The 2014 NBA Draft is looking incredibly deep, with game-changing talents like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid, whose stock has fallen due to a foot injury.
This Thursday’s draft begs the question: When drafting a player, what should you go for?
Many GMs take the best player available.
Take for instance the then-New Orleans Hornets, who had Chris Paul fall into their laps at four in 2005. Drawing comparisons to Isiah Thomas, Paul didn’t disappoint, en route to a Rookie of the Year award.
Today, he’s arguably, the best point guard in the league and has gained fame with his State Farm commercials with his “twin” Cliff.
Not too shabby.
On the flip side, there’s Michael Beasley, who was an absolutely dominant scorer in college. To the Miami Heat, it was a win-win if either Derrick Rose or Beasley fell to them at two in 2008.
Now, inconsistency and marijuana-related issues have relegated Beasley to mop-up duty.
Grantland even bestowed the nickname “human victory blunt” to Beasley. Yikes.
Other GMs go for position of need.
The Golden State Warriors needed a point guard in 2009, after having a revolving door following Baron Davis’ departure. They drafted Stephen Curry at eight, which was considered a reach.
Curry, the guy that didn’t have NBA athleticism, is now the league’s most-feared shooter and modern-day flamethrower.
There’s also the world-famous Sam Bowie snafu of 1984. The Portland Trailblazers already had a rising swingman in Clyde Drexler. There was no need for some guy named Michael Jordan. They needed a center, so they got Bowie, the man they coveted.
A mess of injuries ended his career, while that Jordan guy, I believe, won a couple of awards and got a shoe deal.
Or, is it best to go overseas?
The Dallas Mavericks ventured into Germany when acquiring Dirk Nowitzki in a draft day deal. Being criticized for being a face-up, jump-shooting big man, Nowitzki became a basketball pioneer for future big men by using his range as a weapon.
He’s a former NBA MVP, 2011 NBA champion and everyone’s favorite player that same year, when he ripped the hearts out of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
He’s also the reason why we sprain our ankles, trying to mimic his one-legged fadeaways.
And then there’s Darko Milicic.
In 2003, the Detroit Pistons wanted a piece of the Nowitzki pie and took Milicic, a European big that could, supposedly, do it all. For now, we’ll ignore the fact that Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were picked immediately after. Just for now.
His inability to do anything well except, maybe, block shots, allows for him to be next to Bowie in biggest draft bust conversations. Not exactly ideal.
There’s no real formula to the NBA Draft. You do your homework, pray you get your guy and hope it works out.
If not, oh well. There’s always next year, until Cleveland steals your number one pick.