A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Final NBA Draft Talent Grades and more! (June 2013)

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Part I: The Talent Grades

Here are my final talent grades for the 2013 draft. If you’d like to read my individual position breakdowns, here they are:

2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Centers

2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Power Forwards

2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Small Forwards

2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Shooting Guards

2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Point Guards

Some of the grades have changed (just ignore what I wrote about Schroeder in the point guards post, my post at the end of the centers post explains my change on him) and I added a few new grades to the below list:

My grades are from 1 to 11 in 3 categories: Physical impact talent, Skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent and Feel for the Game talent. The grades go by this rubric:

11: Transcendent, 10: Incredible 9: Elite, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Decent, 5: Average, 4: Lacking, 3: Weak, 2: Very poor, 1: Awful

What the overall grades mean:

25+: Perennial all-star talent, 23-24: Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent, 19-22: Blue Chip starter talent, 17-18: Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent, 14-16: Rotation player talent, 12-13: Deep bench to rotation player talent, 11 or lower: Deep bench player talent

I also added an “Adjusted” grade based on this method: Because I see skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent the be the most likely to be volatile translating from the NCAA to the NBA, followed by physical impact talent, then feel for the game as the most static, I multiply their grades by these weights: 100% * Feel for the Game talent grade + 90% * Physical impact talent grade + 80% * skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade. I then add 10% * the Total Talent Grade to that adjusted score. For example here are my grades for Otto Porter:

SF Otto Porter (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 10 / Incredible, Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.4)

100% * Feel for the Game talent grade (10) = 10, 90% * Physical impact talent grade (3) = 2.7, 80% * Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4.8. That adds up to 17.5. Which added 1.9 which is 10% of his overall talent grade of 19, Porter’s adjusted talent grade is 19.4. This indicates Porter is a strong 19.

The adjusted grades both help me account for the unpredictability of skill development and to an extent physically impacting the game, plus it gives me a more clean order of prospects based solely on the grades. If two prospects have an identical adjusted grade, I order it by biggest position first, from C to PG.

Here are my grades:

1. PF Anthony Bennett (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 9 / Elite, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 25 (Perennial all-star talent grade) (Adj: 25.0)

My clear cut top ranking prospect. If his shooting translates, I see him as likely one of the league’s star talents, if not a franchise player. As important is his cushion between him and my threshold for starting talent. With a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent of 17, even if he had awful range and touch for a PF, he may challenge starting status. However as an NCAA 3pt shooter with touch, he’s not only a great bet to be at least decent as a finesse skill player, but average at worst. Bennett to me presuming health, both has an ultra-high star upside for his position, but also a high floor as a virtual lock to be a starter.

2. PF Kelly Olynyk (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 6 / Decent, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite, Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 22.2)

3. PF Kenny Kadji (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 22.1)

4. PG Dennis Schroeder (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 9 / Elite, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good, Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent, Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)  (Adj: 21.9)

Olynyk, Kadji and Schroeder have strong cases. If their shooting becomes elite for their position instead of the decent grade I gave them, they can challenge multiple all-star type of careers. Whereas with a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 15 for all three, their skill games would have to be one of the worst at their position to be in danger of missing starting and blue chip status. Considering Olynyk and Kadji’s touch at the rim likely isn’t going away for a big, they should be shoo-ins. Schroeder may have the biggest danger of his shooting bottoming out, but perhaps with his youth the most likely elite upside in the area. Overall I see these three as having both a puncher’s chance at stardom and a high likelihood of starting, making them great prospects.

