Let's quickly rehash what we've learned so far:
- A draft's return, the data says, is overwhelmingly luck. Yet, GM's walk around with a gangsta lean and think they be ballin' and (expletive).
- Jimmy Johnson's hair never moves. Even in the shower.
- JJ's Draft Day chart is completely overrated, and is more proof of GM overconfidence in their drafting abilities than a heuristic device.
"We look at the draft as, in some respects, a luck-driven process. The more picks you have, the more chances you have to get a good player," DeCosta says. "When we look at teams that draft well, it’s not necessarily that they’re drafting better than anybody else, it seems to be that they have more picks. There’s definitely a correlation between the amount of picks and drafting good players."
- On average, teams who trade down more (a standard deviation compared to the norm) acquire 1.5 more wins per season. Doesn't seem like much, until you realize there's only 16 games played. [This was based on a correlation, so trading down does not cause this effect in and of itself. Just that the two are connected.]
- On average, trading down and getting 2 players is overwhelmingly more successful than trading up to get one player. Most teams get to keep these 2 players, and it leads to more starts and more Pro Bowls. (Side note: Pro Bowl was considered in the research to help differentiate the quality of the players in the trade, as it should be expected that 2 players get more starts than 1 player. I'll (expletive) all over the Pro Bowl next week in my next article because a Pro Bowl doesn't carry as much weight as it used to, but I can see why they included this in their parameters to have some objective measure of quality.)
- Considering the bullet point above, even if the team that trades down only gets to keep the better of the 2 players, they still get more starts and the same amount of Pro Bowls compared to the team that trades up.