Pookey's post on one of the current threads about Devin Harris being picked No. 5 in the 2004 draft got me to thinking about the importance on the top 5 spots in the draft compared to the crapshoot that is the rest of the draft.
So I took a look at the 2003 draft, the 2004 draft, and the 2005 draft and decided to compose two teams: one composed of the 15 top 5 draft picks in those three drafts and another team chosen from all other players taken in those three drafts.
Outside of Brandon Roy, chosen No. 6 in the 2006 draft, I think it's too early to draw any conclusions about the players chosen in the last three drafts, so it's probably best to dissect those drafts at a later date.
Here's the Top 5 team from the 2003-2005 drafts, ranked in rough order of their ability:
* Big Men: Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Emeka Okafor, Marvin Williams, Andrew Bogut, Darko Milicic.
* Tweeners: LeBron James.
* Guards: Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Devin Harris, Ben Gordon, Raymond Felton, Shaun Livingston.
Here’s most of the candidates for the Other Players team, again ranked in rough order of their ability:
* Big Men: David West, Josh Smith, Andrew Bynum, Josh Howard, Chris Kaman, Al Jefferson, Luol Deng, Andris Biedrins, Kendrick Perkins, David Lee, Boris Diaw, Charlie Villanueva, Hakim Warrick, Travis Outlaw, Anderson Varejao, Matt Bonner, Andray Blatche, Nick Collison, Jason Maxiell, Ronny Turiaf, Brandon Bass, Sean May, Kris Humphries, Zaza Pachulia, Robert Swift.
* Tweeners: Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Josh Childress, Kyle Korver, Linas Kleiza, Mikael Pietrus, Jason Kapono, Trevor Ariza, Francisco Garcia, C. J. Miles, Jarvis Hayes, Antoine Wright, Sasha Pavlovic.
* Guards: Kevin Martin, Monta Ellis, Leandro Barbosa, Mo Williams, T.J. Ford, J.R. Smith, Keith Bogans, Martell Webster, Steve Blake, Jameer Nelson, Delonte West, Kirk Hinrich, Louis Williams, Jarrett Jack, Rashad McCants, Nate Robinson, Luke Ridnour, Chris Duhon, Beno Udrih, Sasha Vujacic, Willie Green, Tony Allen, Sebastian Telfair.
So maybe this gives you a starting five matchup of Howard, Anthony, James, Wade and Paul vs. West, Bynum, Granger, Martin and Barbosa. That seems to be quite a mismatch.
Now whether this trend continues if you take previous three-year periods and do the same drill, I don’t know. But I suspect that it does.
I hope we get a top 5 pick next year, and I hope we use it well.