- Kevin Pelton
By definition, all 25 teams that made a pick in last night's NBA draft improved their rosters. For me, though, the real test of success is whether a team got more out of their picks than we'd expect, based on average results in years past.
To quantify that concept, I've used the average value of each pick from 2006 to 2013 (as detailed last year) and my WARP projections from this year's draft to rate each selection, then totaled those ratings and ranked teams from 1 to 25. Here is how they performed in statistical terms.
1. Denver Nuggets (plus-5.4 projected WARP, 3.0 expected based on picks)
The Nuggets actually entered the draft with 2.1 expected WARP, a total they improved via a savvy trade of the 11th pick for the 16th and 19th selections. Denver then used those two first-rounders to pick the No. 3 (Jusuf Nurkic, 3.3 projected WARP) and No. 13 (Gary Harris, 1.9) prospects in my WARP projections.
In the second round, the Nuggets added my No. 5 prospect, Nikola Jokic (3.1). Even if you think translated Adriatic League stats overestimate the potential of the two centers, both Nurkic and Harris easily could have been lottery picks, and Jokic could have gone at the start of the second round.
2. Memphis Grizzlies (plus-3.2 WARP, 1.7 expected)
My draft ratings haven't always aligned with those of John Hollinger, my Per Diem predecessor and current vice president of basketball operations for the Grizzlies. They apparently did this year, though. The Grizzlies grabbed UCLA guard Jordan Adams (No. 6 in projected WARP at 3.0) with the 22nd pick, then traded a future second-rounder Utah to get Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (No. 14, 1.9) at 35.
Which NBA teams got the most value out of their draft picks? Kevin Pelton explores.