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Andrew Wiggins is not a perfect defensive prospect

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Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers took Andrew Wiggins 1st overall. It was not a surprise after the news of Joel Embiid’s health broke.

Opinions are split on Wiggins offense at the next level, but everyone seems to agree he’s a guaranteed defensive stud. Some are calling for a defensive player of the year caliber wing. The logic seems to be he’s such an elite athlete that his man to man defense and lateral mobility will make him a one of a kind force on that end.

It’s true that Wiggins lateral mobility is exceptional for a 6’8+ SF. But lateral mobility is not the only piece that goes into defense. Consider

Length/Strength: Most agree that length and strength are important parts of defensive upside at any position. For example Kawhi Leonard not only moves better than most small forwards on defense, but has the strength and length of a power forward, which is an advantage. At the hoop summit in 2013 Wiggins measured with a 7’0 wingspan and 197 pounds. That gives him average or slightly above average length for a small forward and the weight of a shooting guard. Strength has arguably been overlooked for perimeter defenders in recent years. There are still matchups were wings to defend against post-ups, it helps wings fight through screens and it helps on the defensive glass. It also gives them versatility by allowing them to defend PFs if they need to. Wiggins strength and decent but not great length, does not prevent him from being an elite defensive prospect, but it’s leaving something on the table.

Instincts/anticipation: Being a great defender has a mental aspect by reading the floor, anticipating plays in the passing lanes, being in the “right place at the right time” defensively on rotations. I rated Wiggins feel for the game as average before the draft based on a less than fluid game and this could hurt him defensively.

Motor/toughness: Finally, a player’s intensity level and competitiveness makes a difference in defensive play. Some are concerned about intensity and motor on the floor for Wiggins. Although he should have as much energy to burn as anyone on the floor, it didn’t always show in college or high school.

Results so far: Dean on Draft wrote a good article breaking down Wiggins’ good but not great defensive season, to go along with his average steal and block rate. I’m much more on the side of talent than NCAA production for evaluating prospects, but when judging a player as a future defender, it doesn’t hurt if he dominated on that end in college. When Anthony Davis came out one of the reasons he was such a defensive lock was not only were his tools exceptional on that end, but he also paired it with destroying the NCAA defensively in his season there. The combination made him a near lock on that end.

Outside of lateral mobility, the rest of Wiggins defensive “tools” are imperfect. There are other defensive wing prospects who are longer, stronger, show better instincts defensively or play harder defensively.

It doesn’t mean he can’t be a good or even great defender. But it means he isn’t just a lock to be a Paul George, Kawhi Leonard or Andre Iguodala caliber defender, who have not only great athleticism/lateral mobility, but are also very complete and strong in many of the above areas.

Some may retort to this by saying “It doesn’t matter if Wiggins is lacking in some of those areas in comparison, because his lateral mobility is just so much better than theirs and anyone else’s”. This is something it’s hard to prove without resorting to the visual eye test, but I don’t agree. Wiggins has great lateral mobility, but I do not see “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life” lateral mobility for his position. I see a wing who moves somewhere between a shooting guard and a point guard on the defensive end, which for a small forward is very good. If he plays shooting guard this lateral speed will be less exceptional, but he’ll get extra length at his position in return for it.

Again, Wiggins is a good defensive wing prospect. He’s not such a good defensive wing prospect that I would spend a top 5 pick on him for it.

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Written by jr.

June 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2014 NBA Draft Final Talent Grades and More: The Draft the SG Position Strikes Back?

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Here is my rankings for the 2014 NBA Draft!

In 2012 and 2013 my draft big board was just my rating of the players talent level, using my system. I have never felt players are guaranteed to reach their talent, certainly factors like player intangibles and opportunity are important for a player’s success. My belief is more that the most odds-friendly strategy to draft is to take the most talented player anyways and then hope for the best, especially if a team can put a good context around him to develop him.

After some of the players I’ve bullish about in the last 2 drafts started slowly and are at risk of never reaching the minutes to develop (I tend to think 7,000-8,000 minutes+ is a good benchmark for when players need to start proving themselves – for example some prospects I rated highly in 2012 haven’t even gotten to 2000 yet), I’ve added some extra models this year after my traditional one. Here are my models:

Model 1 – My traditional talent grades

Model 2 – My grades weighted against ESPN.com/conventional wisdom

Model 3 – My grades weighted against college PER (adjusted for age)

Model 4 – My grades weighted against analytics (with the help of Layne Vasharo’s statistical model who can be found on twitter here and whose models can be found here )

It’s possible a more successful way to draft is to mix it with other factors like conventional draft rankings and statistics. Another benefit is these extra models could better predict who produces early, which is important, since lots of talented picks still don’t pan out in time for the team who drafts them. At the least, it’s worth posting these models to test their results.

Model 1 – Traditional talent rankings

This year I added the final pieces to my talent grading methodology. From the 2012 to 2013 drafts I developed the methodology for my feel for the game and skill impact categories to a similar place they are today, but from last year’s draft to now, in my physical impact category I have made major changes – including what I see as a reliably technique to judging NBA slashing ability and weight it against length, strength and lateral mobility. In March I posted a review of how I grade my 3 categories, but I have actually found a few more tricks and improved how I grade the physical impact category in the few months since that post.

I understand some are turned off by the subjectivity of a grading method like this. What I try to remember is to grade every player the exact same consistent way. I repeat my method for every player as identically as I can and then post my results whatever they are and without confirmation bias, no matter how close or far they are from the conventional rankings. Some people may be shocked at players ranked high or low in this draft, but it’s what my consistent system told me to grade. I trust the process and if it leads to incorrect rankings, I’ll improve the process and the system at a later date.

