WHICH NBA TEAM is best at picking and developing talent? Well, it's not the Timberwolves. This chart gives each franchise a five-year draft ranking (a combination of how high its picks have been and how many picks it had) and compares it with regular-season finishes from 2009 through '13--14. Those teams in the blue-shaded section underperformed their draft ranking, while those in the yellow outperformed their picks.
During the span Minnesota had 18 picks, including three in the top five, but finished in the top 20 in the league just once. The Heat and the Spurs combined for only four first-round picks but had the best regular-season records in 2013 and '14, respectively. Yet there's a difference: The Spurs drafted wisely and developed players; the Heat signed the Big Three.
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
[PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS]
[GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS]
[NEW ORLEANS PELICANS]
[LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS]
[SAN ANTONIO SPURS]
[NEW YORK KNICKS]
[LOS ANGELES LAKERS]
THEY SAID IT
"We need to be in a position where we're thinking long term, and the long term includes the short term."
Sam Presti, Thunder GM
on the debate about whether to send MVP Kevin Durant for immediate surgery on his injured right foot.
RONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (DURANT)
TWENTY NINE PHOTOS