It's always nice when a team is able to land an established, big-name talent in free agency. But since the likelihood of that happening depends on too many uncontrollable factors, it's much wiser to be a shrewd evaluator of talent and be able to build a team through the draft instead.
Sam Smith of Bulls.com took a look at which teams have been most successful at it, and the Chicago Bulls, with 10 players currently in place that came to them through their own draft picks, came in at the top of the list.
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“The franchise always has had a strong belief in building through the draft and developing our own players,” said Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “It starts with Jerry (Reinsdorf, managing partner), who always has been a strong believer in the draft.”
It was the Bulls under Reinsdorf and General Manager Jerry Krause in the 1980s who despite the urging of draft choice Michael Jordan rejected trades and stuck with draft picks Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant to form the core of the first three championship teams. …
It’s just that most teams have discovered there just aren’t enough stars in free agency or available in trade to go around to count on for building your team. So the conventional wisdom of late is more toward a greater concentration and commitment to the draft.
The prevailing theory these days is the best chance to sustain success without having to rebuild from the bottom is through the draft. That’s because then you continue to have a pipeline supply of young players coming in to support your veterans.
Unlike, for instance, the all or nothing some teams like the Brooklyn Nets have attempted for a quick fix. Similarly, the Knicks and Lakers who have long traded away draft picks and taken precipitous falls in the standings.