5. SG Victor Oladipo (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 8 / Great, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 21 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 21.3)

6. C Alex Len (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 21 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 21.2)

7. PG C.J. McCollum (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 21 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 21.0)

Oladipo, Len and McCollum are also strong prospects. Oladipo’s combined physical impact and feel for the game grade of 16 is the second highest in the class behind Bennett, indicating he’d have to be one of the worst perimeter shooters in the league to be in danger of less than blue chip and starting. Whereas if he can turn himself into elite in the area, he may have a huge upside. Len’s combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 15 is also high enough, that when considering his relatively guaranteed touch and hands, should help Len cruise to starting status especially considering the talent bar to start at C may be lower than at other positions. Len if he develops a go-to midrange shot and/or post play, could also have huge upside. McCollum’s combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 13 is weaker and indicates if his shooting fell apart, he’d have a bigger danger of falling to journeyman status – he needs at least decent shooting to be a starter. For McCollum to approach star status, he needs to become one of the league’s signature shooters, following in the footsteps of players like Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving. McCollum also has positional concerns between PG and SG. I consider McCollum to have a little more risk and a little less likely upside than the above players on this board, but his chance at blue chip status as a guard is still high. Overall for Oladipo, Len, McCollum I consider the most likely situation good starters, but not true all-stars.

8. C Jeff Withey (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 20.3)

9. C Gorgui Dieng (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 20.1) 

With a high combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 15 and Withey’s good touch at the rim ensuring at least a middling skill floor, his chance of starting looks excellent. However at his age and frame preventing post skills, it’s hard to envision the great to elite skill game needed for Withey to approach star status. Dieng has a lower combined physical impact and feel for the game talent of 13 which indicates he needs at least average to decent skill to lock down starting, but with his midrange shooting and passing, that looks likely enough. I see Withey and Dieng as likely reliable, but not stellar starters.

10. PF Jackie Carmichael (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 20.1) 

11. SF Solomon Hill (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 8 / Great, Skill impact talent grade (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 20)

Carmichael and Hill are two of the draft’s most interesting prospects. If either of their decent skill levels as of now is pushed to elite for their position, they’d move up to star potential. At the same time with a good combined physical impact grade of 14 for both, they’d need average or barely lacking skill, to make it as starters. I’d say there’s reasonable risk of Carmichael and Hill becoming just middling players, but with a more likely than not chance at starting and a puncher’s chance at an all-star appearance.

12. SF Tony Snell (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 20)

13. SF Sergey Karasev (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 20)

14. PG Trey Burke (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 20)

Snell, Karasev and Burke have the same grade. With a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent of 12, they need at least decent shooting games to be starters, but that seems likely. It’s also more difficult to envision them as stars than some of the above prospects with an already assumed great skill level, unless they learned to physically impact the game more than I rated. Overall I see all three as likely starters, but not locks and unlikely stars. These are the type of prospects who end up the 15 or 16th best starter in the league, but not threatening the top 8 or 10. That’s still a valuable piece to have.

15. PF James Southerland (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.9)

16. SG Ben McLemore (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 6 / Decent, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent, Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.8)

Southerland and McLemore also rate similarly to Snell, Karasev and Burke. With combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grades of 12, they need to be decent shooters to be starters, while pushing their talent just by improving their already great shooting games, also seems hard. Southerland and McLemore are unique in that assessing their physical impact feels harder than for other prospects, as both are more athletic than their jumpshot dominated games in college suggested. Because of this I see Southerland and McLemore as having a higher upside than players like Snell, Karsaev and Burke, but also more of a risk of falling short of starting if both their skill games and physical impact goes in the wrong direction.

17. SF Otto Porter (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 10 / Incredible, Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.4)

18. SG Jamaal Franklin (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact  (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.4)

19. PG Lorenzo Brown (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 6 / Decent, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.3)

