The Value of the No. 10 Pick

Draft Lottery
Jesse D. Garrabrant
by Couper Moorhead

The NBA Draft Lottery is over and the Miami HEAT have secured the No. 10 pick, which means they avoided being forced to send their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. So while you may be bummed out that Miami’s low-odds of obtaining a Top-3 pick didn’t pan out, having a pick at all is a whole lot better than the alternative.

This also means that Miami has a chance to select a pretty good player. No, the No. 10 slot doesn’t bring with it the expectation of drafting an All-Star or even Hall of Famer the way the No. 1 slot does, but it’s still plenty realistic for there to be high-caliber, rotation-worthy players available. When ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh took another look at slot-value last season as part of his DRAFT Initiative, one of his charts showed that the No. 10 pick is worth about 3.5 Estimated Wins Added per season.

For context, the No. 1 slot carries about an 8.5 EWA per year, while the No. 20 pick is around 0.5 EWA. The 10 slot also represents a bit of a value cliff, as both the 11 and 12 slots drop all the way down to below 2 EWA.

Again, these are simply estimates for what sort of player the HEAT could add to a core with playoff-intentions headed into next season. Estimates based on the actual players selected at the slot.

Players like the next five, who have posted the most career win-shares after being selected at the No. 10 spot.

Player Career WS
Paul Pierce 149.1
Horace Grant 118.2
Eddie Jones 100.6
Jason Terry 97.6
Joe Johnson 75.4

More recently, among those who have played fewer years and thus haven’t had the chance to post such lofty win-shares totals, the 10 slot has also produced Brook Lopez, Andrew Bynum, Paul George and Brandon Jennings.

The HEAT have actually picked 10th twice in their history, taking Kurt Thomas in 1995 and Caron Butler in 2002, with each of them enjoying long, successful careers in the league.

Is there a Pierce or a Johnson or a Butler available at 10 in this draft? There’s no way to know for sure, but the HEAT will spend the next month trying to find out. The Draft Combine took place last week, as team executives got to watch as players underwent a series of strength and agility tests while some took part in 5-on-5 action. Now teams get to bring individuals in to their practice facilities and put them through their paces while also getting another chance to sit down and talk. Little, if any, of this will be happening in the public eye, but it will be happening.

And before you know it, we’ll be at June 25, when for the first time all season, we know without a doubt that Miami will have a draft pick.


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