Because it might be worthwhile to clarify, I think I should expound a little bit about how executives should generally approach each section of the draft. I spoke the other day about how if a team has a very high selection they should feel very confident they will be drafting a star - otherwise they are better off trading down, or trading for an established, talented veteran.
Obviously you never want to make a bad selection, but the truth is that it is impossible to avoid making bad picks sometimes. That said, we should hedge our bets as best as we can by using as much statistical information as possible to project a college player's future success. And we should recognize that there is value in every part of the draft. We can get good value at pick #60 - especially if we sign second round picks to long-term, partially guaranteed deals. Obviously second round picks are very safe and inexpensive gambles. Top ten picks are the opposite. So a quick rundown of what a general manager should expect when selecting from certain draft positions...
Picks #1 through #3:
You want to feel extremely confident that any player you select in the top 3 will end up in at least an All-Star game or two. Otherwise that player is a bad pick. Every draft will produce at least a few players that make all-star teams. If you don't strongly think the player you select will be an all-star trade the pick.
Picks #4 through #7:
You want to feel confident you are drafting a potential all-star, and in the very least a player that should have a long, productive NBA career. There is some virtue in risking a pick at this point on a player with a huge upside but serious red flags (like Andre Drummond this year) but in general I suggest staying away from that route. In the top 7 of a draft you can always find yourself a very solid player, and usually an all-star if you are smart and a little lucky.
Picks #8 to #15:
This is often an interesting part of the draft, and maybe one of the better points to risk a pick and swing for the fences by drafting a high risk/high reward prospect. Or it can be just as good to be conservative and draft a player you are pretty certain should be an excellent pro. The end of the lottery always has plenty of value.
Picks #16 to #25:
Traditionally these are the last portion of picks NBA teams are heavily invested in. After around pick #25 we always seem to have most teams stop taking who they draft seriously. Therefore if you have a pick in this part of a draft try to get someone you are pretty sure will be good (i.e. Kenny Faried last year.) If you don't love any player in this part of the draft you are best served to trade down for multiple picks in the next section.
Picks #26 to #40:
A great part of the draft. Most teams lower expectations at this point, while in reality there are potential all-stars and future starters available for cheap. It is great to have multiple picks in this part of the draft. Chances are if you miss with one pick you will at least hit with the other (at least if you are using statistical analysis.) Cleveland this year has picks #24, #33 and #34.
Picks #41 to #60:
A great place to find players who you can sign for cheap and who can (often quickly) become part of your rotation. Sign these players to partially guaranteed long-term deals.
Undrafted free agents:
There is always talent that goes undrafted. Usually undrafted players are given a terrible opportunity to prove themselves in the league. It is wise to give some of these players a decent amount of opportunity to see if they can actually play in the league.