In some ways, the beauty of the draft comes from being absolutely unprepared for what will happen. The landscape of the NBA can and will change in one night, and no matter how much planning and predicting we do, inevitably we just watch what unfolds. So do general managers -- they can plan as many draft strategies as they like, but if the phone rings with a call of an offer they hadn't expected, those strategies have to be rethought on the fly. It's great fun, even if it is completely insane, and it is the highlight of the year for those of us obsessed with process.
That said, we'd be remiss not to at least try and predict what might happen or state what should happen. Therein lies half the fun.
Predictions and assessments often take the perspective of what the team might need. This is plenty logical enough. However, the decision makers making the very decisions we over-analyze have trends and biases just like any other human. So if we analyze their bodies of work in all their drafts to date, what conclusions can we draw?
All picks made, including picks made for someone else, are included. The only trades to be included are those either made on draft night or agreed to be made on draft night that actually took place in July, for those are picks assumed to be made for other teams. It is important to stipulate which these are, because you cannot credit someone for a tremendous value pick if the person who made that pick had no intention of the relevant player ever playing for his team.
In the event of a general manager having been a general manager elsewhere prior to their current gig, the picks made during that previous term of employment are included under their name and not segregated by team. This is after all an analysis of the trends of the individuals, not the team.
In some instances, it is not always clear who the ultimate decision maker is. And in some instances, it is clear that the person entitled "general manager" isn't it. These situations -- including but not limited to the John Paxson/Gar Forman combination in Chicago, and Chris Wallace's changing role in Memphis -- are reconciled as best they can be. It is further assumed that Randy Pfund was responsible for the Heat's drafting of players up to and including the 2008 draft. These yardsticks are somewhat arbitrary and possibly incorrect, but they have to be set somewhere.
In the case of Ernie Grunfeld, who has been drafting people since the 1980s, only his picks with the Bucks and Wizards are included simply because I don't know enough about the players from his Knicks days to pass judgement. (Sorry.)
On account of being so new to their jobs, Doc Rivers of the L.A. Clippers, David Griffin of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phil Jackson of the New York Knicks provide no information to work with and are thus excluded. Similarly, Charlotte's Rich Cho (whose Portland tenure managed to not include a draft at any point) is excluded because no one, not even Michael Jordan, seems to know who managed the 2012 Bobcats draft. (They had no picks in 2013.)
This is not an exact science, but it gives a good overview and is as accurate of a list as I feel can be made. To move directly to your team's GM, click the following links.
John Hammond, Milwaukee Bucks
2013: Drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo (15) and Ricky Ledo (43). Traded Ledo's rights with a future second-round pick for the rights to Nate Wolters (38).
2012: Drafted John Henson (14) and Doron Lamb (42).
2011: Drafted Jimmer Fredette (10) and Jon Leuer (40). Traded Fredette's rights in a package deal involving multiple players and the rights to Tobias Harris (19).
2010: Drafted Larry Sanders (15), Darington Hobson (37), Jerome Jordan (44) and Tiny Gallon (47). Later traded Jordan's rights for cash.
2009: Drafted Brandon Jennings (10) and Jodie Meeks (41).
2008: Drafted Joe Alexander (8) and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute (37).
What we see: Alexander stands out as the lone anomaly. The rest is very nice to look at. Hammond, it seems, is an excellent drafter. In each of the last five years, he has gotten great value from late lottery picks, with the steals of Leuer and Meeks in the second round to boot. He picks athletes and/or underclassmen high (or both on multiple occasions), and it usually works.
Milwaukee needs a clinical draft here to stem the tide of decay that they have been on lately, and Hammond has earned the credentials to do it. They absolutely have to nail this. And they might.
Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers
2013: Drafted Michael Carter-Williams (11), Glen Rice Jr (35) and Pierre Jackson (42). Traded Rice's rights for the rights to Nate Wolters (38) and Arsalan Kazemi (54), then traded Wolters' rights for the rights to Ricky Ledo (43) and cash, then traded Ledo's rights for a future second-round pick. Traded Jackson's rights with Jrue Holiday for the rights to Nerlens Noel (6) and a future first-round pick.
What we see: Graduating from the Daryl Morey School of Fiddling, Hinkie put in a lot of effort in his one draft to date and it was all totally worth it. He started with three picks and ended up with six, and along the way got some cash, a rookie of the year and the player who I still feel is going to go on to be the best player of the entire class. Being overly fiddly might be a concern, heightened by the stories of possibly moving Carter-Williams to accommodate Dante Exum, but this is presumptive and not reflective. As of right now, Hinkie is one-for-one and can be assumed to be liable to do anything.
2013: Drafted Victor Oladipo (2) and Romero Osby (51).
2012: Drafted Andrew Nicholson (19) and Kyle O'Quinn (49).
What we see: There are only four picks to work with here, but three of them are hits and O'Quinn is an absolute steal. Hennigan has demonstrated he will take the best players available regardless of the makeup of his roster. That is pretty much all we can conclude from here, but it's an awfully nice conclusion to draw.