In addition to my grades I post a “contextual chance of success” grade. These factors include how high a player is picked in the draft, injury, international buyout, attitude, how competitive a position is (PG is more competitive than C for example). This doesn’t affect the rankings at all, it’s just worth mentioning as a placeholder.

When players have the same grade I break the tie according to who’s combined physical impact and feel for the game grades are higher, taking into account more variability in the skill impact category. If the combined grade in those 2 categories is a tie, I then choose the higher feel for the game since I feel most confident about rating that category. Finally if all three categories are identically graded, I rate the “bigger” position 1st.

The dominant position in these rankings are SG with 10 of the top 30 rated players including 1st, 3rd, 5th, 10th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 23rd, 25th, 30th. In the secondary models there are some concerns about whether the production matches this talent, but if everyone pans out, this could be the long awaited revenge of the 2 guard spot with multiple stars and other blue chip starters behind them.

If a player doesn’t make the list, it’s because I didn’t rate their talent level, not that they weren’t good enough to make it. I have 80 prospects ranked and tried to include everyone relevant.

My talent grades:

1. SG Bogdan Bogdanovic

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 9 / Elite

Total talent grade: 25 (Perennial all-star talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 18

Contextual chance of success grade: B- ( International buyout Bubble 1st round draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Brandon Roy, Joe Johnson, James Harden

2. C Joel Embiid

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 8 / Great

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 24 (Fringe perennial all-star talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 16

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( Injury High draft pick Rare position )

NBA Comparisons: Pau Gasol, Brook Lopez, Tim Duncan

3. SG Nik Stauskas

Physical/motion impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade: 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 10 / Incredible

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 24 (Fringe Perennial all-star talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 14

Contextual chance of success grade: A ( High draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Manu Ginobili, Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford

4. PF Adreian Payne

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 14

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Mid 1st round draft pick Lung condition )

NBA Comparisons: David Lee, Amir Johnson, Taj Gibson

5. SG Spencer Dinwiddie

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: C+ ( Injury Bubble 1st round draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Gordon Hayward, Danny Green, SG Chandler Parsons

6. PG Shabazz Napier

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 22 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: B+ ( Mid 1st round draft pick Competitive position )

NBA Comparisons: Isaiah Thomas, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul

7. PF Julius Randle

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 15

Contextual chance of success grade: A ( High draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Zach Randolph, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin

8. SF Deandre Daniels

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 15

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st rounder )

NBA Comparisons: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Trevor Ariza

9. PF Dario Saric

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 10 / Incredible

Total talent grade: 21 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 14

Contextual chance of success grade: A- ( International buyout High lottery pick )

NBA Comparisons: Boris Diaw, Jeff Green, Hedo Turkoglu

10. SG Jordan Adams

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 21 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 14

Contextual chance of success grade: B- ( Bubble 1st round pick Conditioning)

NBA Comparisons: Joe Johnson, James Harden, Arron Afflalo

11. PF Noah Vonleh

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score(Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: A ( High draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: David West, Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson

12. SF Doug McDermott

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade: 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 10 / Incredible

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 21 (Blue chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: AHigh draft pick)

NBA Comparisons: Antawn Jamison, Peja Stojakovic, SF J.J. Redick

13.  PF Aaron Gordon

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 8 / Great

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 16

Contextual chance of success grade: A ( High draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Kenneth Faried, Blake Griffin, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Dennis Rodman

14. SG Dante Exum

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 8 / Great

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 20 ( Blue Chip starter talent grade )

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 15

Contextual chance of success grade: A ( High draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Goran Dragic, Lance Stephenson, Dwyane Wade

15. PF Cameron Bairstow

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 14

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round/undrafted )

NBA Comparisons: Taj Gibson, Paul Millsap, Al Horford

16. SG Zach LaVine

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 14

Contextual chance of success grade: A- ( Mid 1st round pick )

NBA Comparisons: Louis Williams, Monta Ellis, Dion Waiters

17. PF Damien Inglis

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades: 13

Contextual chance of success grade: B- ( International buyout Bubble 1st round pick )

NBA Comparisons: Jeff Green, Lamar Odom, Kawhi Leonard

18. SG P.J. Hairston

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion grade (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: B- ( Bubble 1st rounder Attitude )

NBA Comparisons: Wesley Matthews, Arron Afflalo, Danny Green

19. SF Rodney Hood

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade – 9 / Elite

Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: B+ ( Mid 1st round draft pick  Pukes before games )

NBA Comparisons: Marco Belinelli, Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Mike Miller

20. PF Jabari Parker

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 20 ( Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: A- ( High draft pick Conditioning )

NBA Comparisons: Markieff Morris/Marcus Morris, Antawn Jamison, Al Harrington

21. C Alec Brown

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 9 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 20 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: C ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Rare position)

NBA Comparisons: Ryan Anderson, Mehmet Okur, Channing Frye

22. SF T.J. Warren

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 14

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st rounder )

NBA Comparisons: Thaddeus Young, Draymond Green, Marcus Morris/Markieff Morris

23. SG Marcus Smart

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score: 14

Contextual chance of success grade: B+ ( High draft pick Competitive position Attitude )

NBA Comparisons: Lance Stephenson, Tyreke Evans, Rodney Stuckey

24. PG Russ Smith

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Competitive position )

