To be fair, the following post is geared towards “quant jocks” (ok, nerds) who have a reasonable knowledge of statistical distributions. In particular, I have used Weibull distributions to model different subsets of 1st round picks from over 40 NBA drafts. With different shape and scale parameters for each subset, the expected value of a draft pick can be estimated with statistical probability. Based on my analysis, I developed a methodology to define a bust objectively in order to overcome the bias which seems to be apparent in existing lists of all-time busts. If you work for an NBA team and came across this site, you should read this post.
Oklahoma point guard Trae Young led the NCAA in both scoring (27.4 ppg) and assists (8.7 apg) for the 2017-18 college basketball season. By doing something that had never been done before, Young became a consensus 1st Team All-American. With those credentials, it should be hard to argue against Young’s selection as the 5th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Still, I’m not convinced that his talents will transcend to the next level. Relative to all top 10 picks this year, Young has the highest probability of becoming a bust.
Despite having numerous high draft picks in the early 2000s, the Detroit Lions couldn’t reverse their fortunes as basement dwellers. Specifically, the Lions failed with their selections of Joey Harrington (#3 pick in 2002), Charles Rogers (#2nd pick in 2003), and Mike Williams (#10 pick in 2005). Harrington and Williams underperformed in the NFL, but they both avoided T10B status. On the other hand, Rogers didn’t fare so well. Once a consensus All-American at Michigan State, Rogers finished his professional career with fewer than 50 receptions and 500 yards. As such, he deservedly became the #4 NFL Draft Bust.