2013: Drafted Shabazz Muhammad (14), Gorgui Dieng (21) and Erick Green (46). Traded Green's rights and cash for the rights to Rudy Gobert (27). Traded Muhammad and Dieng's rights for the rights to Trey Burke (9). Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Raul Neto (47).
What we see: Turned three picks in a draft with bad depth into landing the best player in the draft at the position his team most needed help at, and a good center prospect for the cost of a very throwaway mid-second-rounder in a draft where it did not mean much. Lindsay somehow managed to trade up twice on the same night -- he went from Nos. 14, 21 and 46 to 9, 27 and 47, for the cost of only a future second-round pick. See, you needn't tank for draft position after all. You can just own draft day and get up there instead.
2013: Drafted Lucas Nogueira (16). Traded his rights and two future second-round picks for the rights to Kelly Olynyk (13). Traded cash for the rights to Colton Iverson (53).
2012: Drafted Jared Sullinger (21), Fab Melo (22) and Kris Joseph (51).
2011: Drafted MarShon Brooks (25) and E'Twaun Moore (55). Traded Brooks for the rights to JaJuan Johnson (27) and a future second-round pick.
2010: Drafted Avery Bradley (19) and Luke Harangody (52).
2009: Drafted Lester Hudson (59).
2008: Drafted J.R. Giddens (30) and Semih Erden (60). Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Bill Walker (47).
2006: Drafted Randy Foye (7), then traded him in a package for Sebastian Telfair. Traded a future first-round pick for the rights to Rajon Rondo (21). Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Leon Powe (49).
2004: Drafted Al Jefferson (15), Delonte West (24), Tony Allen (25) and Justin Reed (40).
2003: Drafted Troy Bell (16), Dahntay Jones (20) and Brandon Hunter (56). Traded Bell and Jones for the rights to Marcus Banks (13) and Kendrick Perkins (27).
What we see: Some big whiffs and some big steals. That's somewhat to be expected from someone with so many picks to his name, but it also shows quite a variance in his successes. Ainge was fully prepared to pick underclassmen, it seems, going high school repeatedly back when that was allowed. Ainge, however, seems to have rather gone away from this recently and has not done so well with his picks of late. Sullinger is the possible exception, but he fell to No. 21 for a reason: longevity concerns we can only evaluate with the benefit of much hindsight. Erden is the only international pick Ainge has ever made, but with no second-round pick this year he may not have been looking to draft-and-stash anyway.
Picking No. 6 and No. 17 this year, Boston has plenty of options, yet the above shows that Ainge has traded both top 10-picks he has ever had and is said to be trying to do so again. So unless someone unlikely falls, this could well be the third in a row.
2013: Drafted Ryan Kelly (48).
2012: Drafted Robert Sacre (60).
2011: Drafted Darius Morris (41), Andrew Goudelock (46), Chukwudiebere Maduabum (56) and Ater Majok (58).
2010: Drafted Devin Ebanks (43) and Derrick Caracter (58).
2009: Drafted Toney Douglas (29), Patrick Beverley (42) and Chinemelu Elonu (59). Traded Douglas' rights to New York for a future second-round pick and cash. Traded Beverley's rights for a future second-round pick and cash.
2008: Drafted Joe Crawford (58).
2007: Drafted Javaris Crittenton (19), Sun Yue (40) and Marc Gasol (48).
2006: Drafted Jordan Farmar (26) and Cheikh Samb (51). Traded Samb's rights for Maurice Evans. Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to J.R. Pinnock (58).
2005: Drafted Andrew Bynum (10), Ronny Turiaf (37) and Von Wafer (39).
2004: Drafted Sasha Vujacic (27) and Marcus Douthit (56).
2003: Drafted Brian Cook (24) and Luke Walton (32).
2002: Drafted Chris Jefferies (27). Traded his rights with Lindsey Hunter for Tracy Murray and the rights to Kareem Rush (20).
What we see: Given a whole lot of nothing to work with, Kupchak has mostly come up with nothing. He nailed the one high pick he ever had but has been mostly unsuccessful elsewhere, with Sacre the only successful steal for the Lakers in many attempts. (It feels disingenuous to say much about Marc Gasol in this regard.) Kupchak has landed a few contributors over the years with Walton, Farmar and Turiaf, and briefly Sasha and Cook, but Bynum is the only starter he has drafted in 11 years of trying.
With no material other than Bynum to use as background for what they might do with a pick as high as this year's No. 7, there is little precedence to be found, but what is seen is that Kupchak does not mind a gamble. He is also in the city that needs stars. So he needs talent and he is prepared to shoot for it. I think we can say Joel Embiid is not getting past No. 7.
2013: Drafted Ben McLemore (7) and Ray McCallum (36).
What we see: Not the best start. Both players made sense from a depth chart point of view but have offered little so far. Supposedly the No. 8 pick which the Kings and D'Alessandro possess is very much on offer in exchange for a veteran, and by all accounts he is very willing to deal, so perhaps this discussion is for naught in this instance.
Oh, and by the way, should he fall to them, they absolutely have to take Aaron Gordon.
