The Probability of Drafting a Perennial NBA All-Star


The 2016 NBA Draft recently concluded, and now, as preparations for the Summer League slowly progresses, you have that jittery anticipation about whether or not the likes of Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, et al can truly live up to their hype. Principally, it’s amazing how the draft lottery’s order fell into place, as fans of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, rightfully got the first and second picks, draftees who are pegged to be franchise players for their respective clubs.

Now, as history suggests, all the scouting reports, the pre-draft workouts, and the statistics don’t really factor in once the regular season starts. In some ways, these numbers only give fans the tip of the players’ potential, so it’s still up to them to live it. Having said all of these, being the first overall pick doesn’t necessarily equate to individual honours such as Most Valuable Player awards and All Star recognitions, let alone championship trophies, for your team. Essentially, after winning the draft lottery, there’s another set of odds fans and team owners have to overcome.

To put an exact number on the subject, it’s important to know and understand the theory of probability, as well as how it may or may not affect the future of an NBA franchise. In its simplest form, the Dictionary defines it as “the theory of analysing and making statements concerning the probability of the occurrence of events.” Pocketfruity, further explains the concept through and infographic and even presents simple brain teasers to help determine probable outcomes. With this, you can supplement your anticipation and/or control your hopes about this year’s picks. Here’s a rundown of teams’ probability when it comes to bagging a potential NBA All-Star at the top three spots.

Number 1 Pick

Out of the 35 first overall picks from 1980 to 2015, 27 (or 77%) of them have gone on and became perennial All-Stars. In addition, these top draftees feature a laundry list of transcendent players including Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, and of course, LeBron James. Expect the numbers to go higher with the potential of recent top picks, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and the aforementioned Ben Simmons.

LeBron James
LeBron James

Number 2 Pick

It’s somewhat surprising how huge a drop off it is in terms of talent and potential, as only 12 out of the 35 (34%) of number two picks have made it to the annual NBA showcase. Players such as Jason Kidd, Alonzo Mourning, and Kevin Durant have all made their presence felt not only in February, but also in April – bringing their teams to the Playoffs almost every year. This number two slot is also infamous for being the “Darko Milicic pick,” or the notorious international draftee who went before the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.

Number 3 Pick

For some odd reasons, the percentage of number three picks surpasses their predecessors by a significant margin. 17 out of 35, or 49%, have made it to the February dance, with one player etching his name in basketball immortality. Among the notable number three picks are Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, and the all time great Michael Jordan. There are also several players who’ve made an impact on the court only to be derailed by injuries including Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, and Baron Davis.

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