NBA Comparisons: Mike Conley, Jr., Ty Lawson, Darren Collison

25. SG Jordan McRae

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

NBA Comparisons: Gerald Green, Corey Brewer, Terrence Ross

26. C Jusuf Nurkic

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 8 / Great

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: A- ( International buyout Mid 1st round pick Rare position )

NBA Comparisons: Kris Humphries, Nikola Pekovic, Mareese Speights

27. SF Andrew Wiggins

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 8 / Great

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: A ( High draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Gerald Green, Rudy Gay, Corey Brewer

28. SF Cleanthony Early

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade: 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st round pick )

NBA Comparisons: P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza, Omri Casspi

29. PF Kyle Anderson

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: A- ( Mid 1st round draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Boris Diaw, Hedo Turkoglu, Lamar Odom

30. SG C.J. Wilcox

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade: 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 19 (Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score: 11

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st round pick )

NBA Comparisons: Nick Young, Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli

31. C Mitch McGary

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: C- ( Bubble 1st rounder Injury Weed violation)

NBA Comparisons: Anderson Varejao, Nick Collison, Marcin Gortat

32. PF Jerami Grant

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st rounder )

NBA Comparisons: Kenneth Faried, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis

33. PG Jahii Carson

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Competitive position )

NBA Comparisons: Kemba Walker, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison

34. C Clint Capela

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st rounder Rare position )

NBA Comparisons: Marcus Camby, Chris Anderson, Serge Ibaka

35. C Nikola Jokic

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( International buyout Bubble 1st rounder Rare position )

NBA Comparisons: Spencer Hawes, Robin Lopez, Kosta Koufos

36.  SF Lamar Patterson

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

NBA Comparisons: Tobias Harris, Draymond Green, Caron Butler

37. SG Markel Brown

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grade): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

NBA Comparisons: Gary Neal, Courtney Lee, Randy Foye

38. SG Jabari Brown

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: B- ( Bubble 1st rounder )

NBA Comparisons: Nick Young, Gerald Green, C.J. Miles

39. SG Gary Harris

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: A ( High draft pick )

NBA Comparisons: Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, Gary Neal

40. SG Travis Bader

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) – 1 / Terrible

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 18 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score: (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

NBA Comparisons: Jason Kapono, SG Steve Novak, Steve Kerr

41. PF Javon McCrea

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 13

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round/undrafted )

42. SF K.J. McDaniels

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 17 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st rounder )

43. PG Keith Appling

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 17 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd round pick/undrafted  Competitive position )

44. PF Patric Young

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 17 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game talent grade): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

45. C Walter Tavares

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 17 (Fringe Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: B+ ( Bubble 1st rounder Rare position )

46. PF LaQuinton Ross

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 8 / Great

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 17 (Fringe Blue Chip starter player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

47. PG Vasilije Micic

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( International buyout 2nd round pick/undrafted  Competitive position )

48. SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion grade (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

49. PG DeAndre Kane

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Competitive position )

50. PG Jordan Clarkson

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: C ( Bubble 1st rounder Competitive position )

51. C Khem Birch

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: C ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Rare position )

52. C Sim Bhullar

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades: 11

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round/undrafted Rare position Conditioning )

53. PG Deonte Burton

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades: 11

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd rounder/undrafted Competitive position )

54. PF Jarnell Stokes

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Bubble 1st rounder )

55. SF James Young

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: A- ( Mid 1st round pick )

56. PG Markel Starks

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round/undrafted )

57. PF Cory Jefferson

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

58. PF Shayne Whittington

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted  )

59. SG Xavier Thames

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

60. SG Andre Dawkins

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round/undrafted )

61. PG Bryce Cotton

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 1 / Terrible

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 7

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Competitive position )

62. PG Elfrid Payton

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 12

Contextual chance of success grade: A- ( High draft pick Competitive position )

63. SF Glenn Robinson III

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: B- ( Bubble 1st rounder )

64. SG Semaj Christon

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd rounder/undrafted )

65. PF James Michael McAdoo

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 5 / Average

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 11

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

66. PG Tyler Ennis

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade –  8 / Great

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: B+Mid 1st round pick Competitive position )

67. PF Johnny O’Bryant

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

68. PF Dwight Powell

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

69. PF Josh Huestis

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

70. SG Fuquan Edwin

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) 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)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 10

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

71. SG Joe Harris

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact +Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

72. SG Roy Devyn Marble

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

73. SG Nick Johnson

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

74. PG Scottie Wilbekin

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 8

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Competitive position )

75. SF Melvin Ejim

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

76. C Alex Kirk

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 2 / Very poor

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 7 / Very good

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 7

Contextual chance of success grade: C ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Rare position)

77. SF C.J. Fair

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 13 (Fringe Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: D ( 2nd round pick/undrafted )

78. PG Aaron Craft

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 4 / Lacking

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 13 (Fringe Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 9

Contextual chance of success grade: F ( 2nd round pick/undrafted  Competitive position )

79. C Jordan Bachynski

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 13 (Fringe Rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 8

Contextual chance of success grade: C ( 2nd round pick/undrafted Rare position )

80. C Artem Klimenko

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 3 / Weak

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade – 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 13 (Fringe rotation player talent grade)

Total motion score (Physical motion/impact + Feel for the Game grades): 8

Contextual chance of success grade: D+ (International buyout 2nd round/undrafted Rare position)

 

Model 2 – ESPN.com weighted rankings

To calculate this I simply take my talent grade in Model 1, add it the prospect’s rating ESPN/Chad Ford’s top 100 (As of June 23rd), then divide the numbers by two. This creates a more balanced rating between my ratings and conventional wisdom. One benefit of this is that if it’s more likely a player succeeds the higher he’s picked in the draft, this helps account for this. Some of the players who rated high on my list, but in the 2nd round/undrafted on Ford’s list, fall heavily down the board in this model.