2013: Drafted Rudy Gobert (27). Traded his rights for the rights to Erick Green (46) and cash. Acquired the rights to Joffrey Lauvergne (55) with Darrell Arthur in exchange for Kosta Koufos.
What we see: 2013 was not the draft to go deep on. The class barely went 27 deep and it definitely didn't go 46 deep. Connelly's desire to keep open a roster spot on a Nuggets team with very little room on it by trading out of the first round, and also to avoid having to pay guaranteed money to anyone, makes some sense. But he could have achieved this just by drafting and stashing, which is what he did at No. 46 anyway with someone who otherwise might have gone undrafted. So he traded down 20 spots for a bit of cash. Not the most encouraging start.
2013: Drafted Trey Burke (9), Andre Roberson (26), Lorenzo Brown (52) and Bojan Dubljevic (59). Traded Burke's rights for the rights to Shabazz Muhammad (14) and Gorgui Dieng (21). Traded Roberson's rights with Malcolm Lee for a future second-round pick and cash.
What we see: Of all the drafts to have four picks in, 2013 was one of the worst ones it could be. And the trade of Burke to get depth in a draft with so little of it was bizarre, especially since it involved picking Muhammad, who did not project favorably in the NBA in any facet of the game. However, Dieng has been the steal of the draft thus far, and so while there is obviously nothing here to form a consensus on, that is at least a good sign.
2013: Drafted Alex Len (5), Nemanja Nedovic (30) and Alex Oriakhi (57). Traded Nedovic's rights for the rights to Archie Goodwin (29) and Malcolm Lee.
What we see: ... not so good, so far. Three picks and three whiffs thus far, including a big one in Len, who they didn't need and who didn't ever merit the selection. If they were going to take a big who they weren't going to play, they should have at least taken the injured one who once upon a time dominated.
Phoenix under McDonough has done many good things, but these weren't those things, so we'll wait to see if the skills from elsewhere in his fine rebuilding plan transfer to the draft arena.
Rest of the first round
2013: Drafted Dennis Schroder (17), Shane Larkin (18), Raul Neto (47) and James Ennis (50). Traded Larkin's rights for Jared Cunningham, Lucas Nogueira (16) and Mike Muscala (44). Traded Ennis' rights for a future second-round pick. Traded Neto's rights for a future second-round pick.
2012: Drafted John Jenkins (23) and Mike Scott (43).
2009: Drafted Christian Eyenga (30) and Danny Green (46). Traded cash for the rights to Emir Preldzic (57).
2008: Drafted J.J. Hickson (19). Traded cash for the rights to Sasha Kaun (56). Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Darnell Jackson (52).
2006: Drafted Shannon Brown (25), Daniel Gibson (42) and Ejike Ugboaja (55).
2005: Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Martynas Andriuskevicius (44).
What we see: Ferry has never landed a star, or even a starter, in a draft. The two best players he has ever picked, Green and Hickson, got good after he let go of them. That said, he has never had any good picks to work with and has nevertheless had some decent value picks among the misses. He is very prepared to pick international players, more so than most of the rest of this list. (It should be noted that the only draft in which he did not go European, 2012, he was hired mere days beforehand.) And although those international players all whiffed in his Cavaliers days, Ferry's draft record has improved in his time with the Hawks.
Picking No. 15 and No. 43 in 2014 and with no value in immediate short-term gains, Atlanta ought to be considered a strong candidate to pick international players. One of those picks is in the Dario Saric range.
2013: Drafted Tony Snell (20) and Erik Murphy (49).
2012: Drafted Marquis Teague (29).
2011: Drafted Norris Cole (28), Jimmy Butler (30) and Malcolm Lee (43). Traded Cole and Lee's rights for the rights to Nikola Mirotic (23).
2010: Drafted Kevin Seraphin (17). Traded his rights in order to salary dump Kirk Hinrich.
2009: Drafted James Johnson (16) and Taj Gibson (26).
2008: Drafted Derrick Rose (1) and Sonny Weems (39). Traded Weems' rights and two future second-round picks for the rights to Omer Asik (36).
2007: Drafted Joakim Noah (9), Aaron Gray (49) and JamesOn Curry (51).
2006: Drafted LaMarcus Aldridge (2) and Rodney Carney (16). Traded Carney's rights, a second-round pick and cash for the rights to Thabo Sefolosha (13). Traded Aldridge's rights and a future second-round pick for the rights to Tyrus Thomas (4) and Viktor Khryapa.
2004: Drafted Ben Gordon (3), Jackson Vroman (31) and Chris Duhon (38). Traded Vroman's rights, a future first-round pick and cash for the rights to Luol Deng (7).
2003: Drafted Kirk Hinrich (7), Mario Austin (36), Matt Bonner (45) and Tommy Smith (53). Traded Bonner's rights for a future second-round pick.
What we see: A generally successful history with one or two big misses and one catastrophic one, interspersed with steals. Paxson has scored with many late-first-round picks and has a much higher rate of hits than failures, but he's been more hit-and-miss at the top of the draft -- the one spectacular hit (Noah) offset by the one spectacular miss (Thomas).
