See, the thing with getting the top pick in the lottery is if there ain’t a game-changing franchise player at the top, you should trade down because the value just won’t be there.
Dan Gilbert ain’t the trading down type, but he should be.
Kyrie Irving will not (mark my words) lead Cleveland to a championship and isn’t the type of point guard you can build a team around. In fact, I venture to hypothesize that you can’t (and shouldn’t) build teams around point guards, ever.
Care to argue? Peep this:
Here’s a list of the top 10 players in assists (the easiest way for me to find 10 great point guards):
Rank Player AST
1. John Stockton 15806
2. Jason Kidd 11578
3. Mark Jackson 10334
4. Magic Johnson 10141
5. Oscar Robertson 9887
6. Steve Nash 9252
7. Isiah Thomas 9061
8. Gary Payton 8966
9. Rod Strickland 7987
10. Maurice Cheeks 7392
Between those 10 NBA greats, how many championships? Stockton accounts for zero, despite playing with Karl Malone his whole career. Jason Kidd’s a goose-egg. Mark Jackson’s a donut. Magic won four. Oscar needed to play with Kareem (back when he was Lew!) to win his lone title. Nash is empty. Isiah won two on the bad-boy Pistons. Payton won zero. Strickland won zero. Mo Cheeks won one.
Set aside Magic, and that’s 10 all-time point guard greats accounting for four NBA titles. Why?
Let’s take a look at the teams that won.
The Lakers have won five titles with Derek Fisher at PG.
The Celtics won with Rondo before he was Rondo, back when they loaded up at hall-of-fame-level skill at the 2, 3 and 4.
The Spurs won with Avery Johnson and Tony Parker.
The Bulls won with John Paxson and Derek Harper on a team where Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan did most of the ball handling.
The Rockets had Mario Elie and Sam Cassell. The Pistons had Chauncey Billups.
I just named a bunch of players who range from serviceable to very good, but no ALL-TIME GREATS.
Long story short: If you want to win an NBA title, do not think you will do so by drafting a game-changing point guard. As it turns out, the point guard won’t change too many games.