Franklin’s combined physical impact and feel for the game grade of 15 is huge for this stage of the rankings, only surpassed by Bennett and Oladipo. He’s a volatile prospect because of the unpredictability of his shooting game. It could conceivably be both awful in the pros which would make him a defensive specialist and unlikely starter, as well as it could be good to great, which with his other tools may make him one of the draft’s better prospects. Franklin also has some ‘crazy person’ in his style of play and energy which could be good or bad for his career. Either an all-star, starter or energy player off the bench wouldn’t shock me for Franklin. Porter also is at a stage with risk and upside. With a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent of 13, he needs average skill to start – in other words, the ability to hit an open 3. On the other hand, with a great to elite shooting game, also in play, he may have near star upside. Porter is another player where a standout SF in the league and a less than true starter, wouldn’t surprise me. Brown is also an intriguing prospect. With a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 14, he needs an average shooting/passing/post game to be a starter and that’s no lock, it’s in play he’s poor at the position in those areas. However if he can turn himself into a great skill player, his has the chance to be an above average starter and blue chipper. With Franklin, Porter and Brown, both are at risk of falling short of starting, but with the upside of blue chip starting – the most likely situation is likely somewhere in the middle as usual, becoming good, but unspectacular starters.

20. C Mike Muscala (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite, Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.1)

21. PG Nate Wolters (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.0)

22. PG Erick Green (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Elite, Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 19.0)

Muscala, Wolters and Green have similar projections. With a combined physical impact and feel for the game grade of 11, they need well above average skill games to be starters. They seem to have a good chance at that, but it’s no guarantee. Likewise true all-star status may be out of reach unless they can both become elite skill players and impact the game more physically than I graded. These can be good players and are likely impact 1st bigs/1st guard off the bench scorers at worst.

23. SF Giannis Antetokounmpo (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite, Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 18.4)

24. PF C.J. Leslie (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 18.3)

25. PG Myck Kabongo (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 18.3)

26. PF Andre Roberson (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 18.2)

Antetokounmpo, Leslie, Kabongo and Roberson are all intriguing prospects. Both are in the range where with a great to elite skill impact game out of nowhere, they’d near star status. However with a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 13 for Giannis and 14 for Leslie, Kabongo and Roberson, with a below average skill game, a huge possibility for all three, they’d be unlikely starters. The risk of irrelevance for these three may be too real to go *too* high for me, but at a certain point of the draft outside of the lottery, getting a player with a blue chipper and top 15 starter upside, is terrific value.

27. PG Matthew Dellavedova (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite, Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 18.1)

28. C Lucas Nogueira (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 8 / Great, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5 / Average, Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 18.0)

29. C Ryan Kelly (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 9 / Elite, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.9)

30. PF Erik Murphy (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 9 / Elite, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.9)

Dellavedova, Kelly and Murphy rate similarly. With a relatively low physical impact and feel for the game combined talent grade of 10 for Dellavedova and 9 for Kelly and Murphy, these players need at least great shooting and skill games to start. They have a fair chance at that, but if they slip a bit as shooters, they can likely find a role as scorers off the bench. Nogueira has a big combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 13 for this stage, indicating if he can develop a perimeter scoring game, he has blue chip upside. However if his skill is poor for a big, he have risk of irrelevance. Nogueira has some risk, but also blue chip upside, making him similar to Antetokounmpo, Leslie and Kabongo.

31. PF Trevor Mbakwe (Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.3)

32. PG Ray McCallum (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grades: 6 / Decent, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.3)

33. PG Michael Carter-Williams (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 6 / Decent, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.3)

34. SG B.J. Young (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.2)

Much like Leslie and Roberson, Mbakwe has the athleticism and feel that with a perimeter skill game, he can challenge starting status. However with a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 12, an average or worse skill game makes him a backup. McCallum, Carter-Williams and Young have a high physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 13, meaning with an above average shooting and skill impact game they’d be blue chippers and starters. However their NCAA careers so far, makes a below average aptitude in that area seem more likely than not. I would say these three have the talent to have a puncher’s chance at starting, but are more likely standout bench contributers.