This history shows a clear tendency to pick notably strong defensive players (Butler, Asik, Hinrich, Noah, Gibson, Deng, Sefolosha, Duhon), or at least those who projected to be (Smith, Thomas, Snell, Johnson, Teague). Of the few exceptions, Austin can be largely ignored due to how short Paxson’s tenure had been at that time, while it was hoped Gordon would project into a part-time point guard and defender in a way he did not ultimately do. Rose and Mirotic were such talents at their draft slots that they superseded any tendency. Gray, Curry and Murphy thus stand alone as exceptions to this tendency, all three picked Nos. 49 through 51.
There seems to be a strong tendency for upperclassmen, mostly from power conferences. Of the above, only Deng (freshman), Thomas and Teague (freshman) were underclassmen, two of whom were thoroughly unsuccessful. Also evidenced is a strong trend for high-character guys with no overly troubling backgrounds. The only exception here was Curry, who never played for the team.
The Bulls have picks No. 16 and No. 19 at the moment and apparently want to trade up. They might be better served trading down, because they're good down there.
2012: Drafted Evan Fournier (20), Quincy Miller (38) and Izzet Turkyilmaz (50).
2011: Drafted Kenneth Faried (22). Acquired the rights to Jordan Hamilton (26) with Andre Miller and a future second-round pick for Raymond Felton. Acquired the rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum (56).
What we see: Aside from the loyalty pick of Chu Chu, and the Turkyilmaz pick on which early results are poor, Ujiri has always found success and is batting 1.000 in the picks that matter. There is certainly not enough evidence to form a trend, other than to say his picks generally work out, or at least will do if Fournier's sophomore slump was only a sophomore slump. He's picked a freshman, a Frenchman and a Morehead State Eagle thus far, so he'll go anywhere. Good athleticism (the agile 7-footer Turkyilmaz included) is evidenced in all five picks to date.
Toronto pick at Nos. 20, 37 and 59 in this draft, and the No. 20 spot in particular is a nice place to be, ready to sweep up the fallen lottery picks and capitalize on others' over-exuberance. But as much as I am generally a huge proponent of not picking for team need, Ujiri probably ought not pick a shooting guard.
2013: Drafted Steven Adams (12), Archie Goodwin (29) and Alejandro Abrines (32). Acquired the rights to Grant Jerrett (40) for cash. Traded Goodwin's rights and cash for the rights to Andre Roberson (26).
2012: Drafted Perry Jones (28).
2011: Drafted Reggie Jackson (24).
2010: Drafted Eric Bledsoe (18), Craig Brackins (21), Quincy Pondexter (26) and Magnum Rolle (51). Traded Bledsoe's rights for a future first-round pick. Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Latavious Williams (48). Traded Rolle's rights for the rights to Ryan Reid (57) and cash. Traded Brackins and Pondexter's rights for the rights to Cole Aldrich (11) and Mo Peterson. Acquired the rights to Tibor Pleiss (31) for cash.
2009: Drafted James Harden (3) and Rodrigue Beaubois (25). Traded Beaubois' rights with a future second-round pick for the rights to Byron Mullens (24). Acquired the rights to Robert Vaden (54) for cash.
2008: Drafted Russell Westbrook (4), Serge Ibaka (24), Walter Sharpe (32), Trent Plaisted (46), DeVon Hardin (50) and Sasha Kaun (56). Traded Kaun's rights for cash. Traded Sharpe and Plaisted's rights for the rights to D.J. White (29).
2007: Drafted Kevin Durant (2), Carl Landry (31) and Glen Davis (35). Traded Landry's rights for cash and a future second-round pick. Traded Davis' rights with Ray Allen for the rights to Jeff Green (5), Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak.
What we see: Presti is of course best known for those three straight efforts between 2007 and 2009, when he absolutely cleaned up, even if he did bizarrely give away Carl Landry in the process. (The pick received for Landry was used on Sasha Kaun, and it too was also sold. Luckily this was so emphatically overshadowed by the rest of that draft and the two ensuing ones.) They're not all hits -- Presti and the Thunder can clearly be seen to be on the losing end of three trades there, along with some as yet incomplete picks and some second-round washouts. But the hits are big, very big, and they more than offset it all.
There also seem to be no obvious biases, exploring all markets and all age ranges in a bid to find the best players available and often achieving that goal. Still a shame about Landry, though.
Oklahoma City enter the draft at No. 21 and No. 29, and while Presti does like to juggle, the team clearly values the draft so much that it will recognize the value of two first-rounders in a draft of such depth. The Thunder will surely stay there or thereabouts, barring a big jump upwards.
2013: Drafted Jamaal Franklin (41), Joffrey Lauvergne (55) and Janis Timma (60). Traded Lauvergne's rights with Darrell Arthur for Kosta Koufos.
2012: Drafted Tony Wroten (25).
2011: Drafted Josh Selby (49).
2010: Drafted Xavier Henry (12), Dominique Jones (25) and Greivis Vasquez (28). Traded Jones' rights for cash.
2009: Drafted Hasheem Thabeet (2), DeMarre Carroll (27) and Sam Young (36).
