In the world of professional sports, there is perhaps no more important concept than the draft. Each year, teams have the opportunity to select young, talented players who they hope will help them achieve success for years to come. But not all draft picks are created equal. In fact, there are two distinct types of draft picks: protected and unprotected. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two types of picks, and examine how they can impact a team’s future.
Before we dive into the specifics of protected and unprotected draft picks, it’s important to understand what the draft itself is. In most professional sports leagues, the draft is an annual event in which teams are given the opportunity to select young, amateur players. The order of the draft is typically determined by the previous season’s standings, with the worst teams getting the first picks.
Now, onto the picks themselves. Protected draft picks are those that a team has held onto, typically by giving up something of value in order to keep them. For example, a team might trade away a player or draft pick in order to secure the right to protect a certain pick in the future. When a draft pick is protected, it means that the team who holds it is guaranteed to have the opportunity to select that player, even if they don’t have a high enough draft position to actually make the pick themselves.
Unprotected draft picks, on the other hand, are those that are eligible to be selected by any team during the draft. They are not tied to any previous transactions, and can be chosen by any team that is in a position to do so.
So, why would a team want to protect a draft pick? There are a few reasons. First, if a team has identified a particular player that they are very high on, they may want to ensure that they have the opportunity to draft him, no matter how the draft order shakes out. Similarly, if a team is concerned about having a high draft pick that they don’t have complete control over, they may choose to protect it in order to guarantee that they can use it to select a player they want.
There are also some situations in which protecting a draft pick can be a savvy business move. For example, if a team knows that they are unlikely to be successful in the upcoming season, they may choose to trade away a high draft pick in order to acquire some assets that can help them build for the future. However, they may also choose to protect a lesser draft pick that they believe will still give them a chance to snag a promising young player.
So, what happens if a team decides not to protect a draft pick? In these cases, that pick becomes an unprotected pick, and is eligible to be selected by any team that has a higher draft position. This can be a risky move, as there’s no guarantee that the pick will end up being high enough to actually get the player that the team wants. However, it can also allow teams to be more flexible in their draft strategy, as they don’t have to worry about protecting certain picks and can instead focus on selecting the best player available.
Now that we’ve examined the differences between protected and unprotected draft picks, it’s important to understand how they can impact a team’s future. For teams that are hoping to build for the long-term, protected draft picks can be incredibly valuable assets. By protecting a pick, a team can essentially guarantee that they will have the opportunity to select a particular player in the future, regardless of how the draft order shakes out.
On the other hand, teams that are more focused on short-term success may be more willing to take risks and leave their picks unprotected. By doing so, they can potentially acquire assets that can help them win in the near term, even if it means sacrificing some long-term potential.
In conclusion, the question of whether to protect a draft pick is one that teams grapple with each year. Some choose to play it safe and protect their picks in order to guarantee that they can select the players they want. Others are more willing to take risks and leave their picks unprotected in order to gain some short-term advantage. Ultimately, the decision of whether to protect a draft pick comes down to a team’s priorities and their long-term vision for success.