35. SG Glen Rice, Jr. (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.2)

36. C Bojan Dubjlevic (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.0)

37. PF Cody Zeller (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.0)

Rice and Zeller could be blue chippers and true starters, if the Rice becomes one of the best shooters at his position and Zeller one of the most skilled inside/outside bigs. With a combined physical impact and feel for the game grade of 11 however, a middling skill level or worse would make them unlikely starters. They have decent chance at starting, but it’s more likely they don’t. Dubjlevic’s low combined physical impact and skill grade of 9, means he’d need among the best skills as a stretch big at his position to start. With that said it seems likely he’s a positive value contributer off the bench, if he ever comes to the NBA.

38. PF Deshaun Thomas (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.0)

39. SG Seth Curry (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 17.0)

40. PF Grant Jerrett (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 16.9)

41. PG Pierre Jackson (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj: 16.9)

42. SG Michael Snaer (Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj. 16.9)

Thomas, Curry, Jerrett, Jackson, Snaer rate fairly similarly. With a low combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 9, they need elite shooting games to challenge a starting spot. If they fall a little short, their most likely role is specialist sparkplugs off the bench. These are good prospects to count on as at least having long term NBA careers presuming at least decent jumpshots for them.

43. C Steven Adams (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 8 / Great, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 3 / Weak, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5 / Average, Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 16.2)

44. SF Adonis Thomas (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5 / Average, Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 16.1)

For this late, Adams and Thomas having combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grades of 13 and 12 is fairly impressive. It indicates that with good to great skill games, they could still be blue chippers and starters. However with nothing but poor skill shown so far, that’s somewhat unlikely. Furthermore, there’s a risk they have not only poor skill level, but among the worst at their position. This would make them replacement level players.

Overall, Adams and Thomas have some upside, but also more strikeout risk than above prospects. Their chances of long term rotation roles is still solid.

45. SF Shabazz Muhammad (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 16.1)

46. SG Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 16.1)

47. C Nerlens Noel (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 9 / Elite, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 3 / Weak, Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 15.9)

48. PG Isaiah Canaan (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent, Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 15.8)

Shabazz and Hardaway, Jr. with a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 10, need to be among their position’s best shooters to be starters. If downright poor as shooters, they’re in danger of struggling to maintain minutes in the NBA. The most likely situation is probably decent but not great shooters, making them rotation wings, but not starters. Noel’s combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 12, puts him in a similar camp as players like Leslie, Roberson and Mbakwe for me where they need an above average skill game to start, settling in as an energy big otherise. Canaan’s low physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 8, meaning even among the league’s best shooting, may not make him a surefire starter. With decent shooting he should lock down a backup PG spot. I wouldn’t say upside is that likely for Canaan, but he may have a better chance of sticking as a contributer than some other prospects around here.

49. PF Brandon Davies (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite, Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 15.5)

50. C Colton Iverson (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent, Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 15.1)

51. SG Nemanja Nedovic (Physical impact talent grade: 6 / Decent, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5 / Average, Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 15.1)

Davies, Iverson, Nedovic have a physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 11, 10 and 11 respectively, all fairly impressive for this stage of the overall rankings.  With a great skill game such as lockdown midrange range for Davies or Iverson or 3pt shooting for Nedovic, they could challenge starting status. That’ll be difficult for all three however considering their age. With average or worse skill games, they’d likely be backups.

52. SF James Ennis (Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5 / Average, Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade) (Adj. 15.0)

53. SF Reggie Bullock (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 15.0)

54. PG Shane Larkin (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 15.0)

55. C Rudy Gobert (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 8 / Great, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 14.7)

56. SG Allen Crabbe (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great, Feel for the Game talent grade: 5 / Average, Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 14.7)

With Bullock, Larkin and Crabbe having a physical impact and feel for the game grade of 9, 8, 8 and 7 respectively, barring absolutely elite skill and perimeter games, challenging a starting spot looks unlikely. However if they maintain decent range, they should be rotation players and backups. Gobert’s physical impact and feel for the game grade of 10 is a little better, but he’s at a bigger risk of poor skill level. He’ll need a great perimeter shooting game and some post ability, to be a blue chipper.

