By Ross Benes
With the sixth pick in the draft, will the Kings finally break a 45-year-long superstar-less streak? You'd have to go back to the time when they were known as the Cincinnati Royals to find an instance when they selected an eventual All-Star starter.
While luck certainly plays a part in franchises landing great players in the draft, some teams (like the Kings) are just inept at finding and producing superstars, while others (like the Spurs) have a knack for it. We examined Basketball-Reference data to see how adept each franchise has been in producing "homegrown" superstars. In other words, what has their NBA draft record looked like?
While there are many ways to determine what constitutes a "star" in the NBA, we chose two criteria: those who were voted in as All-Star Game starters as well as those who produced at least 10 Win Shares in a season. We only looked at players who achieved either one of those two metrics for the same team they played their NBA rookie seasons for (so while Carmelo Anthony has definitely been a "star" for the Knicks, he doesn't count for this exercise, since they traded for him). To get a representative for each team, we had to go all the way back to 1970 when the then-Royals drafted Tiny Archibald.
The sortable table below shows when each team last drafted an All-Star Game starter as well as their last 10-plus-Win-Share player. Just to clarify, the "ASG Yr" and "Ws Yr" columns indicate the year that player was selected in the draft (not the year they were an All-Star Game starter or were worth 10 or more Win Shares).
For many teams, like the 76ers with Allen Iverson, a single player qualifies for both categories. When grouped by All-Star Game starters, the Kings, Bucks and Hawks have had the longest dry spells. Grouped by Win Shares, the Wizards, Hornets and Pistons possess the longest droughts. Win Share droughts are generally shorter since the stat isn't artificially limited to a particular number of players each season like All-Star Game starters is.
|Team||ASG Yr Drafted||ASG Starter||Ws Yr Drafted||10 Ws Player|
|76ers||1996||Allen Iverson||1996||Allen Iverson|
|Blazers||1983||Clyde Drexler||2012||Damian Lillard|
|Bucks||1979||Sidney Moncrief||2000||Michael Redd|
|Bulls||2008||Derrick Rose||2011||Jimmy Butler|
|Cavs||2011||Kyrie Irving||2011||Kyrie Irving|
|Celtics||2006||Rajon Rondo||1998||Paul Pierce|
|Clippers||2009||Blake Griffin||2009||Blake Griffin|
|Grizzlies||2007||Marc Gasol||2007||Marc Gasol|
|Hawks||1982||Dominique Wilkins||2007||Al Horford|
|Heat||2003||Dwyane Wade||2003||Dwyane Wade|
|Hornets||1991||Larry Johnson||1991||Larry Johnson|
|Jazz||1984||John Stockton||2005||Deron Williams|
|Kings||1970||Tiny Archibald||2004||Kevin Martin|
|Knicks||1985||Patrick Ewing||2005||David Lee|
|Lakers||2005||Andrew Bynum||1996||Kobe Bryant|
|Magic||2004||Dwight Howard||2004||Dwight Howard|
|Mavs||1994||Jason Kidd||1998||Dirk Nowitzki|
|Nets||1991||Kenny Anderson||2001||Richard Jefferson|
|Nuggets||2003||Carmelo Anthony||2003||Carmelo Anthony|
|Pacers||2010||Paul George||2010||Paul George|
|Pelicans||2012||Anthony Davis||2012||Anthony Davis|
|Pistons||1994||Grant Hill||1994||Grant Hill|
|Raptors||2003||Chris Bosh||2003||Chris Bosh|
|Rockets||2002||Yao Ming||2002||Yao Ming|
|Spurs||1997||Tim Duncan||1999||Manu Ginobili|
|Suns||2002||Amar'e Stoudemire||2008||Goran Dragic|
|Thunder||2007||Kevin Durant||2008||Russell Westbrook|
|Timberwolves||2008||Kevin Love||2008||Kevin Love|
|Warriors||2009||Stephen Curry||2009||Stephen Curry|
|Wizards||2010||John Wall||1980||Jeff Ruland|
But looking just at the last star a team produced doesn't tell us how often each team develops great players. So we also examined how many total stars each franchise has produced in the same timeframe. For simplicity, we stuck to All-Star Game starters here.
