers (4)
1999 Jason Terry, Atlanta (6)
1998 Paul Pierce, Boston (11) (lockout season)
1997 Danny Fortson, Milwaulke (4)
1996 Eric Dampier, Indiana, (4)
1995 Kurt Thomas, Miami, (10)

Overall, you’re looking at a pretty solid group of players. There is one real franchise player, Paul Pierce, but mostly a group of guys you wouldn’t mind having as starters (Butler, Johnson, Fortson, Terry, Thomas). With Luke Jackson it’s a little early to tell — he had back surgery in January, not a good long term sign but he can bounce back.

For those looking for immediate starters, notice few of those players contributed a lot that first year. The average win share for these players their first year was 6.3 (take out the injured Jackson and it is 7). For some comparison, that’s basically what the Lakers got out of Brian Cook this season. The best players in their first years, Butler and Pierce, had 11 win shares, which is about what the Lakers got out of Jumaine Jones and Chris Mihm this past season. For a more detailed description of what you can expect from each position in the draft, the Stat Pimp did a detailed analysis a couple of years back that says basically the same thing, but he uses wins over replacement as his measure (and a lot more math, because he’s much, much better at that than I am).

Yes, if you look below these 10th overall players in each draft you can find someone in retrospect you would rather have taken (except in the case of Pierce). That may be even tougher in this draft, which has no standouts and where the lottery is, in the words of John Hollinger today, “Pervis Ellison waiting to happen.”

I’d like to think the Laker scouting is up to the challenge but even if they get a very good player it is likely there will be someone good passed over. The real question is can the Lakers get someone of quality who will be around for a while?

The Lakers should be able to get a good player at 10, either a point guard or a big who can come off the bench this next season and maybe by their third year be a productive starter. Last time the Lakers drafted this high they got Eddie Jones, and I think that’s about what we should get (quality wise). But if you’re expecting an instant starter or perfect piece to fit with Kobe, you’re going to be more disapointed than if you spent money to see Monster In Law.

Kurt

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