57. PF Richard Howell (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 14.3)

58. SG Ricky Ledo (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade:: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 14.3)

59. PF Livio Jean-Charles (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 14.2)

60. SG Alex Abrines (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 14.1)

61. C Mason Plumlee (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 3 / Weak, Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 13.9)

62. SG Archie Goodwin (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 9 / Elite, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 1 / Awful, Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 13.7)

With a combined physical impact and feel for the game talent grade of 10, Howell, Plumlee, Goodwin have limited skill games right now, but need great skill games to challenge starting spots, which is unlikely. There’s also a risk of a below average skill game, which would cause them to struggle to hold onto their minutes long term.  These aren’t surefire rotation players and an upside beyond that is unlikely. Jean-Charles and Abrines are international players and Ledo is a college knock-out who it’s hard for me to peg down, it wouldn’t surprise me if they either become too limited to play long term, or if they’re signature role players.

63. PG Phil Pressey (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grades: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 13 (Deep bench to Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 13.3)

64. C Jack Cooley (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good, Total talent grade: 13 (Deep bench to Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 13.1)

65. PG Peyton Siva (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Total talent grade: 13 (Deep bench to Rotation player grade) (Adj: 13.0)

66. SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good, Feel for the Game talent grade: 3 / Weak, Total talent grade: 13 (Deep bench to Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 12.6)

These prospects largely need to show a better skill game than they have so far, to be positive contributors for teams in the league. If Pressey and Siva’s outside shot continues to struggle, they’ll likely struggle to find more than end of the bench reserve spots. Cooley needs to be a great skill player instead of just a garbage man and Caldwell-Pope needs to be an elite shooter instead of a decent one, in both cases to be an above average player, not a blue chipper. It wouldn’t surprise me if these players held onto journeyman careers in this draft, showing the depth of this draft. But Europe could also be a better fit.

67 PF D.J. Stephens (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 3 / Weak, Feel for the Game talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Total talent grade: 12 (Deep bench to Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 11.9)

68. PF Tony Mitchell (North Texas) (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grades: 5 / Average, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average, Feel for the Game talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Total talent grade: 12 (Deep bench to Rotation player talent grade) (Adj: 11.7)

To be rotation players in the NBA, I need to see Stephens and Mitchell have respectable and above average skill games respectively. If raw offensively, I don’t see it long term for NBA teams unless very deep depth.

69. SG Brandon Paul (Talent grades: Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor, Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Feel for the Game talent grade: 4 / Lacking, Total talent grade: 10 (Deep bench talent grade) (Adj: 10.0)

If Paul can be an elite shooter in the NBA, he has a shot at carving out a rotation spot. But for the most part, I see him as likely headed overseas.

Part II: Probability forecast

For fun, let’s say the probability of my grades for each player being accurate are:

Within 0 points of the above talent grades (rounded, as is for all these numbers) – 30%

Within +1 or -1 – 70% (+1: 20%, -1: 20%)

Within +2 or -2 – 90% (+2: 10%, -2: 10%)

Within +3 or -3 – 97% (+3: 3.5%, -3: 3.5%)

Within +4 or -4 – 99% (+4: 1%, -4: 1%)

Within +5 or -5 – 99.5%+ (+5: 0.5%, -5: 0.5%)

Now IF these numbers were correct, I forecast these probabilities for each player/grade:

Grade of 25 (Anthony Bennett)

65% Perennial all-star talent
95% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
99.5%+ Blue Chip starter talent

Because Bennett needs to either stay at his grade of 25 (the threshold for “Perennial all-star talent” based on the rubric at the top of this post), if he’s 0 “away” from my grade or anything in the positive direction, I forecast he’ll finish with a perennial all-star talent. That’s enough for a 65%, including both the 30% for 0 along with the 35% combined probability of finishing above what I graded. Likewise he’ll need to finish more than 2 points lower than my current grade to fall below the “Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent” threshold of 23, with only a 5% chance of -3 or worse, I forecast that gives him a 95% chance of finishing at least in that Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent category. Then with the threshold of Blue Chip starter being 19, 6 points lower than my grade, that’s enough for me to give him a virtual lock grade in the category. Overall I have Bennett in the came category as #1 prospects like Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis where starting is ensured and at least fringe stardom for his position seems extremely likely. While if he pans out, he could be an MVP contender and one of the faces of the league.

