With the 2017 NBA draft lottery approaching, some may wonder about the value of the pick their team receives Tuesday.
The lottery began in 1985, but in 1990 it changed from a straight draw to one that more heavily favored the teams with the worst records.
Since the switch to the current rules, we looked at the value of each lottery pick since the first year 14 teams were in the lottery, 2004. With some help from Basketball Reference, the formula we created to determine value was based on win shares per 48 minutes (WS/48).
Basketball Reference notes the average WS/48 is .100 for an NBA player. But to add weight to longevity, we multiplied their career WS/48 by total games played. Then, we divided the result by seasons since that player was drafted as a means to provide a balanced comparison player-to-player from 2004 to last year.
While it’s not an all-telling statistic, it offers insight to how many wins a player was able to contribute to their team since the year of the draft averaged to 48 minutes of action per game.
We learned the average lottery pick resulted in a WS/48 of 5.26 which has a similarity score most comparable to Trail Blazers F Meyers Leonard (5.30).
Other things we were able to determine is what picks in the lottery were the most valuable as well as what draft classes have produced at the highest rate in the NBA.
Of course, past results do not guarantee future results. It’s still interesting to see what has happened over the last 13 drafts.
Best Draft Class: 2010 (6.49)
Worst Draft Class: 2014 (3.44)
Best Prospect: Chris Paul, No. 4 overall (17.38)
Worst Prospect: Adam Morrison, No. 4 overall (-0.31)
Biggest Steal: Andre Drummond, No. 11 overall (11.63)
Best Value Pick since 2004: No. 9 overall (6.46)
On the next page, check every player’s score and the average score of each pick since 2004.