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Sixers Drafting Through the Years

http://www.depressedfan.com/img/holiday.jpgPhil Jasner wrote an interesting article today about the Sixers' drafting in recent years.  While the concept of the article was good and the back story that he provided for each pick was illuminating, I thought there were problems with his evaluation methodology.  To evaluate how good an NBA draft pick is, one has to take into account who was available when the team drafted, how happy the team is (in hindsight) with the pick, and where the player would be picked today if the draft were done over.  After the jump, I'll give my thoughts.
My general rule of thumb as far as grading is that if a player would be picked in the same slot in a draft do-over,  the grade is a B, with adjustments up or down accordingly.  Also, the information readily available to me doesn't include undrafted free agents, so I'm not including them in the analysis.  In honor of the recently departed Sam Dalembert, let's start with 2001.

Samuel Dalembert (2001, pick #26)
  • What they got: even his detractors would have to admit that Dalembert is a starting-caliber NBA center who provides above-average rebounding and defense.  For the Sixers, he started 491 of 548 games after his rookie season and was an important player on their playoff teams of 08-09.
  • Who they could have gotten: Tony Parker (#28), Gilbert Arenas (#31), Mehmet Okur (#38)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Kwame Brown (#1), Eddie Griffin (#7), Rodney White (#9), Kedrick Brown (#11), Kirk Haston (#16), Joseph Forte (#21)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #15.  Definitely ahead: P.Gasol, T.Parker, Arenas, Joe Johnson, J.Richardson, G.Wallace, Okur, R.Jefferson, Z.Randolph.  Probably ahead: T.Chandler, Battier, Tinsley, T.Murphy.
  • Final grade: A-
Jiri Welsch (2002, pick #16)
  • What they got: the Sixers immediately traded this pick to Golden State for a nothing 2004 2nd-rounder and a 1st-round pick in 2005.  They traded the latter as part of the deal to get Kenny Thomas, who was a decent rotation player on the 48-win 02-03 Sixers, got a ridiculous contract in the summer of 2003, was a mediocre starting PF in 03-04 and part of 04-05, and eventually got traded for Chris Webber (trading one bad contract for another).  Think of the pick as essentially Kenny Thomas.  The first round pick in 2005 (#16) became Joey Graham but could have been Danny Granger.
  • Who they could have gotten: Prince (#23), Salmons (#26), Boozer (#35), Scola (#56).  With the 2005 pick they traded for Thomas: Granger (#17), David Lee (#30), Monta Ellis (#40).
  • Be glad they didn't get: Jay Williams (#2), Tskitishvili (#5), Dajuan Wagner (#6), Melvin Ely (#12), Haislip (#13).  Lots of tragic stories and just plain bad picks in the 2002 draft.
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: sticking Kenny Thomas in the 2002 draft, about #13 -- which shows how bad the 2002 draft was.  Definitely ahead: Yao, Amare, Caron Butler, Boozer, Prince, Scola, Drew Gooden, Salmons, Dunleavy.  Same vicinity: Krstic, Flip Murray, Matt Barnes, Rasual Butler.
  • Final grade: for what they did with the pick itself (essentially Welsch for Kenny Thomas), B+.  Considering what they could have gotten if they had kept the 2005 pick: C-.
John Salmons (2002 pick #26) [Sixers traded Speedy Claxton]
  • What they got: with the Sixers, Salmons was a bench player who never really fit in, especially clashing with Iverson.  Since he left the Sixers, he's become an effective and sometimes dangerous scorer (55% TS% every year) with three different teams.
  • What they could have gotten: Boozer (#35), Scola (#56)
  • Be glad they didn't get: see above
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #8 (see players above).  However, the Salmons who played for the Sixers would have been around #20-#25.
  • Final grade: B.  The trade was a wash.  Claxton couldn't play with Iverson -- and then it turns out Salmons couldn't either.
Sam Clancy (2002 pick #45)
  • What they got: nothing.  He never played for them.
  • What they could have gotten: Matt Barnes (#46), Songaila (#50), Rasual Butler (#53), Scola (#56).
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: undrafted.
  • Final grade: F.