Here is the same exercise done with other prospects and grades:

Grade of 22 (Kelly Olynyk, Kenny Kadji, Dennis Schroeder)
5% Perennial all-star talent
35% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
98.5% Blue Chip starter talent
99.5%+ Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent

The chance of Olynyk, Kadji and Schroeder being true stars is a lot lower than Bennett. However the chance of one entering that fringe stardom category is excellent, according to these numbers, I forecast there’d be about a 73% chance that at least one of these players hits the  “Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent” category and a 14% chance one becomes a “Perennial all-star talent” and true star. Starting at their position is a near lock.

Grade of 21 (Victor Oladipo, Alex Len, C.J. McCollum)

1.5% Perennial all-star talent
15% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
95% Blue Chip starter talent
99.5% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
99.5%+ Rotation player talent

These players are superb bets to be good starters with a puncher’s chance at stardom at the next level. These probabilities forecast there’s about a 39% chance at least one of these players becomes a “Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent” category prospect, but a 14.3% chance one of them is a “Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent” instead of a true blue chipper.

Grade of 20 (Jeff Withey, Gorgui Dieng, Jackie Carmichael, Solomon Hill, Tony Snell, Sergey Karasev, Trey Burke, James Southerland, Ben McLemore)
0.5% Perennial all-star talent
5% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
85% Blue Chip starter talent
98.5% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
99.5%+ Rotation player talent

While on an individual basis these players are overwhelmingly likely to be good starters and no more or no less, but because of the size of this group, these numbers forecast there’s a 47% chance that one of these prospects becomes a “Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star” category talent and a 4% chance one becomes a “Perennial all-star talent”. The numbers also state that there is a 77% chance at least one falls short of “Blue Chip starter talent” and a 13% chance one falls short of “Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent”. Of this large group, one could very well break through to stardom and one could disappoint, but which ones?

Grade of 19 (Otto Porter, Jamaal Franklin, Lorenzo Brown, Mike Muscala, Nate Wolters, Erick Green)
< 1% Perennial all-star talent
1.5% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
65% Blue Chip starter talent
95% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
99.5%+ Rotation player talent

The numbers forecast there is only a 9% chance one of these prospects becomes “Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star”, a 93% chance at least one prospect falls short of “Blue Chip starter talent” and a 26% chance at least one falls short of “Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent”. The risk of falling short of starting or even borderline starting is real for these players, while the upside is realistically a long starting career instead of stardom.

Grade of 18 (Giannis Antetokounmpo, C.J. Leslie, Myck Kabongo, Andre Roberson, Matthew Dellavedova, Lucas Nogueira, Ryan Kelly, Erik Murphy)

< 1% Perennial all-star talent
0.5% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
35% Blue Chip starter talent
85% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
99.5% Rotation player talent
99.5%+ Deep bench to Rotation player talent

It’s more likely than not these guys fall short of true starting status, settling into fringe status. These numbers forecast a 4% chance of one of these players becoming a “Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent”, a serious longshot. There is a 97% chance at least one of these players is a “Blue Chip starter talent”, but a 27% chance one of these players falls below the “Rotation player to Blue Chip starter” talent category. I forecast there’s a 4% chance according to these numbers that a player in this group falls below “Rotation player talent”.

Grade of 17 (Trevor Mbakwe, Ray McCallum, Michael Carter-Williams, B.J. Young, Glen Rice, Jr., Bojan Dubjlevic, Cody Zeller, Deshaun Thomas, Seth Curry, Grant Jerrett, Pierre Jackson, Michael Snaer)
< 1% Perennial all-star talent
< 1% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
15% Blue Chip starter talent
65% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
98.5% Rotation player talent
99.5%+ Deep bench to Rotation player talent

Because of the size of this group, I forecast there’s an 86% chance according to these probabilities that at least one of these players is a “Blue Chip starter talent”, but also a 17% chance at least one is a “Deep Bench to Rotation player talent”. Some of these players will be starters and fringe starters, but as many will likely be undisputed bench players, if they stick in a rotation at all.

