I am not asking what is better of the two, but when using a lottery pick people have said GM's do not like taking a project, but we see it often. While there are exceptions to this like a John Wall who is both talented and NBA ready, but others like Wes Johnson who is 23 and many people have him outside the top 3 because of his age. I am saying that it is much safer to take the sure thing over the potential guy because not every potential guy will become a star, most don't. It's like the guys who work hard, but the NBA scouts see there potential get looked down upon, but once they get to the NBA just perform consistently night in and night out and have long careers. Why is this???
a lot has to do with Gm in the NBA for the most part suck and they are all trying to hit a home run to validate their job.
Not many championships are won with a bunch of good players. Outside of the pistons 2003 I can't think of one. To win a championship you need a superstar and another legit allstar. John Wall is much more likely to be a superstar than Wes Johnson. Don't get me wrong Wes is very good but I and many others don't think his ceiling is as high.
Good example of a player picked on talent not potential is James Harden. He is doing ok averaging 10 ppg and a assist/turnover ratio of almost 2 which is great for a rookie. However I severly doudt Harden will be an allstar.
I think another part of it is a guy doing really well in college at the age of 18 or 19 compared to a guy doing well at the age of 23. You may think it's a proven commodity but it could just be a guy taking advantage of having been in the league for a few years longer.
They have to ask if a guy has an advantage because of his age and experience so I think GM's look at that too. Another aspect is position. I think big guys and pgs are allowed a bit more time to develop before teams judge them. If you're 23 and just coming into your own as a SG or SF most teams will probably pass in the top 3-5.