Players out of Ford’s top 100 receive a ranking of 101.

(E) refers to ESPN rank, (J) refers to my talent grade rank.

1. C Joel Embiid 4 (E) + 2 (J) = 3.0
2. SG Nik Stauskas 11 (E) + 3 (J) = 7.0
3. PF Julius Randle 8 (E) + 7 (J) = 7.5
4. PF Noah Vonleh 5 (E) + 11 (J) = 8.0
5. PF Dario Saric 9 (E) + 9 (J) = 9.0
6. PF Aaron Gordon 7 (E) + 13 (J) = 10
7. PF Jabari Parker 2 (E) + 20 (J) = 11.0
8. PF Adreian Payne 19 (E) + 4 (J) = 11.5
9. SF Doug McDermott 12 (E) + 12 (J) = 12.0
10. PG Shabazz Napier 22 (E) + 6 (J) = 14.0
11. SF Andrew Wiggins 1(E) + 27 (J) = 14.0
12. PG/SG Marcus Smart 6 (E) + 23 (J) = 14.5
13. SG Zach LaVine 14 (E) + 16 (J) = 15.0
14. PG/SG Dante Exum 3 (E) + 14 (J) = 17
15. SG P.J. Hairston 18 (E) + 18 (J) = 18.0
16. SG Jordan Adams 27 (E) + 10 (J) = 18.5
17. SF T.J. Warren 20 (E) + 22 (J) = 21.0
18. C Jusuf Nurkic 17 (E) + 26 (J) = 21.5
19. SF Rodney Hood 25 (E) + 19 (J) = 22.0
20. SG Spencer Dinwiddie 40 (E) + 5 (J) = 22.5
21. SG Bogdan Bogdanovic 45 (E) + 1 (J) = 23.0
22. SF/PF Damien Inglis 30 (E) + 17 (J) = 23.5
23. SG Gary Harris 10 (E) + 39 (J) = 24.5
24. PF Kyle Anderson 23 (E) + 29 (J) = 26
25. PF Clint Capela 24 (E) + 34 (J) = 29.0
26. SF Cleanthony Early 32 (E) + 28 (J) = 30.0
27. C Mitch McGary 29 (E) + 31 (J) = 30.0
28. SG C.J. Wilcox 34 (E) + 30 (J) = 32.0
29. PF Jerami Grant 33 (E) + 32 (J) = 32.5
30. C Nikola Jokic 31 (E) + 35 (J) = 33.0
31. SF Deandre Daniels 59 (E) + 8 (J) = 33.5
32. SF K.J. McDaniels 26 (E) + 42 (J) = 34.0
33. SF James Young 15 (E) + 55 (J) = 35.0
34. SG Jordan McRae 47 (E) + 25 (J) = 36.0
35. PF Jarnell Stokes 21 (E) + 54 (J) = 37.5
36. PG Elfrid Payton 13 (E) + 62 (J) = 37.5
37. PG Jordan Clarkson 28 (E) + 50 (J) = 39.0
38. PF Patric Young 36 (E) + 44 (J) = 40.0
39. PG Russ Smith 58 (E) + 24 (J) = 41.0
40. C Walter Tavares 37 (E) + 45 (J) = 41.0
41. PG Tyler Ennis 16 (E) + 66 (J) = 41.0
42. PF Javon McCrea 43 (E) + 41 (J) = 42.0
43. SG Lamar Patterson 50 (E) + 36 (J) = 43.0
44. PG Jahii Carson 54 (E) + 33 (J) = 43.5
45. PG Vasilije Micic 41 (E) + 47 (J) = 44.0
46. PF Khem Birch 42 (E) + 51 (J) = 46.5
47. SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo 48 (E) + 48 (J) = 48.0
48. SF Glenn Robinson III 35 (E) + 63 (J) = 49.0
49. SG Markel Brown 64 (E) + 37 (J) = 50.5
50. SG Jabari Brown 67 (E) + 38 (J) = 52.5
51. C Alec Brown 86 (E) + 21 (J) = 53.5
52. SG Semaj Christon 44 (E) + 64 (J) = 54.0
53. SG Joe Harris 38 (E) + 71 (J) = 54.5
54. PG Bryce Cotton 49 (E) + 61 (J) = 55.0
55. PG DeAndre Kane 65 (E) + 49 (J) = 57.0
56. PG Deonte Burton 61 (E) + 53 (J) = 57.0
57. PF Cameron Bairstow unranked 101 (E) + 15 (J) = 58.0
58. PF LaQuinton Ross 70 (E) + 46 (J) = 58.0
59. PF Johnny O’Bryant 52 (E) + 67 (J) = 59.5
60. C Artem Klimenko 39 (E) + 80 (J) = 59.5
61. SG Travis Bader 81 (E) + 40 (J) = 60.5
62. PG Keith Appling 80 (E) + 43 (J) = 61.5
63. PF Cory Jefferson 66 (E) + 57 (J) = 61.5
64. SG Roy Devyn Marble 53 (E) + 72 (J) = 62.5
65. PF James Michael McAdoo 62 (E) + 65 (J) = 63.5
66. PF Dwight Powell 63 (E) + 68 (J) = 65.5
67. PG Nick Johnson 60 (E) + 73 (J) = 66.5
68. PF C.J. Fair 56 (E) + 77 (J) = 66.5
69. SG Xavier Thames 76 (E) + 59 (J) = 67.5
72. PG Aaron Craft 68 (E) + 78 (J) = 73
71. SF Melvin Ejim 72 (E) + 75 (J) = 73.5
72. PG Scottie Wilbekin 74 (E) + 74 (J) = 74.0
73. C Jordan Bachynski 73 (E) + 79 (J) = 76
74. C Sim Bhullar unranked 101 + 52 (J) = 76.5
75. PG Markel Starks unranked 101 + 56 (J) = 78.5
76. PF Josh Huestis 89 (E) + 69 (J) = 79.0
77. SG Fuquan Edwin 88 (E) + 70 (J) = 79.0
78. PF Shayne Whittington unranked 101 (E) + 58 (J) = 79.5
79. SG Andre Dawkins unranked 101 + 60 (J) = 80.5
80. C Alex Kirk 85 (E) + 76 (J) = 80.5