Grade of 16 (Steven Adams, Adonis Thomas, Shabazz Muhammad, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Nerlens Noel, Isaiah Canaan)
< 1% Perennial all-star talent
< 1% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
5% Blue Chip starter talent
35% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
95% Rotation player talent
99.5% Deep bench to Rotation player talent

According to these numbers, I forecast a 26% chance of one of these players turning into a “Blue Chip starter talent”. I forecast a 93% chance that at least one of these players is a “Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent”, but a 26% chance one of these players falls short of “Rotation player talent” and becomes a “Deep bench to Rotation player talent”. These players are not guaranteed rotation players or sticking in the NBA, but have a longshot puncher’s chance at starting as well. The most likely scenario is bench contributors, or borderline starting ability.

Grade of 15 (Brandon Davies, Colton Iverson, Nemanja Nedovic, James Ennis, Reggie Bullock, Shane Larkin, Rudy Gobert, Allen Crabbe)
< 1% Perennial all-star talent
< 1% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
1.5% Blue Chip starter talent
15% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
85% Rotation player talent
98.5% Deep bench to Rotation player talent

These numbers forecast an 11% chance of one of these players becoming a “Blue Chip starter talent” and a 73% chance of at least one player being a “Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent”, or borderline starter. This also forecasts that there’s a 73% chance of one of these players only being a “Deep bench to Rotation player talent”. The numbers also forecast there’s a 11% chance of one of these prospects not even making it to the “Deep Bench to Rotation player talent” threshold of a grade of 12. These players have a Russian roulette chamber caliber danger of not sticking in an NBA rotation or the league long term, but overall still have a more than good chance of being NBA caliber players, whether they’ll stick around long enough to prove it or not.

Grade of 14 (Richard Howell, Ricardo Ledo, Livio Jean-Charles, Alex Abrines, Mason Plumlee, Archie Goodwin)
<1% Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter to perennial all-star talent
0.5% Blue Chip starter talent
5% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
65% Rotation player talent
95% Deep bench to Rotation player talent

These numbers forecast a 3% chance of one of these players being a “Blue Chip starter talent” and a 93% chance at least one falls short of “Rotation player talent”, instead”Deep bench to Rotation player talent”. They also forecast a 26% chance that at least one of these players falls short of the “Deep Bench to Rotation player talent” threshold. These players may struggle to establish rotation player status, especially considering it may take them years to develop to reach their talent level, but if they’re not producing immediately, may not be given the leash to get there. They have a reasonable chance of sticking, but it wouldn’t surprise me if any of them fell out of the NBA whether for talent reasons or not.

Grade of 13 (Phil Pressey, Jack Cooley, Peyton Siva, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope)
<1% Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter talent
1.5% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
35% Rotation player talent
85% Deep bench to Rotation player talent

These numbers forecast a 48% chance that at least one prospect falls short of “Deep bench to Rotation player talent”, with a scarce chance at getting past pure bench player and the “Rotation player talent” grade. These players could be out of a rotation spot early in their careers and struggle to get it back.

Grade of 12 (D.J. Stephens, Tony Mitchell)
<1% Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter talent
0.5% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
15% Rotation player talent
65% Deep bench to Rotation player talent

Grade of 11 (nobody in this category)
<1% Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter talent
<1% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
5% Rotation player talent
35% Deep bench to Rotation player talent

Grade of 10 – (Brandon Paul)
<1% Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent
<1% Blue Chip starter talent
<1% Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent
1.5% Rotation player talent
15% Deep bench to Rotation player talent

These players are longshots to establish themselves as bench rotation players and are at risk of falling short of even fringe status for that. Overall it’s not that these players have no shot at an NBA career, but if they start slowly, it won’t look good.

