Thinking Outside the Draft Lottery

The playoffs are approaching, and that means some teams that have no shot at the playoffs are looking to the draft. Although, both Conferences have teams with losing records currently in the playoffs! The race for the bottom of the playoff ladder in both conferences is wide open! While looking at the top producers in the NBA (via the Boxscore Geeks Players page), I did notice just how many of the top players in the NBA weren't top draft picks. If you want an elite player in the NBA, yes you wouldn't turn down the number one pick. However, as that requires losing over 60 games (or being the Celtics! I hope the Celtics win it via Brooklyn this season), it's not ideal. And what's more, a ton of the top players in the NBA this season weren't even close to the top of the draft. Here's all players this season that have over 10 Wins (so far! Still plenty of season left)

Player Team Games Minutes Wins PoP48 Draft Year Draft Pick
Harden, James HOU 61 2227 15.4 7.2 2009 3
Gobert, Rudy UTH 59 1980 15.2 8.4 2013 27
Jordan, DeAndre LAC 59 1858 14.1 8.3 2008 35
Antetokounmpo, Giannis MIL 57 2026 13.8 7.1 2013 15
Durant, Kevin GSW 58 1978 12.9 6.7 2007 2
Butler, Jimmy CHI 53 1949 11.6 5.8 2011 30
Westbrook, Russell OKC 59 2046 11.4 5.3 2008 4
Howard, Dwight ATL 54 1583 11.3 7.6 2004 1
Lowry, Kyle TOR 56 2111 11.2 4.8 2006 24
James, LeBron CLE 54 2027 11.1 5.1 2003 1
Leonard, Kawhi SAS 53 1766 10.9 6.1 2011 15
Porter, Otto WAS 57 1939 10.2 4.8 2013 3

Of the top 12 players in the NBA right now, six were picked out of the draft lottery. You'll notice that's the same number as the top twelve picked in the draft lottery. I'll note too that only Russell Westbrook and Otto Porter are top picks that stayed with their original teams. It's hard to predict who will be a future star (I don't care how stacked every draft is supposed to be) and it's hard to get top draft picks. That said, when people act like a top draft pick is a prerequisite for a star, we can only repeat, it's a coin flip if a star is a top draft pick or if they were found elsewhere.