“With the tenth pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select, Mikal Bridges, Villanova.”
I think that’s probably what happens. Mikal is just too good of a fit for a Sixers team that needs wing depth and values defensive flexibility and mettle. Bridges provides both.
Whatever happens at #10 overall, it’s hard to get it wrong. Most experts see this draft tailing off a bit around pick 11 or 12, so whether it’s Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges, Trae Young, or even Lonnie Walker or a backup big man for Joel Embiid – should one of the centers slide down the board – I think you end up with a first-year contributor somewhere. Worst case scenario, you get a role player or second-unit guy who comes in on an affordable rookie deal.
Historically, that seems to be the case with the #10 pick – a lot of complementary pieces, some first-team studs, one legitimate superstar, and not a ton of bona fide busts.
Here’s the list of players taken at ten overall dating back 15 years to 2003:
2017 – Zach Collins (Gonzaga) – Sacramento Kings
The 19-year-old, seven-foot center was drafted by Sacramento and traded to Portland for picks 15 and 20.
Collins had a decent year backing up Jusuf Nurkic, starting on the bench but working his way into the lineup in December. He finished with 4.4 points per game and 3.3 rebounds as a rookie and looks like he’s got a lot of good years ahead.
Biggest draft surprise – Donovan Mitchell (13th), John Collins (19th), OG Anunoby (23rd), Kyle Kuzma (27th)
2016 – Thon Maker (Canada) – Milwaukee Bucks
I think Thon benefits big time from the reported Mike Budenholzer hire. Anybody was an upgrade from Joe Prunty, if we’re being completely honest.
His shooting was all over the place this year, going from 33% in October to 49% in February, then back down to 39% in March. He’s obviously got a ton of talent and I’m intrigued to see what he does with a bit of coaching.
Biggest draft surprise – Malcolm Brogdon (36th)
2015 – Justise Winslow (Duke) – Miami Heat
He’s been decent. The shoulder surgery obviously threw a wrench into his development and his minutes were down this season. Winslow did shoot the ball better in 2017/18, finishing with a career-high 42.4% from the field and career-high 38% from three.
He’s a good piece on a team that needs a superstar.
Biggest draft surprise – Devin Booker (13th), Terry Rozier (16th)
2014 – Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette) – Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers shipped Payton to Orlando on draft night for Dario Saric draft picks in what ended up being one of Sam Hinkie’s best moves.
Payton had some good years in Florida before he was traded to Phoenix this winter for a 2nd round pick. He’s a career 46% shooter who is less than stellar from the three point and foul lines. Should be interesting to see whether the Suns go Ayton or Doncic with the #1 overall pick and what happens to Payton from there.
Biggest draft surprise – Clint Capela (25th), Nikola Jokic (41st)
2013 – C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) – Portland Trail Blazers
From Lehigh to Portland, he’s one-half of one the NBA’s best back courts. Damian Lillard was disappointing in the playoff sweep but McCollum held up his end of the bargain, putting up 25 PPG and shooting 52% in the series.
Overall, his numbers were a bit down this year, but he’s still a stud and a shoe-in starter on pretty much any squad.
Biggest draft surprise – Steven Adams (12th), Giannis (15th), Rudy Gobert (27th)
2012 – Austin Rivers (North Carolina) – New Orleans Hornets
He took an obvious step forward after Chris Paul’s departure from the Clippers. Rivers hit career highs this season in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and three point shooting, though his overall field goal percentage dipped a bit.
Biggest draft surprise – Draymond Green (35th), Khris Middleton (39th)
2011 – Jimmer Fredette (BYU) – Milwaukee Bucks
Jimmer was an NBA disappointment but is now killing it in China, averaging 37, 7, and 5 over the past two years. He was the league’s international MVP this season and found his career rebirth overseas after 5 years with 4 different NBA teams.