Part III: Final Rankings

Ok, gun to my head, after taking into account my grades along with other factors like character, health, contract status, how confident I am in my grades about them or their ability to improve, position, etc. here’s how I would rank the 2013 prospects:

1. PF Anthony Bennett

2. PF Kenny Kadji

3. PF Kelly Olynyk

4. PG Dennis Schroeder

5. SG Victor Oladipo

6. PG C.J. McCollum

7. C Jeff Withey

8. C Gorgui Dieng

9. SF Sergey Karasev

10. SF Solomon Hill

11. SF Tony Snell

12. PF James Southerland

13. PG Trey Burke

14. SG Ben McLemore

15. PF Jackie Carmichael

16. C Alex Len

17. SF Otto Porter

18. PG Nate Wolters

19. SG Jamaal Franklin

20. PG Lorenzo Brown

21. C Mike Muscala

22. PG Erick Green

23. SF Giannis Antetokounmpo

24. PG Myck Kabongo

25. PF Andre Roberson

26. PF Lucas Nogueira

27. PG Matthew Dellavedova

28. PF Erik Murphy

29. C Ryan Kelly

30. PF Trevor Mbakwe

31. PF Cody Zeller

32. SG Glen Rice, Jr.

33. PF C.J. Leslie

34. PG Ray McCallum

35. PG Michael Carter-Williams

36. SG B.J. Young

37. SG Tim Hardaway, Jr.

38. C Bojan Dubjlevic

39. PF Grant Jerrett

40. PF Deshaun Thomas

41. SG Michael Snaer

42. SG Seth Curry

43. PG Pierre Jackson

44. C Steven Adams

45. SF Adonis Thomas

46. SF Shabazz Muhammad

47. C Colton Iverson

48. SF James Ennis

49. SF Reggie Bullock

50. PF Brandon Davies

51. C Rudy Gobert

52. SG Allen Crabbe

53. C Nerlens Noel

54. PG Isaiah Canaan

55. SG Nemanja Nedovic

56. PG Shane Larkin

57. SG Ricardo Ledo

58. PF Richard Howell

59. PF Livio Jean-Charles

60. SG Alex Abrines

61. C Mason Plumlee

62. C Jack Cooley

63. SG Archie Goodwin

64. PG Peyton Siva

65. SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

66. PG Phil Pressey

67. PF D.J. Stephens

68. PF Tony Mitchell

69. PG Brandon Paul

Part IV: Final thoughts

I haven’t ranked this many prospects or this closely in a draft before, so I’m not sure whether it’s just me or the year – but the depth of this draft looks freakish. Clearly it won’t really have 45-50 rotation players, it’d be too out of line with normal draft standards, on average  in the 20-25 range for rotation players. I’ll say the most likely situation is there’s a number of NBA talents who slip through the cracks. Because some players need thousands of minutes before reaching their talent level, many of these players with 8th or 9th man talent may not play like it immediately, eventually developing in an international league unsure to return to the NBA. Still, there should be a lot of NBA players from this draft and a lot of starters. In regards to stardom with one player I feel confident about in Bennett and the likelihood at least one of the players underneath breaks through to star status or fringe star status, I’d say it won’t lack for stars either in the end. Overall this seems like an excellent draft.

Compared to my draft ratings a year ago, the confidence I have in the methods I used this year is night and day, in particular knowing what to look for to make feel for the game ratings and skill impact (shoot, post, pass) ratings. This also helped me change my assumptions, for example realizing Cody Zeller’s feel for the game is more underwhelming than his reputation, is a nuance I wouldn’t have seen last year. . I expect next year my ratings are more consistent from the start of the year to the end based on the methods I have now. But for the most part the most important change was just more time, also allowing me to rate more prospects

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the draft, the best day of the year!

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