Parker and Wiggins benefit here for obvious reasons. While players like Bogdanovic, Dinwiddie, Bairstow, Brown fall heavily. The top 19 players are ranked in the top 30 on both lists and may be very good bets to reach whatever talent they may have.

Model 3 – PER/Age weighting

In this model I use college PER and a player’s age as a model. To adjust for age I used these benchmarks, Freshman: 22 PER, Sophomore: 24 PER, Junior: 26 PER, Senior: 28 PER. I take the prospects difference between their PER and this benchmark, then add this difference to my model 1 talent grade. For example Joel Embiid is a freshman C with a 28.6 PER, so that’s (+6.6) compared to the freshman benchmark of 22. I then add this to my talent grade of (24) to get a total sum of 30.6, which tops the list. Those numbers are written like this ” Freshman C Joel Embiid 28.6 PER (+6.6) (24) = 30.6 ”

For international prospects I just left their grade as what it was after the talent grading model.  For P.J. Hairston I used his 2012-2013 UNC season.

1. Freshman C Joel Embiid 28.6 PER (+6.6) (24) = 30.6
2. Senior SF Doug McDermott 33.1 PER (21) (+5.8) = 26.8
3. Freshman PF Jabari Parker 28.7 PER (+6.7) (20) = 26.7
4. Sophomore SF T.J. Warren 31.6 PER (+7.6) (19) = 26.6
5. Sophomore SG Jordan Adams 28.7 PER (+4.7) (21) = 25.7
6. International SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (25) = 25
7. Freshman PF Julius Randle 24.9 PER (+2.9) (21) = 23.9
8. Sophomore SG P.J. Hairston 27.1 PER (+3.1) (20) = 23.1
9. Sophomore SG Nik Stauskas 22.9 PER (-1.1) (24) = 22.9
10. Sophomore SG Marcus Smart 27.2 PER (+3.2) (19) = 22.2
11. Freshman PF Noah Vonleh 22.8 PER (+0.8) (21) = 21.8
12. Senior PF Cameron Bairstow 29.3 PER (+1.3) (20) = 21.3
13. Junior SG Spencer Dinwiddie 25.1 PER (-0.9) (22) = 21.1
14. Sophomore C Mitch McGary 27.0 PER (+3.0) (18) = 21.0
15. International PF Dario Saric (21) = 21.0
16. Sophomore PF Kyle Anderson 25.2 PER (+1.2) (19) = 20.2
17. Senior PG Shabazz Napier 26.0 PER (-2.0) (22) = 20.0
18. International SG Dante Exum (20) = 20.0
19. International PF Damien Inglis = 20.0
20. Senior PF Javon McCrea 30.8 PER (+2.8) (17) = 19.8
21. Junior SF K.J. McDaniels 28.7 PER (+2.7) (17) = 19.7
22. Senior SG Jordan McRae 23.7 PER (-4.3) (19) = 19.4
23. Senior PF Adreian Payne 25.2 PER (-2.8) (22) = 19.2
24. International C Jusuf Nurkic (19) = 19.0
25. Freshman PF Aaron Gordon 20.9 PER (20) (-1.1) = 18.9
26. Freshman SF Andrew Wiggins 21.8 PER (-0.2) (19) = 18.8
27. International C Clint Capela (18)
28. International C Nikola Jokic (18)
29. Senior SF Cleanthony Early 26.7 PER (-1.3) (19) = 17.7
30. Junior PF Jarnell Stokes 27.5 PER (+1.5) (16) = 17.5
31. Senior PG Russ Smith 26.4 PER (-1.6) (19) = 17.4
32. International C Walter Tavares (17)
33. Sophomore SG Gary Harris 22.8 PER (-1.2) (18) = 16.8
34. Senior C Khem Birch 26.7 PER (+0.7) (16) = 16.7
35. Sophomore C Sim Bhullar 24.6 PER (+0.6) (16) = 16.6
36. Sophomore SG Rodney Hood 20.3 PER (-3.7) (20) = 16.3
37. Sophomore PF Jerami Grant 22.0 PER (-2.0) (18) = 16.0
38. International PG Vasilijie Micic (16)
39. D League SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo (16)
40. Junior SF Deandre Daniels 20.5 PER (-5.5) (21) = 15.5
41. Senior SG Xavier Thames 27.0 PER (-1.0) (16) = 15.0
42. Senior C Alec Brown 22.7 PER (-5.3) (20) = 14.7
43. Freshman PG Tyler Ennis 21.7 PER (-0.3) (15) = 14.7
44. Junior SG Jabari Brown 22.4 PER (-3.6) (18) = 14.4
45. Senior SF Lamar Patterson 24.5 PER (-3.5) (18) = 14.5
46. Senior PF Shayne Whittington 25.5 PER (-2.5) (16) = 13.5
