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How Successful Are Rookies?

Saturday, October 13, 2018


With the fantasy draft season now in full swing, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the success rate of past draft classes dating back to the 2003-04 season. I wanted to see how often the No. 1 overall selection put forth a noteworthy season, how frequently the No. 2 overall pick fell flat during their rookie year, and how far someone could fall in the actual NBA draft and still produce a statistically meaningful rookie campaign.

 

Some things of note:

 

I found that over the past 15 years, the No. 1 overall selection has put together a quality fantasy season 11 out of 15 times (although two of those players had delayed debuts).

 

The curse of the No. 2 pick has held true 10 times over the past 15 years.

 

The third overall selection has had a meaningful fantasy season 10 times over the past 15 years (although Joel Embiid’s debut took two years to get to).

 

Only six times has a player outside of the top-10 put up a relevant fantasy season, and those three players go by the names of: Josh Smith, Klay Thompson, Malcolm Brogdon, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma, John Collins

 

Over the past 15 years, just two players have been able to produce first-round value during their rookie season: Stephen Curry and Karl-Anthony Towns.

 

While second-round picks can certainly establish themselves later in their careers, only once over the past 15 years has a player from the second round produced a meaningful fantasy season – Malcolm Brogdon.

 

Editor's Note: Want to dominate your draft? Get the Rotoworld NBA Draft Guide for rankings (8-Cat, 9-Cat, Points and Dynasty), customizable projections, positional tiers, mock drafts, sleepers and busts, exclusive columns and more! Plus, get our new DFS Toolkit with our All-In package!

 

Before we delve into the data, I want to define the term “bust.” When I’m using the word bust in this article, it doesn’t necessarily denote that this selection was a bust on the long-term, just that during their rookie year they either didn’t play due to injury or their numbers that specific year weren’t anything special. In order to earn the bust moniker, said player needed to be a top-3 overall selection or someone with a high ADP.

 

This article is written from a fantasy perspective, so in using the term “success,” I’m looking at whether these numbers would have been useful to owners in standard 9-cat leagues. 

 

For a player to have been “successful” they needed to have met the following criteria:

Point Guards: 15+ points, 5+ assists, 1+ steals/three-pointers

Shooting Guards: 15+ points, 1.5+ steals/three-pointers

Small Forwards: 20+ points, 5+ rebounds, 1+ steals/three-pointers

Big Men: 10+ points, 8+ rebounds, 1.5+ blocks/steals

*If a player has an unusually high output in a statistically rare category (blocks, steals, assists) then they can fall slightly under one of these criteria and still be deemed successful

 

The Fabled 2003 Draft Class

Pick

Team

Player

School/Country

1

CLE

LeBron James

St. Vincent-St. Mary HS (OH)

2

DET

Darko Milicic

Serbia

3

DEN

Carmelo Anthony

Syracuse

4

TOR

Chris Bosh

Georgia Tech

5

MIA

Dwyane Wade

Marquette

6

LAC

Chris Kaman

Central Michigan

7

CHI

Kirk Hinrich

Kansas

8

MIL

T.J. Ford

Texas

9

NYK

Mike Sweetney

Georgetown

10

WAS

Jarvis Hayes

Georgia

11

GSW

Mickael Pietrus

France

12

SEA

Nick Collison

Kansas

13

MEM

Marcus Banks

UNLV

14

SEA

Luke Ridnour

Oregon

15

ORL

Reece Gaines

Louisville

16

BOS

Troy Bell

Boston College

17

PHO

Zarko Cabarkapa

Serbia

18

NOH

David West

Xavier

19

UTA

Sasha Pavlovic

Montenegro

20

BOS

Dahntay Jones

Duke

21

ATL

Boris Diaw

France

22

NJN

Zoran Planinic

Croatia

23

POR

Travis Outlaw

Starkville HS (MS)

24

LAL

Brian Cook

Illinois

25

DET

Carlos Delfino

Argentina

26

MIN

Ndudi Ebi

Westbury Christian School (Houston)

27

MEM

Kendrick Perkins

Ozen HS (TX)