Check this out:
Biggest draft surprise – Klay Thompson (11th), Kawhi Leonard (15th), Jimmy Butler (30th), Isaiah Thomas (60th)
2010 – Paul George (Fresno State) – Indiana Pacers
A future Sixer? Ho ho ho! We shall see…
George might be the best player to come out of the 2010 draft, depending on how you compare him to John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. Philly snagged Evan Turner at #2 overall.
Biggest draft surprise – Eric Bledsoe? (18th)
2009 – Brandon Jennings (Italy) – Milwaukee Bucks
Jennings famously skipped college and went to play in Europe for a season before entering the 2009 draft.
He was an immediate contributor, averaging around 16, 3, and 6 over his four seasons in Milwaukee. Jennings’ numbers dipped when he signed with Detroit in 2013 and he bounced a round a bit before winding up back in Wisconsin this season.
Biggest draft surprise – Jrue Holiday (17th), Jeff Teague (19th), Darren Collison (21st), Danny Green (46th), Patty Mills (55th)
2008 – Brook Lopez (Stanford) – New Jersey Nets
18 points and 7 rebounds over a ten year career. And he was an All-Star in 2012-2013, remember that?
I think Lopez flies under the radar a bit because he’s been on some bad teams and has made just two career playoff appearances. But the value the Nets got out of this pick is more than apparent.
Biggest draft surprise – Serge Ibaka (24th), DeAndre Jordan (35th), Goran Dragic (45th),
2007 – Spencer Hawes (Washington) – Sacramento Kings
Biggest draft surprise – Marc Gasol (48th)
2006 – Mouhamed Saer Sene (Senegal) – Seattle Supersonics
This guy was a seven foot bust who played 47 NBA games. Looks like he extended his career as a journeyman in Europe.
Biggest draft surprise – Rajon Rondo (21st), Kyle Lowry (24th), Paul Millsap (47th)
2005 – Andrew Bynum (St. Joseph High School) – L.A. Lakers
The Sixers legend.
I’m not sure if Bynum ever enjoyed playing basketball, but he won a pair of rings and earned an All-Star nod over a nine-year career.
Biggest draft surprise – Danny Granger (17th), David Lee (30th), Monta Ellis (40th), Sweet Lou Williams (45th), Marcin Gortat (57th)
2004 – Luke Jackson (Oregon) – Cleveland Cavaliers
This guy lit it up at Oregon and was a finalist for the Wooden award and the Naismith player of the year award. He struggled in the NBA and now coaches a small NAIA school in his hometown of Eugene.
Biggest draft surprise – Al Jefferson (15th), Jameer Nelson (20th), Trevor Ariza (43rd)
2003 – Jarvis Hayes (Georgia) – Washington Wizards
He had an okay career, averaging 9 and 4 over four years with the Wizards. A knee injury hampered him through those early seasons, and Hayes later became a bench guy for the Pistons and Nets before heading over to Europe where he won the 2012 Russian Cup and the 2015 Romanian championship.
Biggest draft surprise – David West (18th), Boris Diaw (21st), Josh Howard (29th), Mo Williams (47th), Kyle Korver (51st)
Not a lot of busts in there, at least not in the last six or seven years. More often than not, the 10th pick turned into a legitimate contributor. Hayes, Jackson, and Sene were drafted more than ten seasons ago. I think you’d say that Jimmer is the only true disappointment of the last decade, while it’s too early to judge Maker and Collins.
If you want to take it back even further, here are some more players who went tenth –
- Caron Butler (2002)
- Joe Johnson (2001)
- Keyon Dooling (2000)
- Jason Terry (1999)
- Paul Pierce (1998)
- Danny Fortson (1997)
- Erick Dampier (1996)
- Kurt Thomas (1995)
- Eddie Jones (1994)
Horace Grant and Johnny Dawkins are also on the list.
The Sixers look to be in good shape here. It’s easier to hit than to miss at #10 overall, so unless Bryan Colangelo inexplicably reaches, a worst-case scenario might be one of Mikal or Miles Bridges, which certainly improves your team heading into next season.