3: Top picks are rarely the best player on a title team
Numerous household names and superstars have been top-five picks in the NBA Draft since the beginning of the 21st century. But only a handful of those exceptionally gifted players have been the best player on a title team. As discussed earlier, finding your generational talent is only part of the equation.
There are three stars on this list. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant. Wade brought a championship to his original team. KD ditched the Thunder for a better shot at a title in Golden State. And while LeBron won his first ring after leaving Cleveland for South Beach, he eventually returned home to help the Cavaliers pull off the most impressive comeback in NBA Finals history.
This is another reason the Spurs should look beyond the draft on who they can add to their team with trades and in free agency this summer.
4: Tanking can be a seriously flawed rebuilding process
To finish this list, let's look at an example of a franchise that decided to go full-throttle tanking mode and how it didn't work out.
After winning just 19 games in 2014, 18 games in 2015, 10 games in 2016, and 28 in 2017, the Sixers earned two third-overall picks and two first-overall selections during this span. Thanks to their intentional regular-season failures, Philadelphia was able to select Joel Embiid (2014), Jahlil Okafor (2015), Markelle Fultz (2016), and Ben Simmons (2017).
It is no secret how poorly this worked out for Philadelphia, with only consistent second-round exits in the Eastern Conference playoffs to show for all their losses. The Sixers have gradually built around Joel Embiid through trades that jettisoned Okafor, Fultz, and Simmons, but "The Process" has been broken since the beginning.
Despite less-than-stellar returns for Philly, getting a top pick can help re-engage fans, bring media attention, and increase ticket and merchandise sales. Even if that pick doesn't help your team capture a title, their mere presence can bring financial stability to a franchise while energizing the fan base with the hopes of better days ahead.
Intentionally tanking has been a failed rebuilding strategy for several teams in the past, but that isn't a reason to give up on the potential stars that can come from the draft. Though there is still a lot of work to do once you earn a top pick, securing that transcendent prospect is the first step to creating a competitive roster and winning a championship.