The key to the NBA Draft is having picks in the top 10

It is intuitive to think that the earlier a team picks in the NBA Draft the better their pick is. While that works for picks for teams picking in the top 10, that advantage appears to disappear for teams picking No. 11 or later.

Below is a look at the career Win Shares for all first-round draft picks since 2000. While the data will be skewed toward players who have been in the NBA longer, the general trend seems clear: the value of draft picks declines among the first ten picks and then levels off to the point where anything after Pick 10 is a relative crap shoot.

The other interesting trend in the NBA over the last 17 drafts is that teams typically find better players at pick Nos. 2, 3, and 4 than they do at pick No. 2.

In order to account for some extreme outliers, here is a look at the median career Win Shares at each pick in the first round.

There is a bit more chaos here, but the general patterns appear to be the same: there is not much advantage to picking in the teens over the 20s and if you own the second pick, you should be worried.

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