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The history of the 28th draft pick

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Golden State is picking near the end of the first round. What can we expect?

2016 NBA Finals - Game Two Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2018 NBA Draft is today. And while it’s quite possible that the Golden State Warriors will purchase a second-round pick, currently they only have one selection: 28th overall, near the end of the first round.

Every year, as the draft approaches, there’s a tendency to overrate prospects, and the impact they can have. It’s fun to think that most of the lottery picks will be stars, and most of the next 20 picks will be strong role players, but reality is a bit more grim. It’s important to temper our expectations a little bit.

So what can we expect from the 28th pick? Let’s take a look at the last 15 drafts, to get a feel for the quality of player that usually is available in that slot.

2017: Tony Bradley
2016: Skal Labissière
2015: R.J. Hunter
2014: C.J. Wilcox
2013: Livio Jean-Charles
2012: Perry Jones III
2011: Norris Cole
2010: Greivis Vásquez
2009: Wayne Ellington
2008: Donté Greene
2007: Tiago Splitter
2006: Maurice Ager
2005: Ian Mahinmi
2004: Beno Udrih
2003: Leandro Barbosa

As you can see, there’s not a lot. There aren’t any franchise-altering players in that grouping, and plenty of those names never developed into role players, either. Still, the Warriors would be giddy to fill out their roster with an Ellington, a Mahinmi, or a Barbosa.

Of course, only looking at the 28th pick is highly selective, and not representative of all the talent available. Warriors fans certainly know this, as Draymond Green, Jordan Bell, and Patrick McCaw were all drafted later than the 28th pick. For that matter, so too were Monta Ellis and David Lee. And stars like Nikola Jokic and Isaiah Thomas have been found in the second round of recent drafts.

Still, set your expectations accordingly: The Warriors are almost surely not drafting an All-Star tonight. But they can still get a very nice player.