47. Junior PG Elfrid Payton 24.4 PER (-1.6) (15) = 13.4
48. Senior SG C.J. Wilcox 22.3 PER (-5.7) (19) = 13.3
49. Junior PF LaQuinton Ross 22.1 PER (-3.9) (17) = 13.1
50. Senior PG Deonte Burton 25.1 PER (-2.9) (16) = 13.1
51. International C Artem Klimenko (13)
52. Freshman SG Zach Lavine 14.9 PER (-7.1) (20) = 12.9
53. Senior SG Markel Brown 22.3 PER (-5.7) (18) = 12.3
54. Senior PG Bryce Cotton 24.1 PER (-3.9) (16) = 12.1
55. Senior PF Cory Jefferson 23.8 PER (-4.2) (16) = 11.8
56. Senior PF Patric Young 22.4 (-5.6) (17) = 11.4
57. Sophomore PG Jahii Carson 17.3 PER (-6.7) (18) = 11.3
58. Senior PG Deandre Kane 22.9 PER (-5.1) (16) = 10.9
59. Junior SG Nick Johnson 21.9 (-4.1) (15) = 10.9
60. Freshman SG James Young 16.8 PER (-5.2) (16) = 10.8
61. Senior SG Andre Dawkins 22.7 PER (-5.3) (16) = 10.7
62. Junior PG Jordan Clarkson 20.5 PER (-5.5) (16) = 10.5
63. Sophomore SG Semaj Christon 19.3 PER (-4.7) (15) = 10.3
64. Sophomore SF Glenn Robinson III 19.2 PER (-4.8) (15) = 10.2
65. Senior SG Roy Devyn Marble 22.9 (-5.1) (15) = 9.9
66. Junior PF James Michael McAdoo 20.7 PER (-5.3) (15) = 9.7
67. Senior SF Melvin Ejim 23.5 (-4.5) (14) = 9.5
68. Junior C Alex Kirk 21.1 (-4.9) (14) = 9.1
69. Junior PF Johnny O’Bryant 19.0 PER (-7.0) (15) = 8.0
70. Senior SG Travis Bader 17.8 PER (-10.2) (18) = 7.8
71. Senior SG Fuquan Edwin 20.5 PER (-7.5) (15) = 7.5
72. Senior C Jordan Bachynski 22.1 PER (-5.9) (13) = 7.1
73. Senior PF Dwight Powell 20.0 PER (-8.0) (15) = 7.0
74. Senior PG Markel Starks 17.9 PER (-10.1) (16) = 5.9
75. Senior PG Keith Appling 16.2 PER (-11.8) (17) = 5.2
76. Senior PG Scottie Wilbekin 18.0 (-10.0) (15) = 5.0
77. Senior PF Josh Huestis 17.6 PER (-10.2) (15) = 4.8
78. Senior SG Joe Harris 19.0 PER (-9.0) (15) = 4.0
79. Senior PF C.J. Fair 18.0 PER (-10.0) (13) = 3.0
80. Senior PG Aaron Craft 16.9 PER (-11.1) (13) = 2.9

Embiid’s production for his age for his talent, really makes it clear without health problems, he was an across the board home run pick. McDermott, Parker and Warren are big winners here for their fantastic seasons for their age.

Model 3 – Part II

Here’s another way to look at the PER adjusted model. I took only the players “above average” in PER from their freshman (22)/sophomore (24)/junior (26)/senior (28) benchmarks at the beginning of Model 3 and separated them as a list from the players below those benchmarks. Then within these groups, I ordered players by their rank on my Model 1/talent grades. Therefore the talent grade is the determining factor but only after the players production is deemed above expectations according to my PER benchmarks.

Above PER benchmark:

Freshman C Joel Embiid 28.6 PER (+6.6) (24) = 30.6
Freshman PF Julius Randle 24.9 PER (+2.9) (21) = 23.9
Sophomore SG Jordan Adams 28.7 PER (+4.7) (21) = 25.7
Freshman PF Noah Vonleh 22.8 PER (+0.8) (21) = 21.8
Senior SF Doug McDermott 33.1 PER (21) (+5.8) = 26.8
Senior PF Cameron Bairstow 29.3 PER (+1.3) (20) = 21.3
Sophomore SG P.J. Hairston 27.1 PER (+3.1) (20) = 23.1
Freshman PF Jabari Parker 28.7 PER (+6.7) (20) = 26.7
Sophomore SF T.J. Warren 31.6 PER (+7.6) (19) = 26.6
Sophomore SG Marcus Smart 27.2 PER (+3.2) (19) = 22.2
Sophomore PF Kyle Anderson 25.2 PER (+1.2) (19) = 20.2
Sophomore C Mitch McGary 27.0 PER (+3.0) (18) = 21.0
Senior PF Javon McCrea 30.8 PER (+2.8) (17) = 19.8
Junior SF K.J. McDaniels 28.7 PER (+2.7) (17) = 19.7
Junior PF Jarnell Stokes 27.5 PER (+1.5) (16) = 17.5
Sophomore C Sim Bhullar 24.6 PER (+0.6) (16) = 16.6
Senior C Khem Birch 26.7 PER (+0.7) (16) = 16.7