Dahntay Jones (2003 pick #20) [traded by Sixers to Celtics for Moiso]
  • What they got: about two years of Derrick Coleman.  Moiso was part of the package (along with George Lynch and the 2005 pick that eventually became Joey Graham) that brought Coleman
  • What they could have gotten: Diaw (#21), Travis Outlaw (#23), Delfino (#25), Kendrick Perkins (#27), Barbosa (#28), Josh Howard (#29), Mo Williams (#47)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Milicic (#2), Reece Gaines (#15), Cabarkapa (#17)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: stick an old Derrick Coleman in the 2003 draft, about #20.  Definitely ahead: LeBron, Carmelo, Bosh, Wade, David West, Josh Howard, Kaman, Hinrich, Diaw, K.Perkins, Barbosa, Pietrus, Mo Williams.  Probably ahead: Korver, T.J. Ford, N. Collison, Ridnour, T. Outlaw, Delfino, Kapono.
  • Final grade: the deal itself (#1 for Moiso) gets an F, overall it gets a C- since Coleman was a starter for two playoff years.
Willie Green (2003 pick #41) [traded by Sonics for #50 and Paccelis Morlende and cash]
  • What they got: he came into the league as more of a physical slasher, and when he played that way he was a steal at that spot.  Then he got hurt, and what he's become is a jump-shooter who rarely draws contact and a poor defender, a good person but strictly a #9-#10 guy at best.
  • What they could have gotten: Mo Williams (#47), Korver (#51)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Schortsanitis (#34), Szewczyk (#35), Slavko Vranes (#39), Derrick Zimmerman (#40)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #30, only because there are a ton of guys in this draft who never played in the NBA.
  • Final grade: B+
Kyle Korver (2003 pick #51) [traded by Nets to Sixers for cash]
  • What they got: a great shooter who is subpar in other areas but not horrendously so.  He was a competent starter for the Sixers in 04-05 and 05-06 (TS% about 58%), though he got totally shut down by Prince in the '05 playoffs.
  • What they could have gotten: no one better behind him
  • Be glad they didn't get: see above, plus Badiane (#44), Becirovic (#46), Morlende (#50) 
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #15
  • Final grade: A
Andre Iguodala (2004 pick #9)
  • What they got: a starter from Day One, Iguodala is arguably a top-30 player in the NBA (he has been by several advanced metrics the past couple years), a top wing defender (has gotten All-Defense votes every year of his career), and one of the better all-around players in the NBA (one of two 17-6-5 players this past year, with LeBron; top 40 in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals)
  • What they could have gotten: arguably, Josh Smith (#17), Jameer Nelson (#20), Kevin Martin (#26)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Livingston (#4), Araujo (#8)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #3.  Definitely ahead: Dwight Howard.  Same vicinity: Josh Smith, Kevin Martin, Devin Harris, Ben Gordon.  A little behind: Okafor, Childress, Deng.
  • Final grade: A
Joey Graham (2005 pick #16) [traded by Sixers to Nuggets in Kenny Thomas deal]
  • What they got: see notes above on Kenny Thomas
  • What they could have gotten: Granger (#17), Warrick (#19), Maxiell (#26), David Lee (#30), Bass (#33), Monta Ellis (#40)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Fran Vazquez (#11), Korolev (#12)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: stick 02-04 Kenny Thomas in the 2005 draft, about #25.  Definitely ahead: Deron Williams, Paul, Bynum, Granger, Bogut, M. Ellis, David Lee, Marvin Williams, Felton, Frye, Villanueva.  Probably ahead: Jack, Warrick, Nate Robinson, Maxiell, Gomes, Lou Williams, Amir Johnson, Martell Webster.
  • Final grade: give this part of the Kenny Thomas saga a D
Lou Williams (2005 pick #45)
  • What they got: Lou has become an instant-offense player off the bench, a good change-of-pace player (but probably not a starter) on a good team.
  • What they could have gotten: arguably, Blatche (#49), Gomes (#50) 
  • Be glad they didn't get: Ukic (#41), Ilic (#43), Andriuskevicius (#44) and a bunch more higher up
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #15.  See players above.
