You can land a good player at eight or you can land a good player at eighteen. I think history has shown that the draft is nowhere near as exact a science as those rooting for ping pong balls would like it to be.
If you go back and look at every draft from the last 30 years, this is true in the letter but not in implication, at least the implication I got from what you said.
True: You can land a player at pick 8 or pick 18
False: you have about as good a chance of landing a good player at 8 as you do at 18
There is actually a pretty big discrepancy between the odds of landing a good play at 8 compared with landing a good player at 18. That's a tangential argument, Id be pretty annoyed if we suffered through a rebuilding year and only got an 8th overall, but it's a commonly made, 'well player x was picked at 18, and that just proves there is still talent at 18', because while it's true, it doesn't acknowledge there is a much better chance of getting a dud there as well. The counterpoint to this is 'Kwame Brown was a first overall, how did that turn out?', and it's no less of a false equivalency.
I mean people always bring up Rondo and Big Al. Technically Rondo wasn't even our draft pick... they were giving picks away for free that year. We bought Rondo after the Suns drafted him.
Pretty sure Boston has never drafted a superstar with a pick 15 and above. They have drafted superstars in the Top 8, though.
You look over our list of guys taken 15 and over and you'll see names like Lucas Nogueira, Sullinger, Fab Melo, Marshon Brooks, Avery Bradley, JR Giddens, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Delonte West, Tony Allen, Troy Bell, Dahntay Jones, Joe Forte, Acie Earl. Sure there's some good players and good role players there, but lots of garbage too.
Boston's picks in the top 8 since 1970:
Dave Cowens, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Len Bias, Antoine Walker, Chauncey Billups, Ron Mercer, Randy Foye, Jeff Green
Sure there's some duds in there too, but I like our track record. Hah.
My point is that a vast majority of bona fide superstars are taken in the top five. Once you get outside the top five, it is very rare that you get a "franchise type superstar." Larry Bird, for example, is the only sixth pick taken since 1970 who makes Elrod Enchilada's much discussed list of superstars.
The seventh pick has yielded two lower level superstars, Bernard King and Chris Mullin, over that time period.
Robert Parish is the only one selected eighth.
Ninth did fairly well with Nowitzki, McGrady, and Stoudemire all selected there.
Tenth has two stars named Paul, Pierce and George. There have been no stars picked eleventh.
Dr. J. was picked 12th.
Bryant and Karl Malone were both selected thirteenth.
Clyde Drexler and Tim Hardaway at 14.
Nash, Stockton, Shawn Kemp, Joe Dumars, and Tiny Archibald were taken in the late teens from fifteen to nineteen.
Twentieth is Gus Williams, twenty-first, Rondo.
None taken at twenty-two. Alex English at twenty-three.
The 24th, 25th, and 26th picks have yielded no Enchilada superstars since 1970.
Rodman was taken 27th, Tony Parker 28th, and Dennis Johnson 29th. Spencer Haywood was taken 30th, and the Ice Man, George Gervin was taken 40th.
Finally, there's Ben Wallace, who went undrafted.
By my count, 38 of Enchilada's superstars drafted since 1970 were taken in the top five. 28 were taken outside of the top five. Of the 28 superstars taken outside the top five, fourteen were selected at spots 6 through 14, the lower lottery. The other fourteen were taken outside the lottery.
Of course, there have been a lot of very good to great players who aren't on Enchilada's list of superstars. Often times, these very good players are selected outside the lottery. Some have been taken later in the lottery.
I guess my overall point here is that if you are really rooting for tanking, you should be rooting for a bottom five record and a top five pick. There's no point in tanking for a mid-lottery pick.
Rejoicing in the possibility of a pick somewhere in the 6 to 12 range seems pointless. If that's where we are going to end up, I'd rather see the team maximize their win potential and hope for some good talent in the draft, regardless of where in the first round we end up picking.
And, by the way, I'm still not rooting for a bottom five finish. I simply don't think I can bear to see this team lose enough games to get that low, considering the competition for worst. And, despite this rough West coast trip coming up, I just don't think we'll end up with enough losses to be in the bottom five.
I'm rooting for wins every time out. I'm strong enough to deal with the losses.