28

SAS

Leandro Barbosa

Brazil

29

DAL

Josh Howard

Wake Forest

 

Notable Second-Rounders: Zaza Pachulia (No. 42, ORL), Kyle Korver (No. 51, NJ)

 

Performers

 

LeBron James: 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.7 blocks, 3.5 turnovers (41.7 FG, 75.4 FT)
79 games played – 4th round value

 

Carmelo Anthony: 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks, 3.0 turnovers (42.6 FG, 77.7 FT)
82 games played – 7th round value

 

Chris Bosh: 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.4 turnovers (45.9 FG, 70.1 FT)
75 games played – 9th round value

 

Dwyane Wade: 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks 3.2 turnovers (46.5 FG, 74.7 FT)
61 games played – 8th round value

 

BUSTED

Darko Milicic: 1.4 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.4 blocks (26.2 FG, 58.3 FT) 
34 games played

 

2004 Draft Class

Pick

Team

Player

School/Country

1

ORL

Dwight Howard

Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy

2

CHA

Emeka Okafor

Connecticut

3

CHI

Ben Gordon

Connecticut

4

LAC

Shaun Livingston

Peoria Central HS (IL)

5

WAS

Devin Harris

Wisconsin

6

ATL

Josh Childress

Stanford

7

PHO

Luol Deng

Duke

8

TOR

Rafael Araujo

Brigham Young

9

PHI

Andre Iguodala

Arizona

10

CLE

Luke Jackson

Oregon

11

GSW

Andris Biedrins

Latvia

12

SEA

Robert Swift

Bakersfield HS (CA)

13

POR

Sebastian Telfair

Lincoln HS (Brooklyn, NY)

14

UTA

Kris Humphries

Minnesota

15

BOS

Al Jefferson

Prentiss HS (MS)

16

UTA

Kirk Snyder

University of Nevada, Reno

17

ATL

Josh Smith

Oak Hill Academy (VA)

18

NOH

J.R. Smith

St. Benedict's Preparatory School (NJ)

19

MIA

Dorell Wright

Leuzinger HS (CA)

20

DEN

Jameer Nelson

St. Joseph's

21

UTA

Pavel Podkolzin

Russia

22

NJN

Viktor Khryapa

Ukraine

23

POR

Sergei Monia

Russia

24

BOS

Delonte West

St. Joseph's

25

BOS

Tony Allen

Oklahoma State

26

SAC

Kevin Martin

Western Carolina

27

LAL

Sasha Vujacic

Slovenia

28

SAS

Beno Udrih

Slovenia

29

IND

David Harrison

Colorado

 

Notable Second-Rounders: Anderson Varejao (No. 30, CLE), Trevor Ariza (No. 43, NYK)

 

Performers

 

Dwight Howard: 12.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 2.0 turnovers (52.0 FG, 67.1 FT)
82 games played – 4th round value (punting FT)

 

Emeka Okafor: 15.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 0.9 steals, 1.7 turnovers (44.7 FG, 60.9 FT) 
73 games played – 5th round value (punting FT)

 

Specialists

 

Ben Gordon: 15.1 points, 2.0 assists, 1.6 three-pointers, 2.3 turnovers (41.1 FG, 86.3 FT)
82 games played – 15th round value

 

Andre Iguodala: 9.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, 1.7 turnovers (49.3 FG, 74.3 FT)
82 games played – 5th round value

 

Josh Smith: 9.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.8 turnovers (45.5 FG, 68.8 FT)
74 games played – 9th round value

 

2005 Draft Class

Pick

Team

Player

School/Country

1

MIL

Andrew Bogut

Utah

2

ATL

Marvin Williams

North Carolina

3

UTA

Deron Williams

Illinois

4

NOH

Chris Paul

Wake Forest

5

CHA

Raymond Felton

North Carolina

6

POR

Martell Webster

Seattle Preparatory School

7

TOR

Charlie Villanueva

Connecticut

8

NYK

Channing Frye

Arizona

9

GSW

Ike Diogu

Arizona State

10

LAL

Andrew Bynum

St. Joseph HS (NJ)

