This past weekend we’ve seen the NFL draft take place in Chicago and once again – as seen in all pro sporting leagues – reporters and fans were in a frenzy over who was signed earlier than anticipated, who didn’t end up where they were expected to, and who was passed over completely.
Selecting the right young prospects for the right team is a highly critiqued practice and more often than not, the busts will be talked about far more than the booms ever will be. In the case of the NBA, which is now arguably America’s most loved sport, a lot of attention is given to these selections, and while everybody accepts the difficulties involved in predicting the next MVP, many believe there’s still an element of luck involved.
While that may be true in some instances, as the Golden State Warriors surged towards a second consecutive NBA championship, it’s worthwhile stepping back to analzye just how well the Warriors have crafted the current roster.
Steph Curry, the undoubted superstar of the Warriors roster, was picked 7th overall in the 2009 draft, being selected after fellow guards Tyreke Evans (4th, Kings) and Jonny Flynn (6th, Timberwolves) – each of which have struggled to achieve anything even close to the success which Curry has. Also selected above Curry in 2009 were power forward Blake Griffin (1st, Clippers), James Harden (3rd, Thunder) and Ricky Rubio (5th, Timberwolves). This trio have had some significant success, with Griffin and Harden making All-Star and All-NBA teams, however certainly not as much as Curry. Center Hasheem Thabeet (2nd, Grizzlies) also went above Curry however has only played 224 games in the seven years since – none of which in the last two seasons.
Klay Thompson, who averaged 22.1 PPG during the regular season and has really stepped up in Curry’s absence during the playoffs, was the 11th pick overall in the 2011 draft. Selected before him was just one fellow All-Star/All-NBA team member in Kyrie Irving (1st, Cavaliers), whilst other guards Brandon Knight (8th, Pistons), Kemba Walker (9th, Bobcats) and Jimmer Fredette (10th, Bucks) have all failed to achieve the same level of success and status within the game as Thompson has five years into their respective careers.
Draymond Green, the 2016 All-Star and member of the 2015 All-Defensive First Team, wasn’t selected until the second round in 2012, with the 35th pick overall. Of the 34 selected before him, just Anthony Davis (1st, Hornets), Damian Lillard (6th, Trail Blazers) and Andre Drummond (9th, Pistons) have reached All-Star status. Fellow forwards, including Thomas Robinson (5th, Kings), John Henson (14th, Bucks) and Royce White (16th, Rockets), simply haven’t come close to achieve the individual success of which Green has.
In addition to the clever picks of Curry, Thompson and Green, the Warriors have also pulled in some second-hand goods to complete the roster, with the likes of Anderson Varejao, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala all contributing immensely to the team’s recent run of success after arriving in Oakland from elsewhere. All in all, the Warriors appear to have struck a perfect balance and their insightful recruitment in recent years has been the catalyst to sustained success. With Curry set to return from injury later this week, they appear unstoppable on their quest for back-to-back NBA crowns.
This post has been presented by Unibet, however all thoughts and opinions are that of the writer.