On average, each team had 2.77 "homegrown" stars. The 76ers, Bulls and Rockets tie for the most with six apiece. The Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Hornets, Kings, Mavericks and Wizards each only had one star.
Since expansion franchises are much younger than traditional NBA teams, it's not exactly fair to only look at the number of stars a team produced. Taking into account a franchise's length of existence gives a rate of how often each team produces a starting all-star. The table below shows how many years on average it takes each team to produce a new "homegrown" star and the stars each team produced.
|Pelicans/Hornets||6.50||Chris Paul||Anthony Davis|
|76ers||6.67||Doug Collins||George McGinnis||Julius Erving||Maurice Cheeks||Charles Barkley||Allen Iverson|
|Bulls||6.67||Artis Gilmore||Reggie Theus||Michael Jordan||Scottie Pippen||B.J. Armstrong||Derrick Rose|
|Rockets||6.67||Moses Malone||Rudy Tomjanovich||Ralph Sampson||Hakeem Olajuwon||Steve Francis||Yao Ming|
|Spurs||7.80||Larry Kenon||George Gervin||Alvin Robertson||David Robinson||Tim Duncan|
|Celtics||8.00||John Havlicek||Dave Cowens||Larry Bird||Antoine Walker||Rajon Rondo|
|Lakers||8.00||Magic Johnson||James Worthy||A.C. Green||Kobe Bryant||Andrew Bynum|
|Magic||8.67||Shaquille O'Neal||Anfernee Hardaway||Dwight Howard|
|Raptors||10.00||Vince Carter||Chris Bosh|
|Suns||10.00||Walter Davis||Dan Majerle||Steve Nash||Amar'e Stoudemire|
|Nuggets||13.00||Dan Issel||David Thompson||Carmelo Anthony|
|Timberwolves||13.00||Kevin Garnett||Kevin Love|
|Blazers||13.33||Bill Walton||Maurice Lucas||Clyde Drexler|
|Bucks||13.33||Bob Dandridge||Marques Johnson||Sidney Moncrief|
|Hawks||13.33||Eddie Johnson||John Drew||Dominique Wilkins|
|Thunder/Sonics||13.33||Shawn Kemp||Gary Payton||Kevin Durant|
|Warriors||13.33||Rick Barry||Latrell Sprewell||Stephen Curry|
|Nets||19.50||Derrick Coleman||Kenny Anderson|
|Pacers||19.50||Reggie Miller||Paul George|
|Cavaliers||20.00||LeBron James||Kyrie Irving|
|Jazz||20.00||Karl Malone||John Stockton|
|Knicks||20.00||Walt Frazier||Patrick Ewing|
|Pistons||20.00||Isiah Thomas||Grant Hill|
The Pelicans technically top the list, although that's more a function of their short time span. Looking at teams that have been around since the ABA-NBA merger, the top five (76ers, Bulls, Rockets, Spurs, Celtics) have 33 titles (more than half come from the Celtics). The bottom five (Wizards, Kings, Clippers, Pistons, Jazz) have five titles. On average, it took each franchise 17.39 years to draft their own star. The median duration was 13.33 years.
The Clippers, Kings and Wizards are the worst at producing "homegrown" stars. And unlike the Wizards and Clippers, the Kings' star came a long time ago. While the disastrous Knicks have fared a bit better, they haven't really drafted a big star since Patrick Ewing in 1985.
But there is hope for teams who have struck out on the draft time and time again. The Bucks vastly improved this season. Hopefully other teams with "homegrown" star droughts soon follow suit so upcoming seasons become less predictable and more watchable than what we're seeing. Thursday's draft could change everything.
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Ross Benes is a Sports on Earth contributor who has written for Deadspin, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire and Slate. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RossBenes.