International:

International SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (25) = 25
International PF Dario Saric (21) = 21.0
International SG Dante Exum (20) = 20.0
International PF Damien Inglis (20) = 20.0
International C Jusuf Nurkic (19) = 19.0
International C Clint Capela (18)
International C Nikola Jokic (18)
International C Walter Tavares (17)
International PG Vasilijie Micic (16)
D League SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo (16)

Below PER benchmark:

Sophomore SG Nik Stauskas 22.9 PER (-1.1) (24) = 22.9
Senior PF Adreian Payne 25.2 PER (-2.8) (22) = 19.2
Junior SG Spencer Dinwiddie 25.1 PER (-0.9) (22) = 21.1
Senior PG Shabazz Napier 26.0 PER (-2.0) (22) = 20.0
Junior SF Deandre Daniels 20.5 PER (-5.5) (21) = 15.5
Freshman PF Aaron Gordon 20.9 PER (20) (-1.1) = 18.9
Freshman SG Zach Lavine 14.9 PER (-7.1) (20) = 12.9
Sophomore SG Rodney Hood 20.3 PER (-3.7) (20) = 16.3
Senior C Alec Brown 22.7 PER (-5.3) (20) = 14.7
Senior PG Russ Smith 26.4 PER (-1.6) (19) = 17.4
Senior SG Jordan McRae 23.7 PER (-4.3) (19) = 19.4
Freshman SF Andrew Wiggins 21.8 PER (-0.2) (19) = 18.8
Senior SF Cleanthony Early 26.7 PER (-1.3) (19) = 17.7
Senior SG C.J. Wilcox 22.3 PER (-5.7) (19) = 13.3
Sophomore PF Jerami Grant 22.0 PER (-2.0) (18) = 16.0
Sophomore PG Jahii Carson 17.3 PER (-6.7) (18) = 11.3
Senior SF Lamar Patterson 24.5 PER (-3.5) (18) = 14.5
Senior SG Markel Brown 22.3 PER (-5.7) (18) = 12.3
Junior SG Jabari Brown 22.4 PER (-3.6) (18) = 14.4
Sophomore SG Gary Harris 22.8 PER (-1.2) (18) = 16.8
Senior SG Travis Bader 17.8 PER (-10.2) (18) = 7.8
Senior PG Keith Appling 16.2 PER (-11.8) (17) = 5.2
Senior PF Patric Young 22.4 (-5.6) (17) = 11.4
Junior PF LaQuinton Ross 22.1 PER (-3.9) (17) = 13.1
Senior PG Deandre Kane 22.9 PER (-5.1) (16) = 10.9
Junior PG Jordan Clarkson 20.5 PER (-5.5) (16) = 10.5
Senior PG Deonte Burton 25.1 PER (-2.9) (16) = 13.1
Freshman SG James Young 16.8 PER (-5.2) (16) = 10.8
Senior PG Markel Starks 17.9 PER (-10.1) (16) = 5.9
Senior PF Cory Jefferson 23.6 PER (-4.4) (16) = 11.6
Senior PF Shayne Whittington 25.5 PER (-2.5) (16) = 13.5
Senior SG Xavier Thames 27.0 PER (-1.0) (16) = 15.0
Senior SG Andre Dawkins 22.7 PER (-5.3) (16) = 10.7
Senior PG Bryce Cotton 24.1 PER (-3.9) (16) = 12.1
Junior PG Elfrid Payton 24.4 PER (-1.6) (15) = 13.4
Sophomore SF Glenn Robinson III 19.2 PER (-4.8) (15) = 10.2
Sophomore SG Semaj Christon 19.3 PER (-4.7) (15) = 10.3
Junior PF James Michael McAdoo 20.7 PER (-5.3) (15) = 9.7
Freshman PG Tyler Ennis 21.7 PER (-0.3) (15) = 14.7
Junior PF Johnny O’Bryant 19.0 PER (-7.0) (15) = 8.0
Senior PF Dwight Powell 20.0 PER (-8.0) (15) = 7.0
Senior PF Josh Huestis 17.6 PER (-10.2) (15) = 4.8
Senior SG Fuquan Edwin 20.5 PER (-7.5) (15) = 7.5
Senior SG Joe Harris 19.0 PER (-9.0) (15) = 4.0
Senior SG Roy Devyn Marble 22.9 (-5.1) (15) = 9.9
Senior PG Scottie Wilbekin 18.0 (-10.0) (15) = 5.0
Junior SG Nick Johnson 21.9 (-4.1) (15) = 10.9
Senior SF Melvin Ejim 23.5 (-4.5) (14) = 9.5
Junior C Alex Kirk 21.1 (-4.9) (14) = 9.1
Senior PF C.J. Fair 18.0 PER (-10.0) (13) = 3.0
Senior PG Aaron Craft 16.9 PER (-11.1) (13) = 2.9
Senior C Jordan Bachynski 22.1 PER (-5.9) (13) = 7.1
International C Artem Klimenko (13)

This could very well end up the most powerful model of the post. The first 14 names on the above PER benchmark list are Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Jordan Adams, Noah Vonleh, Doug McDermott, Cameron Bairstow, P.J. Hairston, Jabari Parker, T.J. Warren, Marcus Smart, Kyle Anderson, Mitch McGary, Javon McCrea, K.J. McDaniels. For all I know, this could end up being the “smart man’s” lottery in this draft. Many are tough and high motor players. Bairstow has emerged as the late round steal of the draft to me. In addition to his has legitimate NBA athleticism, strength, length and skills for an NBA power forward that impressed me in talent, his production also passes the sniff test.