11

ORL

Fran Vasquez

Spain

12

LAC

Yaroslav Korolev

Russia

13

CHA

Sean May

North Carolina

14

MIN

Rashad McCants

North Carolina

15

NJN

Antoine Wright

Texas A&M

16

TOR

Joey Graham

Oklahoma State

17

IND

Danny Granger

New Mexico

18

BOS

Gerald Green

Gulf Shores Academy (Houston)

19

MEM

Hakim Warrick

Syracuse

20

DEN

Julius Hodge

North Carolina State

21

PHO

Nate Robinson

Washington

22

DEN

Jarrett Jack

Georgia Tech

23

SAC

Francisco Garcia

Louisville

24

HOU

Luther Head

Illinois

25

SEA

Johan Petro

France

26

DET

Jason Maxiell

Cincinnati

27

POR

Linas Kleiza

Missouri

28

SAS

Ian Mahinmi

France

29

MIA

Wayne Simien

Kansas

30

NYK

David Lee

Florida

 

Notable Second-Rounders: C.J. Miles (No. 34, UTA), Ersan Ilyasova (No. 36, MIL), Monta Ellis (No. 40, GSW), Marcin Gortat (No. 57, PHO)

 

Performers

 

Chris Paul: 16.1 points, 7.8 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 steals, 2.3 turnovers (43.0 FG, 84.7 FT)
78 games played – 2nd round value

 

Raymond Felton: 11.9 points, 5.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.2 triples, 2.3 turnovers (39.1 FG, 72.8 FT)

80 games played – 12th round value

 

Andrew Bogut: 9.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 blocks, (53.3 FG, 62.9  FT)
82 games played – 9th round value

 

BUSTED

 

Marvin Williams: 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.1 turnovers (44.3 FG, 74.7 FT)
79 games played

 

2006 Draft Class

Pick

Team

Player

School/Country

1

TOR

Andrea Bargnani

Italy

2

CHI

LaMarcus Aldridge

Texas

3

CHA

Adam Morrison

Gonzaga

4

POR

Tyrus Thomas

Louisiana State

5

ATL

Shelden Williams

Duke

6

MIN

Brandon Roy

Washington

7

BOS

Randy Foye

Villanova

8

HOU

Rudy Gay

Connecticut

9

GSW

Patrick O'Bryant

Bradley

10

SEA

Mouhamed Sene

Senegal

11

ORL

J.J. Redick

Duke

12

NOK

Hilton Armstrong

Connecticut

13

PHI

Thabo Sefolosha

Switzerland

14

UTA

Ronnie Brewer

Arkansas

15

NOK

Cedric Simmons

North Carolina State

16

CHI

Rodney Carney

Memphis

17

IND

Shawne Williams

Memphis

18

WAS

Oleksiy Pecherov

Ukraine

19

SAC

Quincy Douby

Rutgers

20

NYK

Renaldo Balkman

South Carolina

21

PHO

Rajon Rondo

Kentucky

22

NJN

Marcus Williams

Connecticut

23

NJN

Josh Boone

Connecticut

24

MEM

Kyle Lowry

Villanova

25

CLE

Shannon Brown

Michigan State

26

LAL

Jordan Farmar

UCLA

27

PHO

Sergio Rodriguez

Spain

28

DAL

Maurice Ager

Michigan State

29

NYK

Mardy Collins

Temple

30

POR

Joel Freeland

England

 

Notable Second-Rounders: Paul Millsap (No. 47, UTA)

 

Performers

 

Brandon Roy: 17.1 points, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 2.1 turnovers (45.6 FG, 83.8 FT)
57 games – 5th round value L

 

BUSTED

 

Andrea Bargnani: 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, 1.5 three-pointers (42.7 FG, 82.4 FT)
65 games

 

LaMarcus Aldridge: 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks (50.3 FG, 72.2 FT)
63 games played

*Aldridge’s numbers suffered his rookie year because he was stuck playing behind Zach Randolph

 