  • Final grade: A
Rodney Carney (2006 pick #16) [traded to Sixers with 2007 2nd-rounder for #13 Sefolosa]
  • What they got: a #7-#8 player who can make spot contributions off the bench
  • What they could have gotten: Rondo (#21), Farmar (#26), Millsap (#47)
  • Be glad they didn't get: A.Morrison (#3), O'Bryant (#9), Sene (#10), H.Armstrong (#12), C.Simmons (#15)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #15.  Definitely ahead: Roy, Rondo, Aldridge, Gay, Millsap, Bargnani, Redick, Foye, R.Brewer, Tyrus Thomas.  Same vicinity: Sefolosha (ironically), D. Gibson, Lowry, Shannon Brown, Farmar, Sergio Rodriguez, Craig Smith
  • Final grade: B (this was another weak draft)
Bobby Jones (2006 pick #37) [acquired from Wolves for 2007 2nd-rounder]
  • What they got: a 12th-man type
  • What they could have gotten: Daniel Gibson (#42), Millsap (#47), Leon Powe (#49).  Daniel Gibson was selected with the Sixers' original pick, sent to the Cavs with Lee Nailon for nothing (i.e., the cost of getting rid of Nailon).
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: late 2nd-rounder
  • Final grade: D
Thaddeus Young (2007 pick #12)
  • What they got: a solid player who can score with above-average post moves and fill the lane on fastbreaks
  • What they could have gotten: Carl Landry (#31), Glen Davis (#35), Marc Gasol (#48)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Yi Jianlian (#6), Corey Brewer (#7), Brandan Wright (#8), Spencer Hawes (#10 - ouch), Acie Law (#11)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #12.  Definitely ahead: Durant, Horford, Jeff Green, Noah, Stuckey, Landry.  Same vicinity: Aaron Brooks, Glen Davis, J.Dudley, Al Thornton, R.Fernandez, Conley, Yi, C.Brewer, Afflalo, Oden
  • Final grade: B
Jason Smith (2007 pick #20) [traded by Heat to Sixers for Daequan Cook]
  • What they got: at this point, strictly an 11th-man, 3rd-center type
  • What they could have gotten: J.Dudley (#22), R.Fernandez (#24), A.Brooks (#26), Landry (#31), Glen Davis (#35), M.Gasol (#48)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: mid-2nd round
  • Final grade: D-
Derrick Byars (2007 pick #42) and Herbert Hill (2007 pick #55)
  • What they got: nothing.  Neither player has ever played in the NBA.  Obscure state: Hill played 5 games for Tulsa in the D-league in 08-09, putting up 75 FGA and only 6 FTA.
  • What they could have gotten: M.Gasol #48, Sessions (#56).  Sixers got Hill for Kyrylo Fesenko, last seen lumbering around for the Jazz this past playoffs.
  • Where they would go in a re-draft: undrafted
  • Final grade: F
Marreese Speights (2008 pick #16)
  • What they got: a talented offensive player with questionable work habits and poor defense
  • What they could have gotten: Hickson (#19), Courtney Lee (#22), Ibaka (#24), Batum (#25), George Hill (#26)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Joe Alexander (#8), no other huge busts yet
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #16.  Definitely ahead: D.Rose, Mayo, R.Westbrook, Love, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Hickson, Batum, George Hill, E.Gordon.  Same vicinity: Beasley, Gallinari, Courtney Lee, Bayless, Jason Thompson, Hibbert, Ibaka, Mbah a Moute, Dragic
  • Final grade: B-
Jrue Holiday (2009 pick #17)
  • What they got: a starting PG with excellent on-ball defense and good passing instincts
  • What they could have gotten: arguably, Lawson (#18), D.Collison (#21)
  • Be glad they didn't get: Thabeet (#2), Flynn (#6), Jordan Hill (#8), Gerald Henderson (#12), Earl Clark (#14), Austin Daye (#15)
  • Where he would go in a re-draft: about #7.  Definitely ahead: Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, B.Griffin, Rubio.  Same vicinity: Brandon Jennings, Lawson, D.Collison, Beaubois
  • Final grade: A
Looking back at this body of work, the Sixers have done pretty well this past decade when actually drafting in the first round.  No outright busts (though Jason Smith comes close) and a lot of good picks.  Their track record with trades is more spotty.  For second-round picks, they've had their share of busts, but it seems that all teams do.  And they did pretty well with Korver and Lou picked in those spots.  Your thoughts and comments welcome ...
by Statman on Jun 23 2010
Tags: Basketball | Draft | Offseason | Sixers | Statman |