2008: Drafted Kevin Love (5) and Donte Greene (28). Traded Love's rights with Mike Miller and a multitude of irrelevant players for the rights to O.J. Mayo (3) and a different multitude of irrelevant players. Traded Greene's rights and a future second-round pick for the rights to Darrell Arthur (27).
2007: Drafted Mike Conley (4)
2002: Drafted Darius Songaila (49).
2001: Drafted Joe Johnson (10), Kedrick Brown (11) and Joseph Forte (21).
2000: Drafted Jerome Moiso (11). Acquired the rights to Josip Sesar (47) in exchange for two future second-round picks.
1999: Drafted Kris Clack (55).
1998: Drafted Paul Pierce (10).
1997: Drafted Chauncey Billups (3), Ron Mercer (6) and Ben Pepper (55).
What we see: There are many misses here, including some huge ones, but there is also the occasional enormous success. Pierce seems obvious now, and was pretty obvious then too, but he wouldn't have been missed so many times were he unmissable. And much as the decision to trade Joe Johnson was widely and rightly decried, he was still a great pick.
Historically, Wallace seems to have overvalued athleticism -- the worst two athletes he has picked in his time with Memphis, Vasquez and Carroll, are also the best two players he has picked for them. (Well, except for Thabeet.) The lesson seems to have been better learned in more recent times, but as said in the opening, it is very unclear how much say he has had in recent times.
Nevertheless, he's back in charge now. Memphis has only one pick, No. 22, but it's in a range in which Wallace has had some success in the past. He is clearly not afraid to gamble, but ought remember that Best Player Available is rarely a bad strategy.
2013: Drafted Isaiah Canaan (34).
2012: Drafted Jeremy Lamb (12), Royce White (16) and Terrence Jones (18). Acquired the rights to Furkan Aldemir (53) for cash.
2011: Drafted Marcus Morris (14), Nikola Mirotic (23) and Chandler Parsons (38). Traded Mirotic and Parsons' rights with Brad Miller in exchange for Jonny Flynn, the rights to Donatas Motiejunas (20) and a future second-round pick. Later changed mind and bought back the rights to Parsons in exchange for a conditional future second-round pick and cash.
2010: Drafted Patrick Patterson (14).
2009: Acquired the rights to Jermaine Taylor (32) for cash. Acquired the rights to Sergio Llull (34) for cash. Acquired the rights to Chase Budinger (44) for a future second-round pick and cash.
2008: Drafted Nicolas Batum (25). Traded his rights for the rights to Donte Greene (28), Joey Dorsey (33) and a future second-round pick.
2007: Drafted Aaron Brooks (26) and Brad Newley (54). Traded a future second-round pick and cash for the rights to Carl Landry (31).
What we see: Morey loves to be in the draft, as well we know. He will happily buy into it (and probably regularly curses the new rules limiting the amount of cash teams can trade to do so), will trade down within it slightly for future assets and generally keep his options as open as they can be. Activity is often confused for effectiveness, and some of the moves praised for their proactivity and foresight did not actually work (Taylor, Llull, Batum), but there are also some brilliant steals in there. There's only one complete bomb in White, which is an anomaly born out of a pipe dream rather than indicative of any strategy.
Morey does seem to love an athlete and a character guy, so anyone who is both of those things between No. 1 and No. 146 should be ready.
Pat Riley, Miami Heat
2013: Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to James Ennis (50).
2012: Drafted Arnett Moultrie (27). Traded his rights for the rights to Justin Hamilton (45) and a future first-round pick.
2011: Drafted Bojan Bogdanovic (31). Traded his rights with a future second-round pick and cash for the rights to Norris Cole (28).
2010: Drafted Dexter Pittman (32), Jarvis Varnado (41), Da'Sean Butler (42) and Latavious Williams (48). Traded Williams' rights for a future second-round pick.
2009: Drafted Marcus Thornton (43) and Robert Dozier (60). Traded Thornton's rights for two future second-round picks. Traded a future second-round pick and cash for the rights to Patrick Beverley (42).
What we see: Not much. The only player of all those to ever play for the team for more than dreg minutes has been Cole, who has not been good with them. Miami has never sought role players during this era in a way that they now ought to. The precedent is not good, and never have the Heat gone international except for Bogdanovic, who they picked on someone else's behalf.
With the No. 26 in this year's draft, they seem unlikely to go for a draft-and-stash player if they stay there (and would be unwise to do so in light of the need for immediate help), yet there are plenty of collegiate impact players available in that range. They cannot afford to miss this time.
And they should look to get as many picks as they can. As said with Morey above, proactivity does not equal effectiveness, but it gives the appearance of effectiveness and that counts for something right now.
2013: Drafted Livio Jean-Charles (28) and Deshaun Thomas (58).
2012: Drafted Marcus Denmon (59).
2011: Drafted Cory Joseph (29) and Adam Hanga (59). Acquired the rights to Kawhi Leonard (15), Davis Bertans (42) and Erazem Lorbek (46, 2005) for George Hill.
