History approves: Making sense of the Rozier pick

First things first: I'm not going to pretend that I was not shocked by the Celtics' selection of Terry Rozier last night. Presumably no one gave the "Bill Simmons fist pump" when Adam Silver announced the Celtics' pick last night. Well, no one except Rozier himself who jumped into the pool wearing a suit but that's another story, along with his love of spaghetti ranch sugar sandwiches. In fact, I tried to sum up the collective feelings of the Celtics Nation in this tweet:

Since then, we have heard several explanations regarding why the Celtics selected Terry Rozier. He was -allegedly- subtly climbing up the ranks last night, and the Celtics loved his work ethics, his defense, his speed, his penetration, his strength... Yes, we have already had several guards who satisfy these criteria, are short and cannot shoot from beyond the arc, but hey, maybe we will mold all our guards into one giant superguard named Mariah Brassier? Anything is possible.

Putting all that aside, I actually want to bring a fresher approach to the table. We all know that the NBA Draft is a crapshoot. For every success story there are tens of washed out players, especially when it comes to non-lottery picks. So what I want to do is to look at all the non-lottery point guards who were selected in the first round in the last 10 years, and see how their NBA careers panned out. Here is the list:

Nate Robinson (2005, 21st): Had a quite decent career, almost won a ring with the Celtics. If he weren't injured, he would be on the Clippers roster last season.
Jarrett Jack (2005, 22nd): Still in the league, a respected veteran who has played an average of 28 minutes per game throughout his career.
Rajon Rondo (2006, 21st): I mean...
Marcus Williams (2006, 22nd): Made All-Rookie Second Team, netted the Nets a conditional first-round pick from the Warriors that turned into Darius Morris. Now in Europe.
Kyle Lowry (2006, 24th): NBA All-Star in 2015.
Jordan Farmar (2006, 26th): 2 time NBA champions as the Lakers backup PG. Now in Turkey.
Javaris Crittenton (2007, 19th): Infamous for his "gun incident" with Arenas, received a one-year probation and never returned to NBA. Now in jail.
Aaron Brooks (2007, 26th): MIP in 2010, most recently a veteran backup PG for the contending Bulls.
George Hill (2008, 26th): Valuable backup PG for the contending Spurs, starting PG for the Pacers.
Jrue Holiday (2009, 17th): NBA All-Star in 2013.
Ty Lawson (2009, 18th): Averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists for the Nuggets last season.
Jeff Teague (2009, 19th): NBA All-Star in 2015.
Eric Maynor (2009, 20th): Backup PG to Deron Williams, traded to OKC for financial reasons. Has not been the same after ACL injury in 2012.
Darren Collison (2009, 21st): Made All-Rookie First Team, has been a journeyman with career averages of 29.3 minutes, 12,4 points and 5 assists.
Rodrigue Beaubois (2009, 25th): NBA Champions with the Mavericks (17.7 mpg), injuries drove him out of the league.
Toney Douglas (2009, 29th): Backup PG for the Knicks, has been used in various trades, now with the Pelicans (14.8 mpg, 4.3 ppg, 2.0 apg)
Eric Bledsoe (2010, 18th): Made All-Rookie Second Team, starting PG for the Suns.
Avery Bradley (2010, 19th): Not a PG anymore, but his value is well known.
Greivis Vasquez (2010, 28th): Career average of 24 mpg, 9.1 ppg, 5.2 apg; recently netted a first-round pick to the Raptors.
Nolan Smith (2011, 21st): Out of the league, no career highlights.
Reggie Jackson (2011, 24th): Wanted out of a contender to be able to get a contract in 8-digits.
Norris Cole (2011, 28th): Backup PG for the 2-time champion Heat.
Cory Joseph (2011, 29th): Backup PG for the 2014 Champions Spurs (18.3 mpg, 6.8 ppg, 2.4 apg)
Tony Wroten (2012, 25th): Netted the Grizzlies a second-round pick & a trade exception, averaged 29.8 minutes, 16.9 points and 5.2 assists for the 76ers last year.
Marquis Teague (2012, 29th): No career highlights, value in trade was Tornike Shengalia, now in D-League.
Dennis Schroder (2013, 17th): Backup PG for the Eastern Conference finalist Hawks.
Shane Larkin (2013, 18th): Was used in a trade for Chandler and Felton by the Mavs, have not panned out yet.
Tyler Ennis (2014, 18th): Used in the three-team trade, averaged 14.1 minutes, 4 points and 2.4 assists for the Bucks.
Shabazz Napier (2014, 24th): Drafted because he was LeBron's favorite player, LeBron left the Heat, he is in D-League.

So that's a list of 29 players in 10 years. Only 20% of them may be considered as "busts", and bear in mind you can neither predict jail time nor injuries for a player. Given the general expectations from low 1st round draft picks, that's a pretty impressive list. There are All-Stars, backup PGs for contenders/champions, and very valuable veterans up there. Compare that to the list of big men who turn out to be sheer disappointments, even those that are picked really high. Coveted shooting guards fall out of the league simply because they cannot shoot. Point guards, somehow, survive most of the time.

Why? Maybe they are underrated because they do not have size. Maybe the basketball IQ that you need to be even a mediocre PG does not reflect in the stats, hence teams sleep on players. Maybe the rise of the "combo guard" helped those PGs who were not seen as talented back in college. Maybe being a backup PG is the easiest "backup" job in the NBA. I really don't know the reason, but history suggests that if you draft a point guard that you like, you will most likely get something out of him unlike the "athletic" forwards and "rim protecting" centers that likely disappear in a few years.

Again, this is not to say that the Rozier pick was great. Yes, we do have a logjam at the guard spot now, but we've had that for a couple of years now and we have always turned those into more draft picks. Maybe Ainge already has a plan to trade some of the guards. We shall wait and see.

So yeah, if you feel terrible that we have drafted yet another point guard, you have a historical reason to feel better.

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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