Is there really a single best approach to the draft that gives any given team the most probable success?
Some would contend drafting the best player available is the smartest route to building a successful team, others insist on drafting based on a team's need. Both arguments have merit and both are flawed.
If you have all-stars at every position on your team then you can easily argue for drafting the most talented player available since you have no weaknesses and adding depth only makes you stronger. You could also argue for drafting a less accomplished guy with the most upside given you have the luxury of bringing someone along slowly and don't need their contribution right away.
If your team would lose to Kentucky's 2010 team and every position on your team belongs in the Development League then you could easily argue for drafting the most talented player available as your team will benefit from any new talent especially since that person would have an immediate impact on the team's success.
If you look at the New York Knicks, they opted for the best player on the board in Jordan Hill. Jordan Hill became instrumental (among other things) in landing Tracy McGrady. Translation: if you are a bad team in need of help, drafting an ace can help your hand even if if doesn't best fit your team. Even if you are a good team, having an ace can help you trade for a need.
However you can still argue that taking a less accomplished player with more upside is a solid way to go as well. Take a look at Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet was drafted for upside and is a prime example of rare center with physical gifts because he is a very tall, defensive minded, game changing big with a lot of raw skills but is/was regarded as long term project. If you compare with his peers drafted around him, namely James Harden, Jordan Hill, DeMar DeRozen and Tyreke Evans, only Tyreke (ranked behind the others on nbadraft.net) has exceeded the impact player expectations and Jordan Hill has already been traded.
While statistically all are contributing at a higher clip than Thabeet, lets review this in a few years and see if that is still the case. With Marc Gasol as your starting Center you can afford to bring Thabeet along slowly, and if it works you have a possible tandem set of bigs by sliding Marc over to the PF like Pao does so well in LA. (Me personally, I would have drafted Tyreke if I were the Grizzles given his beloved status in Memphis but that is another story).
Others still consider approaching the draft based on where the team is positioned. A lottery team will draft differently than a contender who will draft differently than a team with veterans who will draft differently than a team with youth.
Finally a team with or without cap space or a market that is either rich or poor with free agents all will approach the draft differently.
I think the real answer on which is the best way to approach the draft is right under our nose.
Tyreke is an example of drafting a less accomplished player with upside that neither fits the BPA or the best need. He lacked a pass first mentality and lightening quick speed of a PG and he lacked the vertical explosion and outside shot of a SG. He wasn't regarded as the best at either position, even defensively, and we already had a franchise SG in Kevin Martin and depth behind him. And although the only way he will ever be close to LeBron is if he can borrow one of these:
...he will be killing 'em softly with his layups for years (Pookey, insert "Killing me softly track" here).
NBADraft.net compared him to Jamal Crawford. Jamal's best year in 2008 looked like this:
39.9 minutes - 20.6 pts - 5 ast - 2.6 rbs - 1 stl and 2.4 TOs
NBA Draft Express gave him a best case scenario of Larry Hughes. Hughes best year in 2005 looked like this:
38.7 minutes - 22.0 pts - 4.7 ast - 6.3 rbs - 2.9 stl and 2.7 TOs
Sorry Scouts we already have Larry Hughes in his prime (maybe not the steals yet) and Evans is way better than Crawford and he already has a more effective shooting percentage. Nobody who loves the Kings or NBA basketball can argue another player drafted other than Tyreke has had a bigger impact on its team this year. The BPA last year for the fourth pick could be argued to have been DeMar or Jordan based on stats, body of work, and pro scout rankings. Given the same sources, the best fit based on alleged need for the Kings was Ricky Rubio, Johnny Flynn or Stephen Curry.
What you can say is Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings are great selections in that they were BPAs and filled big needs for their respective teams.
So in summary, there is no one way to approach the draft, despite everyone's rant to the contrary. If Kevin and Cisco stayed healthy, and we still had Wabeno, Tyreke does not win rookie of the year and probably settles for a productive but not stellar season. All of us little S&%ts would be talking about how Kevin in his first All Star year needs someone to feed him the ball. So we would pine for why we didn't get Curry, Rubio, Flynn, Jennings trade down for Collison, or Holliday or Mills.
With that in mind, I re-open the annual discussion on which position should the Kings address in the upcoming draft? Please save the chatter on BPA or biggest need because you are both right and wrong at the same time. It is a combination of who is available compared to what free agents are available at the same position and for how much, what the biggest need is, who has the biggest upside, who can come in and give the biggest lift, who gives you the best trade scenarios, who is the most athletic, who has the most upside, who best clicks with the current team and where will our luck fall next year with injuries.