2010: Drafted James Anderson (20) and Ryan Richards (49).
2009: Drafted DeJuan Blair (37), Jack McClinton (51) and Nando de Colo (53).
2008: Drafted George Hill (26), Goran Dragic (45) and James Gist (57). Traded Dragic's rights for the rights to Malik Hairston (48), a future second-round pick and cash.
2007: Drafted Tiago Splitter (28), Marcus E. Williams (33) and Giorgos Printezis (58). Traded Printezis' rights for a future second-round pick.
2006: Drafted Damir Markota (59). Traded his rights for a future second-round pick.
2005: Drafted Ian Mahinmi (28).
2004: Drafted Beno Udrih (28) and Romain Sato (52). Traded a future second-round pick and cash for the rights to Viktor Sanikidze (42).
2003: Drafted Leandro Barbosa (28). Traded his rights for a future first-round pick.
What we see: Not the 100 percent success rate the well-established stereotype suggests, but a very good success rate considering the positions of the picks used. Famously and clearly, Buford and the Spurs are very willing to go international with their picks and they do love a draft-and-stash. They don't all work, but they don't all have to, and they are unburdened by the pressure for immediate results that often costs executives their jobs when it results in panicked decisions come draft night.
Buford is so prone to doing the unexpected that it is now the expected that he will do so, and they will look anywhere (Europe, freshmen, seniors, IUPUI) to find unearthed gems. More importantly, they will also have the conviction to follow through on these findings, which is harder to do than it sounds. There is a strange knack for picking players (Barbosa, Dragic, Anderson, Mahinmi, Udrih) who only go on to be good players somewhere else, either because they were picked to be traded or because the Spurs gave up on them.
However, the long-held perception is true: the Spurs routinely find great value, and can be expected to do so again. They are picking at No. 30 and No. 60, and if those aren't two prime spots for drafting and stashing, then I don't know what are.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBA
Not heavily involved ... for now
2013: Drafted Mason Plumlee (22).
2012: Drafted Ilkan Karaman (57). Acquired the rights to Tyshawn Taylor (41) for cash. Acquired the rights to Tornike Shengelia (54) for cash.
2011: Drafted JaJuan Johnson (27) and Jordan Williams (36). Traded Johnson's rights and a future second-round pick for the rights to MarShon Brooks (25). Traded a future second-round pick and cash for the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic (31).
2007: Drafted Thaddeus Young (12), Daequan Cook (21), Petteri Koponen (30) and Kyrylo Fesenko (38). Traded Cook's rights, a second-round pick and cash for the rights to Jason Smith (20). Traded Koponen's rights for the rights to Derrick Byars (42). Traded Fesenko's rights for the rights to Herbert Hill (55) and cash.
2006: Drafted Thabo Sefolosha (13). Traded his rights for the rights to Rodney Carney (16), a future second-round pick and cash. Traded cash for the rights to Edin Bavcic (56). Traded a future second-round pick and cash for the rights to Bobby Jones (37).
2005: Drafted Louis Williams (45).
2004: Drafted Andre Iguodala (9).
2003: Drafted Paccelis Morlende (50). Traded his rights and cash for the rights to Willie Green (41). Traded cash for the rights to Kyle Korver (51).
2002: Drafted Jiri Welsch (16) and Sam Clancy (44). Traded Welsch for a future first-round pick and a future second-round pick. Traded Speedy Claxton for the rights to John Salmons (26) and Randy Holcomb (56).
2001: Drafted Sam Dalembert (26), Damone Brown (36) and Alvin Jones (56).
2000: Drafted Speedy Claxton (20) and Mark Karcher (48).
1999: Drafted Todd MacCulloch (47). Traded a future first-round pick for the rights to Jumaine Jones (27).
1998: Drafted Larry Hughes (8) and Casey Shaw (37).
What we see: Billy King is really very good at this, especially successful in that 2000-2005 stretch. He should probably stop giving his draft picks away, because there is a strong history of success here when drafting both high and low. He finds second-round steals regularly, and plucks them at any age, at any position, with any physical profile. Only once did he dip into the European pool with the 76ers -- that pick being the unsuccessful Edin Bavcic, whom they bought -- but he has opted for that route more as a Net, perhaps availed by the lack of roster space. It has yet to pay dividends at the NBA level, but Bogdanovic is a very promising prospect.
The Nets, though, have no picks, so King seems to have robbed himself of his greatest power. They have the money to buy their way in and will likely try to get into the first round, yet the second seems more realistic. Second-round picks are (or at least were) a Billy King specialty, so this ought be pursued hard.
2013: Drafted Kelly Olynyk (13) and Mike Muscala (44). Traded Olynyk's rights for the rights to Lucas Nogueira (16) and two future second-round picks. Then traded Nogueira's rights with Jared Cunningham and the rights to Muscala for the rights to Shane Larkin (18).
2012: Drafted Tyler Zeller (17) and Darius Johnson-Odom (55). Traded Johnson-Odom's rights for cash. Traded Zeller's rights with Kelenna Azubuike for the rights to Jared Cunningham (24), Bernard James (33) and Jae Crowder (34).
