Pick Allocation, Rankings Ahead Of 2019 NBA Draft

by June 20, 2019
Ja Morant

The day of the 2019 NBA Draft has arrived and after a whirlwind of transaction activity after the NBA Finals, the draft order remains in flux. Let’s jump right into action and start breaking down where teams sit ahead of tonight’s event.

Related: We’ve also published a team-by-team breakdown of the draft if that’s more your style.

While several of the trades that have been reported involve draft picks, those deals aren’t actually official yet and may not be until July. What we’ll see instead, is teams making draft selections on behalf of the team that will ultimately inherit the pick.

For example, when we say a total of four NBA teams will be complete bystanders tonight, without either a first or second-round pick, we include the Los Angeles Lakers even though they’ll technically be picking at No. 4 on behalf of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Here’s who else will be shut out this evening…

Teams With Zero Draft Picks
Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Lakers
Milwaukee Bucks

Of course no general manager worth their salt will sit idly by as a flurry of draft activity transpires. Teams can and will be moving picks around and buying into the action up until Mark Tatum calls out the 60th and final pick of the night.

More interesting than which teams have divested from the draft is the list of teams that have accumulated a formidable collection of assets heading into the night. A total of nine teams have at least three draft picks on the night. Whether they chose the right draft class to bet heavy on remains to be seen.

Teams With Extra Draft Picks
Atlanta Hawks (8, 10, 17, 35)
Boston Celtics (14, 20, 22, 51)
Charlotte Hornets (12, 36, 52)
Detroit Pistons (15, 30, 45)
Golden State Warriors (28, 41, 58)
New Orleans Pelicans (1, 4, 39, 57)
Philadelphia 76ers (24, 33, 34, 42, 54)
Sacramento Kings (40, 47, 60)
San Antonio Spurs (19, 29, 49)

Quantity is good and give general managers flexibility to move up in the draft but don’t let sheer volume fool you, especially in a draft that’s not widely regarded as particularly deep.

To breakdown which teams are actually in the best position heading into the draft, we can measure the numerical value of draft picks from the analytics community.

According to Tankathon, which weighs draft picks by value and then calculates each team’s overall draft power ranking score, the team with the best draft assets is New Orleans.

Sure, anybody and their grandmother could have told you that based solely on the hype surrounding Zion Williamson but bear in mind that these rankings have nothing to do with available or projected prospect personnel.

The Pels’ score is inflated by owning two of the top-four picks and then an additional pair of second rounders for good measure.

Here are the top ten teams according to those metrics…

Draft Power Rankings
1. New Orleans Pelicans (1, 4, 39, 57)
2. Atlanta Hawks (8, 10, 17, 35)
3. Memphis Grizzlies (2, 23)
4. Boston Celtics (14, 20, 22, 51)
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (5, 26)
6. New York Knicks (3, 55)
7. Phoenix Suns (6, 32)
8. Chicago Bulls (7, 38)
9. Charlotte Hornets (12, 36, 52)
10. Philadelphia 76ers (24, 33, 34, 42, 54)

For a deeper dive at the power rankings or the math behind them, check out Tankathon and 82Games.com.