2007 NBA Draft

Pick

Team

Player

School/Country

1

POR

Greg Oden

Ohio State

2

SEA

Kevin Durant

Texas

3

ATL

Al Horford

Florida

4

MEM

Mike Conley

Ohio State

5

BOS

Jeff Green

Georgetown

6

MIL

Yi Jianlian

China

7

MIN

Corey Brewer

Florida

8

CHA

Brandan Wright

North Carolina

9

CHI

Joakim Noah

Florida

10

SAC

Spencer Hawes

Washington

11

ATL

Acie Law

Texas A&M

12

PHI

Thaddeus Young

Georgia Tech

13

NOK

Julian Wright

Kansas

14

LAC

Al Thornton

Florida State

15

DET

Rodney Stuckey

Eastern Washington

16

WAS

Nick Young

Southern California

17

NJN

Sean Williams

Boston College

18

GSW

Marco Belinelli

Italy

19

LAL

Javaris Crittenton

Georgia Tech

20

MIA

Jason Smith

Colorado State

21

PHI

Daequan Cook

Ohio State

22

CHA

Jared Dudley

Boston College

23

NYK

Wilson Chandler

DePaul

24

PHO

Rudy Fernandez

Spain

25

UTA

Morris Almond

Rice

26

HOU

Aaron Brooks

Oregon

27

DET

Arron Afflalo

UCLA

28

SAS

Tiago Splitter

Brazil

29

PHO

Alando Tucker

Wisconsin

30

PHI

Petteri Koponen

Finland

 

Notable Second-Rounders: Marc Gasol (No. 48, LAL), Ramon Sessions (No. 56, MIL), Carl Landry (No. 31, SEA), Glen Davis (No. 35, SEA)

 

Performers

 

Kevin Durant: 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.9 blocks, 2.9 turnovers (43.0 FG, 87.3 FT)
80 games played – 7th round value

 

Al Horford: 10.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 0.7 steals, 1.7 Turnovers (49.9 FG, 73.1 FT)
81 games played – 8th round value

 

Specialist

 

Rudy Fernandez: 10.4 points, 2.0 three-pointers, 0.9 steals, 1.1 Turnovers (42.5 FG, 83.9 FT)
78 games played

 

BUSTED

 

Greg Oden: 8.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks (56.4 FG, 63.7 FT)
61 games played

 

2008 NBA Draft

Pick

Team

Player

School/Country

1

CHI

Derrick Rose

Memphis

2

MIA

Michael Beasley

Kansas State

3

MIN

O.J. Mayo

Southern California

4

SEA

Russell Westbrook

UCLA

5

MEM

Kevin Love

UCLA

6

NYK

Danilo Gallinari

Italy

7

LAC

Eric Gordon

Indiana

8

MIL

Joe Alexander

West Virginia

9

CHA

D.J. Augustin

Texas

10

NJN

Brook Lopez

Stanford

11

IND

Jerryd Bayless

Arizona

12

SAC

Jason Thompson

Rider

13

POR

Brandon Rush

Kansas

14

GSW

Anthony Randolph

Louisiana State

15

PHO

Robin Lopez

Stanford

16

PHI

Marreese Speights

Florida

17

TOR

Roy Hibbert

Georgetown

18

WAS

JaVale McGee

University of Nevada, Reno

19

CLE

J.J. Hickson

North Carolina State

20

CHA

Alexis Ajinca

France

21

NJN

Ryan Anderson

California

22

ORL

Courtney Lee

Western Kentucky

23

UTA

Kosta Koufos

Ohio State

24

SEA

Serge Ibaka

Congo

25

HOU

Nicolas Batum

France

26

SAS

George Hill

IUPUI

27

NOH

Darrell Arthur

Kansas

28

MEM

Donte Greene

Syracuse

29

DET

D.J. White

Indiana

30

BOS

J.R. Giddens

New Mexico

 

Notables: Nikola Pekovic (No. 31, MIN), Mario Chalmers (No. 34, MIN), DeAndre Jordan (No. 35, LAC), Goran Dragic (No. 45, SA), Omer Asik (No. 36, POR)

