NBA General Managers want you to believe that they draft well and build playoff contenders by developing talent and filling in the blanks with quality free agents. But the rosters of some of the contenders in the Western Conference reveal the exact opposite is true.
Half of the West Contenders (seeds 1-4) have gotten rid of their draft picks and have snatched up someone else’s. And then they added free-agents from other teams. Or, executed trades. A few find ecstasy in the NBA Draft’s second round, mining through the detritus. Or, they gamble on undrafted players. Stockpiling lottery picks, whether they are your own or someone else’s, seems to be the strategy for everyone but the Spurs.
If a Western Conference team holds up the gold trophy in June, they can thank the team of origin, the one who drafted their free agent prize. But gave up on him too quickly. Or, did not want to pay him. Or, just decided to part ways once the player got too old.
#1 Golden State Warriors: 6 drafted players: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes, Kevin Looney. 1 trade: Jason Thompson. 8 free agent signings: Brandon Rush, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Mareese Speights, Andrew Bogut, Ian Clark, James McAdoo
Bought or built?: Built. 74% of the Warriors offense is a result of drafted players who developed, primarily Curry, Thompson and Green. 62% of their rebounds come from their drafted players. 48% of assists are because of drafted players.
Lottery picks on Warriors: Andrew Bogut (1st, Bucks), Shaun Livingston (4th, Clippers), Harrison Barnes (7th), Steph Curry (7th), Andre Iguodala (9th, 76ers), Klay Thompson (11th), Brandon Rush (13th, Blazers)
Second round picks: Draymond Green (35th)
Undrafted Players: Ian Clark, James McAdoo
2015-16 Team Payroll: $93,248,622
#2 San Antonio Spurs: 4 drafted players: Tony Parker, Kyle Anderson, Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan. 11 free agent signings: Patty Mills, Ray McCallum, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, David West, LaMarcus Aldridge, Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw, Jonathon Simmons, Boban Marjanovic, Rasual Butler
Bought or Built?: Bought. 33% of their offense is a result of drafted players. Two-thirds of their offense is a result of free agent signings. 34% of their rebounds come from drafted players. However, 50% of Spurs assists are directly related to their draft picks, thanks to Tony Parker.
Lottery picks on Spurs: Tim Duncan (1st), LaMarcus Aldridge (2nd, Bulls)
Second round picks: Ray McCallum (36th, Kings), Matt Bonner (45th, Bulls), Danny Green (46th, Cavaliers), Rasual Butler (53rd, Heat), Manu Ginobli (57th)
Undrafted Players: Boban Marjanovic, Jonathon Simmons
2015-16 Team Payroll: $86,650,780
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder: 8 drafted players: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Steven Adams, Mitch McGrary, Cameron Payne, Josh Huestis 3 trades: Dion Waiters, Andre Roberson, D.J. Augustin. 3 free agent signings: Anthony Morrow, Kyle Singler, Enes Kanter.
Bought or Built?: Built. 73% of the Thunder offense is a result of drafted players who have developed. 71%of team rebounds are due to drafted players, and a staggering 85% of their assists can be credited to drafted players, particularly Russell Westbrook.
Lottery Picks on Thunder: Kevin Durant (2nd), Enes Kanter (3rd, Jazz), Russell Westbrook (4th), Dion Waiters (4th, Cavaliers), D. J. Augustin (9th, Hornets) Nick Collison (12th), Steven Adams (12th), Cameron Payne (14th).
Second round picks: Kyle Singler (33rd, Pistons)
Undrafted Players: Anthony Morrow
2015-16 Team Payroll:$97,749,910
#4 Los Angeles Clippers: 3 drafted players: Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, C.J. Wilcox. 2 trades: Lance Stephenson, Branden Dawson. 10 free agent signings. Chris Paul, Wesley Johnson, Paul Pierce, Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, Pablo Prigioni, J.J. Redick, Cole Aldrich, Luc Mbah a Moute, Jeff Ayers
Bought or Built?: Bought. 34% of the Clippers offense comes from their drafted players, particularly Blake Griffin. The rest of the offense comes from their free agent signings. Rebounding is a little bit better, 54% comes from drafted players, thanks to DeAndre Jordan’s 14 rebounds per game. 28% of Clippers assists comes from drafted players, otherwise known as the Chris Paul effect.
Lottery Picks on Clippers: Blake Griffin (1st), Chris Paul (4th, Hornets), Wesley Johnson (4th, Timberwolves), Jamal Crawford (8th, Cavaliers), Paul Pierce (10th, Celtics), Austin Rivers (10th, Hornets), J.J. Redick (11th, Magic), Cole Aldrich (11th, Hornets)
Second round picks: Jeff Ayers (31st, Kings), DeAndre Jordan (35th), Luc Mbah a Moute (37th, Bucks), Lance Stephenson (40th, Pacers), Branden Dawson (56th, Pelicans)
Undrafted Players: Pablo Prigioni
2015-16 Team Payroll: $95,136,188
photo via llananba