Drafting Probabilistically

I wouldn’t want to mount a comprehensive defense of the Minnesota Timberwolves management, but I think Chad Ford’s critique of drafting two point guards is off base:

Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn might have been the two best point guards in the draft. But to fall in love with them both and actually take them both amounts to point guard polygamy.

I really don’t know what to think about the Timberwolves’ draft. I keep waiting to hear about a trade that tells us where Rubio or Flynn is really going, but it hasn’t come, and GM David Kahn says that he wants to keep both of them.

The reality is that most draft picks, even lottery picks, don’t work out. Draftniks like Ford tend to just systematically overstate the value of almost everyone in the draft. He tells us that Jermaine Taylor, selected by the Rockets early in the second round, is “a great athlete and scorer” but in the real world there just aren’t 30+ “great” prospects in any given draft. And in particular in this draft everyone beyond Blake Griffin seems to be a bit of a crapshoot.


So if Minnesota wants a point guard and sees two appealing point guard prospects, then drafting two and hoping that one of them works out seems like smart probabilistic thinking to me. The other possibility would be to fall in for some serious GM hubris and assert that Minnesota can definitively answer the question of which of these two guys is the better NBA prospect.