2011: Drafted Jordan Hamilton (26) and Targuy Ngombo (57). Traded both's rights for Rudy Fernandez and the rights to Petteri Koponen (30, 2007).
2010: Drafted Solomon Alabi (50). Traded his rights for a future second-round pick and cash.
2009: Drafted Byron Mullens (24) and Ahmad Nivins (56). Traded Mullens' rights for the rights to Rodrigue Beaubois (25) and a future second-round pick. Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Nick Calathes (45).
2008: Drafted Shan Foster (51).
2007: Drafted Nick Fazekas (34), Renaldas Seibutis (50) and Milovan Rakovic (60). Traded Rakovic's rights and cash for the rights to Reyshawn Terry (44).
2006: Drafted Maurice Ager (28) and J.R. Pinnock (58). Traded Pinnock's rights for a future second-round pick.
2004: Drafted Vassilis Spanoulis (50). Acquired the rights to Devin Harris (5) in a package deal for Antawn Jamison. Traded a future first-round pick for the rights to Pavel Podkolzin (21). Traded Spanoulis' rights for the rights to Luis Flores (55) and cash.
2003: Drafted Josh Howard (29) and Xue Yuyang (57). Traded Yuyang's rights for a future second-round pick.
What we see: Nelson has not had many good picks to work with, but also boasts very few steals from those he has had. Josh Howard was one, of course, but then it was a full decade until Crowder, though Beaubois might have been one had he not been injured. Nelson seems fully prepared to go international, but he is currently scoring a goose egg on said internationals with no one contributing anything of significance in the NBA and many not ever joining it at all. He opts mostly for seniors when not picking internationally, it seems, the only exceptions being Harris, Cunningham and Pinnock (juniors), Larkin (sophomore) and Alabi (22-year-old redshirt sophomore).
The Mavericks historically have not been too involved in the draft and just gave their only two picks (Nos. 34 and 51) to the Knicks in the Tyson Chandler deal. They are unlikely to return to the draft -- if they do, it seems likely to be a draft-and-stash international player in the second round. Maybe this is the time they land a good one.
2010: Drafted Cole Aldrich (11). Later traded his rights with Morris Peterson for the rights to Craig Brackins (21) and Quincy Pondexter (26).
2009: Drafted Darren Collison (21). Traded two future second-round picks for Marcus Thornton (43).
2008: Drafted Darrell Arthur (27). Traded his rights for cash.
2007: Drafted Julian Wright (13) and Adam Haluska (43).
What we see: Did extremely well in 2009 and yet returned nothing in any other year. Bower likes his athletes, likes his bigs, likes his projectable defenders and likes his power conference players. He also likes his financial savings, motivated by a roster-wide financial crunch in New Orleans that necessitated much cost cutting, for which he was of course also responsible.
Similar stipulations abound with the new Pistons situation under Stan Van Gundy, so here's hoping for a higher-IQ player at No. 38 (and whatever other picks they can trade into).
2013: After multiple deals, eventually landed Nemanja Nedovic (30) for what amounted to a future second-round pick and cash.
2012: Drafted Harrison Barnes (7), Festus Ezeli (30), Draymond Green (35) and Ognjen Kuzmic (52).
What we see: Myers did well to trade into the first round last year, no matter how available late-first-rounders were in that draft. The jury remains out on all the picks he has made, except Green (where they ruled with a favorable verdict) and Barnes (where they seem very unlikely to -- way too much Jarvis Hayes stuff going on there). Five picks in two years suggests an affinity for the draft and a willingness to get into it, but with no picks this year as things stand they'll have to do some work to do so again. Nevertheless, they do have some roster spots open and money to throw at the venture, so there could well be one second-round move.
2013: Drafted Solomon Hill (23) and Colton Iverson (53). Traded Iverson's rights for cash.
2012: Drafted Miles Plumlee (26). Acquired the rights to Orlando Johnson (36) for cash.
2011: Drafted Kawhi Leonard (15) and Davis Bertans (42). Traded both along with the rights to Erazem Lorbek for George Hill.
2010: Drafted Paul George (10), Lance Stephenson (40) and Ryan Reid (57). Traded Reid's rights with cash for the rights to Magnum Rolle (51).
2009: Drafted Tyler Hansbrough (13).
2008: Drafted Jerryd Bayless (11) and Nate Jawai (41). Traded Bayless' rights with Ike Diogu for the rights to Brandon Rush (13), Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts. Traded Jawai's rights with Jermaine O'Neal for T.J. Ford, Maceo Baston, Rasho Nesterovic and the rights to Roy Hibbert (17).
2007: Traded a future second-round pick for the rights to Stanko Barac (39).
2006: Drafted Shawne Williams (17) and Alexander Johnson (45). Traded Johnson's rights with two future second-round picks in exchange for the rights to James White (31).
2005: Drafted Danny Granger (17) and Erazem Lorbek (46).
2004: Drafted David Harrison (29) and Rashad Wright (59).
