Invest in upside ... except for this time
When it comes to the draft, it's understood that general managers will almost always take an upside player over an experienced college player that could add immediate rotation depth or fill a need. There's a reason for this: The NBA's salary structure and trade restrictions make it very difficult to add significant talent throughout the season, so most GMs hope to get lucky by adding someone who could become a major asset in time.
So you end up with situation like last year's, when USC's Taj Gibson lasted until the 26th pick, while Ohio State's B.J. Mullens went two picks ahead of him. Granted, Mullens is almost four years younger, but he hadn't come close to matching Gibson's production in college. And sure enough, Gibson was of six players to receive rookie of the year votes this season, while Mullens played in 13 games, total.
I don't have a problem with that strategy. I understand the logic behind most of the upside picks -- and Mullens could be better than Gibson in time. But that strategy sets a lot of GMs up to fail.
Looking back on last year's Insider D.R.A.F.T. Initiative series, the success rate of selections in the 20s is traditionally poor.
So with that said, while teams still should generally try to take the best player available -- especially at the top of the draft -- there are a few teams that should put need first. Here are four examples to watch in June.
To see the four teams that should focus on filling their most pressing needs and get access to all of Insider's NBA draft coverage, sign up today.