 

Performers

 

Derrick Rose: 16.8 points, 6.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.5 turnovers (47.3 FG, 78.8 FT)
81 games played – 11th round value

 

O.J. Mayo: 18.5 points, 3.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.8 3-pointers, 2.8 Turnovers (43.8 FG, 87.9 FT)
82 games played – 8th round value

 

Russell Westbrook: 15.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.3 turnovers (39.8 FGs, 81.5 FTs)
82 games played – 9th round value (punting turnovers)

 

Kevin Love: 11.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 0.0 three-pointers (45.9 FG, 78.9 FT)
81 games played – 14th round value
*Love’s rookie year could have been better, but he was stuck playing behind Al Jefferson for much of the season

 

Eric Gordon: 16.1 points, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.7 three-pointers (38.9 FG, 85.4 FT)
78 games played – 7th round value

 

Brook Lopez: 13.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.8 turnovers (53.1 FG, 81.7 FT)
82 games played – 5th round value

 

 

2009 NBA Draft

Pick

Team

Player

School/Country

1

LAC

Blake Griffin*

Oklahoma

2

MEM

Hasheem Thabeet

Connecticut

3

OKC

James Harden

Arizona State

4

SAC

Tyreke Evans

Memphis

5

MIN

Ricky Rubio

Spain

6

MIN

Jonny Flynn

Syracuse

7

GSW

Stephen Curry

Davidson College

8

NYK

Jordan Hill

Arizona

9

TOR

DeMar DeRozan

Southern California

10

MIL

Brandon Jennings

Oak Hill Academy (VA)

11

NJN

Terrence Williams

Louisville

12

CHA

Gerald Henderson

Duke

13

IND

Tyler Hansbrough

North Carolina

14

PHO

Earl Clark

Louisville

15

DET

Austin Daye

Gonzaga

16

CHI

James Johnson

Wake Forest

17

PHI

Jrue Holiday

UCLA

18

MIN

Ty Lawson

North Carolina

19

ATL

Jeff Teague

Wake Forest

20

UTA

Eric Maynor

Virginia Commonwealth

21

NOH

Darren Collison

UCLA

22

POR

Victor Claver

Spain

23

SAC

Omri Casspi

Israel

24

DAL

Byron Mullens

Ohio State

25

OKC

Rodrigue Beaubois

Guadeloupe

26

CHI

Taj Gibson

Southern California

27

MEM

DeMarre Carroll

Missouri

28

MIN

Wayne Ellington

North Carolina

29

LAL

Toney Douglas

Florida State

30

CLE

Christian Eyenga

Congo

 

Notable Second-Rounders: Jodie Meeks (No. 41, MIL), Patrick Beverley (No. 42, LAL), Danny Green (No. 46, CLE), Patty Mills (No. 55, POR)

 

Performers

 

Tyreke Evans: 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 0.5 three-pointers, 3.0 turnovers (45.8 FG, 74.8 FT) 
72 games played – 6th round value

 

Stephen Curry: 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.9 steals 2.1 three-pointers (46.2 FG, 88.5 FT)
77 games played – 1st round value

 

Brandon Jennings: 15.5 points, 5.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.8 three-pointers (37.1 FG, 81.7 FT)
82 games played – 10th round value

 

BUSTED


Hasheem Thabeet: 3.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks (58.8 FG, 58.1 FT)
68 games played

 

James Harden: 9.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.2 three-pointers (40.3 FG, 80.8 FT)
76 games played
*It feels so strange to delve out the bust term to Chef Harden, but these numbers really wouldn’t have helped a team in standard leagues.

 

Delayed

 

Blake Griffin* (injured actual rookie year): 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.8 steals, 2.7 turnovers (50.6 FG, 64.2 FT)
82 games played (2010-11) – 7th round value

 

Ricky Rubio* (didn’t make NBA debut until 2011): 10.6 points, 8.2 assists, 2.2 steals, 3.2 Turnovers (35.7 FG, 80.3 FT)

41 games played – 6th round value

 


continue story »
12
A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @JaredJ831, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.
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