What we see: Bird loves the upperclassmen and built a competitive team without using a pick better than No. 10 to do it. The occasional miss can be seen, but the hits are much bigger than the misses. He is perfectly willing to take a flyer on a redemption candidate, with predictably mixed results (Stephenson yes, Williams noooo-ooo-ooooo), which speaks somewhat to Indiana's need to maximize limited resources and gamble somewhat to do so.
It will probably will be a quiet night here, though. They can't get a first-rounder with financial clout, and they recklessly gave this year's away in the Luis Scola deal, so they might stay at No. 57 only. Which is a shame, because Bird is very good at drafting and the team needs to get younger.
2013: Drafted Nerlens Noel (6). Traded his rights with a future pick for Jrue Holiday and the rights to Pierre Jackson (42). Traded for the rights for Jeff Withey (39) as a part of the Tyreke Evans trade.
2012: Drafted Anthony Davis (1), Austin Rivers (10) and Darius Miller (46).
2011: Drafted Josh Harrellson (45). Traded his rights for cash.
What we see: His one good pick is hardly something for which he deserved credit, and the Rivers pick has thus far bombed hard. Having gone Kentucky Kentucky Duke Kentucky Kentucky Kansas Baylor thus far, with no mid-majors or thoughts of going international, we can also perhaps safely conclude a BCS conference bias is in effect. There is nothing much to go on here in order to draw a firm conclusion, but there is also little to like in these early stages.
2013: Drafted C.J. McCollum (10), Jeff Withey (39), Grant Jerrett (40) and Marko Todorovic (45). Acquired the rights to Allen Crabbe (31) for two future second-round picks. Traded Jerrett's rights for cash. Traded Withey's rights for Terrel Harris and Robin Lopez. Traded Todorovic's rights with two future second-round picks and the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou (48, 2012) for Thomas Robinson.
2012: Drafted Damian Lillard (6), Meyers Leonard (11), Will Barton (40) and Tyshawn Taylor (41). Traded Taylor's rights for cash.
2011: Drafted Trey Thompkins (37) and Travis Leslie (47).
2010: Drafted Al-Farouq Aminu (8) and Willie Warren (54). Acquired the rights to Eric Bledsoe (18) for a future first-round pick.
What we see: Olshey is yet to do anything late in any draft, but he scored big hits at the start with Lillard and Bledsoe, neither of whom was a surefire pick. This is a rather polarizing history to date with no obvious patterns to be found, but enough reason for cautious optimism. Or, at least there would be if Portland had a pick.
Ernie Grunfeld, Washington Wizards
2013: Drafted Otto Porter (3), Nate Wolters (38) and Arsalan Kazemi (54). Traded the rights to Kazemi and Wolters for the rights to Glen Rice Jr (35).
2012: Drafted Bradley Beal (3) and Tomas Satoransky (32).
2011: Drafted Jan Vesely (6), Chris Singleton (18) and Shelvin Mack (34).
2010: Drafted John Wall (1), Lazar Hayward (30) and Nemanja Bjelica (35). Traded the rights to Hayward and Bjelica for the rights to Trevor Booker (23) and Hamady N'Diaye (56).
2009: Drafted Jermaine Taylor (32). Traded his rights to Houston for cash.
2008: Drafted JaVale McGee (18) and Bill Walker (47). Traded Walker's rights to Boston for cash.
2007: Drafted Nick Young (16) and Dominic McGuire (47).
2006: Drafted Oleksiy Pecherov (18) and Vladimir Veremeenko (48).
2005: Drafted Andray Blatche (49).
2004: Drafted Devin Harris (5) and Peter John Ramos (42). Traded Harris' rights with Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner for Antawn Jamison and cash.
2003: Drafted T.J. Ford (8), Szymon Szewczyk (35) and Keith Bogans (43). Traded Bogans' rights for cash.
2002: Drafted Marcus Haislip (13), Dan Gadzuric (33), Ronald Murray (41) and Chris Owens (47). Traded Owens' rights for a future second-round pick. Acquired the rights to Jamal Sampson (46) for the archaic rights to Rashard Griffith (38, 1995).
2001: Drafted Andre Hutson (52).
What we see: With so many picks in his history, there will obviously be many hits and misses, so it is no surprise there are both. What we can see in Grunfeld's early days is a very strong legacy for scoring steals in the second round of the draft, albeit alongside some underwhelming lottery choices. Grunfeld, it seems, is not afraid to take on those who fell in the draft due to concerns about attitude, basketball IQ or both, and he seems to really love an athletic forward given the opportunity (see Vesely, Jan). The 2006 class was a complete washout, of course, but then 2006 was a bad draft for everybody. Aside from those years, he has mostly avoided the international route, and the only two teams he did dip into (Szewczyk and Satoransky) resulted in players who have never played in the NBA.
Two big failures in the top six in recent years are worrying, especially with both players fitting similar profiles of being long and athletic combo forwards who are very projectable defensively. Unnervingly, that is the sort of player Washington could really use right now. But the Wizards do not have a high pick this year, slated to choose only at No. 46. Need, history and trends suggest Grunfeld might look for the next Andray Blatche-type athletic big at that range. Khem Birch, be ready.