Barring a May 18th miracle, the Sixers will be drafting somewhere in the 7-10 range. While the odds of drafting a franchise-saving player in this range is significantly less than the top 3 or top 5 -- depending on how deep the draft -- there's still a chance. Just ask the Golden State Warriors. Or the Milwaukee Bucks. Or Lloyd Christmas.
Here's the list of impact players drafted in the 7-10 range during the past 10 drafts:
2000: Jamal Crawford
2001: Joe Johnson
2005: Charlie Villanueva, Andre Bynum
2006: Rudy Gay
2007: Joakim Noah
Over the past 10 years the 7-10 range has produced plenty of good players, a couple of great players, and one or two franchise-savers. However; there's two sides to every story. Here are the "other" 7-10 picks over the past 10 years:
2001: Eddie Griffin, Sagana Diop, Rodney White
2002: Chris Wilcox
2006: Randy Foye, Patrick O'Bryant, Saer Sene
2008: Joe Alexander, DJ Augustin
Over the past 10 years, 40 picks have been made in the 7-10 range. 15 of the 40 made my list of "impact players", and the other 25 fall in the category of busts, role players, or prospects. For all you non-stats majors out there, the chances of drafting an impact player in the 7-10 range -- based on the past 10 years -- is 38 percent. And depending on your definition of a franchise-player, superstar, whatever, the 7-10 picks have produced anywhere between 2-5 over the past decade -- or 5-13 percent of the selections.
Now, there are some exceptions. Take a look at the infamous '03 draft. The top 5 picks were LeBron, Darko, Carmelo, Bosh, and Wade. The 7-10 picks were Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, Mike Sweetney, and Jarvis Hayes. Imagine being a team in the 7-10 range. I'm sure they were in a similar situation to this year's Sixers. A couple meaningless wins down the stretch was the difference between Carmelo Anthony and Jarvis Hayes, which depresses me to no end.
However; I don't think the '03 draft will ever be re-created, and some drafts have been polar-opposites. Take a look at the '02 draft, for example. The top 5 picks were Yao, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Drew Gooden, and Nickoloz Tskitishvili. The 7-10 picks were Nene, Chris Wilcox, Amare Stoudemire, and Caron Butler.
A top 5 pick doesn't guarantee a superstar, and a pick in the 7-10 range doesn't guarantee you a role player. It takes a little luck, and a lot of skill to avoid the Rafael Araujo's of the world. With that in mind, let's take a look at the man behind the past seven Sixers' drafts, Tony DiLeo.
It's difficult to assign one member of the front office all the credit or all the blame for draft picks, but for the purpose of this post -- and basic knowledge of the Sixers organization -- we're going to assume Tony DiLeo makes most of the decisions on draft day, at least since 2003, when DiLeo was promoted to Senior Vice President/Assistant General Manager of the Sixers. Here's what the Sixers and DiLeo have done in the draft since then:
2004: #9 Andre Iguodala
2005: #45 Lou Williams
2008: #16 Marreesse Speights
2009: #17 Jrue Holiday
Drafting potentially great players like Iguodala and Holiday at picks 9 and 17 is fantastic. Finding solid role players like Green, Korver, and Williams in the second round is impressive. And if Rodney Carney at 16 is the worst pick you've made, it's safe to say you've done a pretty good job.
Just for fun, I'm going to conduct my own re-drafts during the DiLeo era to see who he's missed on and/or how well really did, based on the players available.
2003: #50 Willie Green and #51 Kyle Korver (same)
2004: #9 Andre Iguodala (same)
2005: Either Andray Blatche or Marcin Gortat at #45 (instead of Lou Williams)
2008: #16 Marreesse Speights (same)
2009: #17 Jrue Holiday (same)
The '06 draft was by far, DiLeo's worst. The '07 draft could've been better, but he got the first -- and most important pick correct. All the other drafts were pretty spectacular all things considered. Based on DiLeo's drafts you could also conclude that he likes athletic players, full of potential. Hello Hassan Whiteside!
Keep this in mind come both lottery night, and draft night. A pick in the 7-10 range isn't all gloom and doom, especially when you have Tony DiLeo calling the shots.
P.S. Look for the LB Big Board V2 shortly after the deadline to declare (April 26).