I have a question about draft pick value. A common notion I’m hearing after the Salmons trade is that higher draft picks are always definitely worth more than lower ones. Obviously this is true for many cases in many drafts.
My question is, if a particular draft is considered deeper than it is talented towards the top, is the higher draft pick still always worth more than a lower one, considering that higher picks are paid more the higher you go?
I think this can be a difficult question for people to have the same perspective on, because when dealing with draft picks, people have different perceptions about players’ values. For example, some feel strongly that Brandon Knight is the next big thing while others think he is overrated.
To make the question more concrete with the idea of a talent pool being deeper than talented towards the top, let’s say we have a special Geoff Petrie mid-level exception player draft, where you get to choose between Petrie mid-level picks: John Salmons, Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia, Shareef-Abdur Rahim, and Mikki Moore. You get the player at the time he was signed, and you have a sliding scale for salaries like the real draft. So the first pick will be paid lets say 8 million per year, the second is paid 7 million, down to 3 million for the last pick.
Would you still want a higher pick in this scenario or a similar one?
Going back to the real draft this year, if you’re the kings, and you like any one of Kemba Walker, Jimmer, Alec Burks, Nicola Vucevic, as much as you like, say Brandon Knight or Bismack Biyombo, is it possible that the 10th pick could be worth more than the 7th pick, since you pay that player less?
Adding to the possible idea that “paying for your favorite” might have less value in this type of draft, is that so much of your return on your draft pick is dependent upon a players development post draft, meaning that even if you have a slight preference for one player over another, you already accept a large margin for error on that assessment.
Another possible factor I’m wondering about is if a draft has a sweet spot. For me, the sweet spot of the Petrie mid-level draft is pick 3 or 4, anything above Mikki Moore, but not too high to where you’re overpaying. In this case, the 9 - 13 picks of this year’s draft could have the higher value for the Kings than 3 to 8, since that’s where they project they’ll likely have a high chance of picking one of the players they like at the lowest price.
If you’re limited to this case, and only so many of those “sweet spot” teams (1) are willing to take on a 7 million/year backup PG and give up a 8 million/year starter (old and broken down), does it make slightly more sense that the Kings made this trade?