I've been watching the NBA Draft since the league instituted the lottery system in 1985. I've seen a lot of terrible picks in that twenty plus years. GMs seem to make the same dumb mistakes over and over. With this in mind, I'd like to introduce a handful of hints to the lucky losers who get to choose from this year's cream of the crop:
1. NEVER PICK THE WHITE GUY
Simple rule of thumb: if you have a lottery pick, you need to turn that pick into a franchise player who helps you win a title. Period. Since '85, Dirk Nowitzki's the only white guy who comes close to making that claim.
Check out this list of 'non franchise' white dudes chosen in the lottery since '85:
Darko Milicic, Shawn Bradley, Mike Dunleavy, Andrea Bargnani, Adam Morrison, JJ Redick, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari, Joe Alexander, Spencer Hawes, Andrew Bogut, Yaroslav Korolev, Luke Jackson, Andris Biedrins, Robert Swift, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Vladomir Radmanovic, Troy Murphy, Mike Miller, Chris Mihm, Joel Przybilla, Wally Szczerbiak, Alexandr Radojevic, Raef Lafrentz, Jason Williams, Michael Doleac, Keith Van Horn, Austin Croshere, Todd Fuller, Vitaly Potapenko, Bryant Reeves, Cherokee Parks, Eric Montross, Bobby Hurley, Scott Haskin, Christian Laettner, Tom Gugliotta, Adam Keefe, Luc Longley, Alec Kessler, Danny Ferry, Rik Smits, Rex Chapman, Rony Seikaly, Will Perdue, Dan Majerle, Joe Wolf, Jon Koncak, Joe Kleine, Chris Mullin, Detlef Schremph.
Now I know what you're about to say. 'Don't shit on Mullin and Schremph, dude. Those guys were good!' I know they were good. My point is that both of them were taken ahead of Karl Malone. Never pick the white guy.
If you're interested in seeing how many great players were drafted behind the list above, here's the link.
2. TAKE THE BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE IN SPITE OF POSITIONAL NEED OR INJURY CONCERNS
This seems like such a no-brainer but too often teams get scared off by position redundancy or lingering injuries. Who can forget Milwaukee taking Bogut over CP3 and Deron Williams because the Bucks needed a center? Fucking idiots. Or teams getting spooked by Brandon Roy's knee injury and taking Adam Morrison and Shelden Fucking Williams ahead of him? Clueless.
3. NEVER DRAFT A GUY WHO'S ALREADY SAID HE WON'T PLAY FOR YOU
Attention, Clippers. I'm speaking to you directly here. You made the mistake of drafting Danny Ferry second overall in 1989 (ahead of Glen Rice and Tim Hardaway) despite the fact that he stated publicly he'd rather go to Europe for a year than wear your jersey. Learn your lesson and avoid Ricky Rubio at all costs (see also rule #1).
The other famous 'don't draft me' moment- Steve Francis/Vancouver (now Memphis).
4. DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE PROGRAM HYPE
Just because a player went to North Carolina, Connecticut, Duke, Kansas or UCLA doesn't automatically mean he can play in the NBA. Search for the best player, not the best program. For every Michael Jordan that attended NC, there's a JR Reid. For every Paul Pierce, a Raef Lafrentz.
5. NO ONE DIMENSIONAL PLAYERS
Hasheem Thabeet can block shots. As far as I can tell, that's all he can do. A top-14 pick needs to be versatile and multifaceted. Stephen Curry can shoot, sure. But does he have the requisite handle to run an offense? Can he defend? These are the questions teams need to ask themselves before choosing. One dimensional players are pretty easy to pick up in free agency (see DeSagana Diop, Boobie Gibson) so it doesn't make sense to waste your chance at a true superstar in favor of a specialist.
Check out this mock draft from NBADraft.net. See how many potentially bad decisions area already forecast in the first 14 picks.
Pictured- Rubio. Warning! Violates Rules 1, 2, 3. And eats balls.