That’s not to say the talent level of some other prospects should be disregarded. Certainly the European players deserve heavy consideration, with Dario Saric, Jusuf Nurkic and Clint Capela putting up dominant advanced statistics. Bogdan Bogdanovic advanced stats are not as strong, but won the Rising Star award and is already playing a lead role for his team in the Euroleague which is encouraging. For a player whose talent I rate so high, Nik Stauskas’ production is concerning. An optimistic argument could be that he was carrying a surprisingly high body fat % this year which could’ve slowed his numbers. Andrew Wiggins’ number is only marginally negative, so that may not be much to worry about. But this model arguably gives reason to doubt some other talented players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Shabazz Napier, Adreian Payne, Rodney Hood, Jabari Brown, Jordan McRae, Russ Smith, Cleanthony Early, C.J. Wilcox. and especially Deandre Daniels and Zach LaVine, who are otherwise exciting talents. While Stauskas and Bogdanovic may be rare enough talents to bypass this model in my opinion, it may be worth it to look at players like Warren, McGary or McCrea over some of the above higher ranking talents, if one was committing to this model.

Some of the prospects I was already bear-ish on in my talent grading such as Gary Harris, Elfrid Payton, James Young, Tyler Ennis continue to unimpress here and this further encourages me to consider them major reaches in the top 20.

Model 4 – Analytics weighted model

For my fourth model I wanted to take into account more advanced analytics. Many analytics-driven sites have gained popularity by ranking players with with high steal/block, college production, young age, etc. Arguably leading the way is Layne Vasharo (or “VJL”) whose draft model has an excellent track record against conventional wisdom. These models can be found here and his twitter account @VJL_bball. (Also, to note, his “Humble” ranking also inspired my ESPN weighted Model 2). With an already successful track record, it could make my talent grading method even more powerful.

To calculate this, I simply added VJL’s rating EWP and added it to my talent grade. For international players and NCAA players who were unranked on VJL’s list,  I added a score of 4.4 in place of EWP, which I chose because it’s the EWP his 30th ranked player had. For Hairston again I used his EWP in his last college season in 2012-2013 at UNC:

1. C Joel Embiid 15.6 EWP + (24) = 39.6
2. PF Kyle Anderson 14.3 EWP + (19) = 33.3
3. SG Jordan Adams 11.9 EWP + (21) = 32.9
4. PF Noah Vonleh 11.1 EWP + (21) = 32.1
5. PF Aaron Gordon 11.1 EWP + (20) = 31.1
6. PF Jabari Parker 10.8 EWP + (20) = 30.8
7. SG Marcus Smart 11.4 EWP + (19) = 30.4
8. International SG Bogdan Bogdanovic 4.4 est. + (25) = 29.4
9. SF T.J. Warren 7.4 EWP + (22) = 29.4
10. SG Nik Stauskas 4.7 EWP + (24) = 28.7
11. SG Spencer Dinwiddie 6.7 EWP + (22) = 28.7
12. PF Julius Randle 7.7 + (21) = 28.7
13. PG Shabazz Napier 5.5 EWP + (22) = 27.5
14. SF Andrew Wiggins 8.5 EWP + (19) = 27.5
15. PG Tyler Ennis 11.3 EWP + (15) = 26.3
16. C Mitch McGary 7.9 EWP + (18) = 25.9
17. SG Gary Harris 7.5 EWP + (18) = 25.5
18. International PF Dario Saric 4.4 est. + (21) = 25.4
19. PF Javon McCrea 7.7 EWP + (17) = 24.7
20. PG Elfrid Payton 9.7 EWP + (15) = 24.7
21. PF Adreian Payne 2.4 EWP + (22) = 24.4
22. International SG Dante Exum 4.4 est. + (20) = 24.4
23. International PF Damien Inglis 4.4 est. + (20) = 24.4
24. SG Zach LaVine 4.4 EWP + (20) = 24.4
25. SF Doug McDermott 3.1 EWP + (21) = 24.1
26. PF Jarnell Stokes 8 EWP + (16) = 24.0
27. SG P.J. Hairston 3.5 EWP (12-13) + (20) = 23.5
28. International C Jusuf Nurkic 4.4 est. + (19) = 23.4
29. PG Russ Smith 4.3 EWP + (19) = 23.3
30. SF K.J. McDaniels 6.3 EWP + (17) = 23.3
31. SF DeAndre Daniels 1.6 EWP + (21) = 22.6
32. PF Jerami Grant 4.6 EWP + (18) = 22.6
33. C Khem Birch 6.5 EWP + (16) = 22.5
34. International C Clint Capela 4.4 est. + (18) = 22.4
35. International C Nikola Jokic 4.4 est. + (18) = 22.4
36. SG Travis Bader 4.4 + (18) = 22.4
37. PF Cameron Bairstow 2.0 EWP + (20) = 22.0
38. C Alec Brown 2.0 EWP + (20) = 22.0
39. C Sim Bhullar 5.8 EWP + (16) = 21.8
40. International C Walter Tavares 4.4 est. + (17) = 21.4
41. SF Lamar Patterson 3.3 EWP + (18) = 21.3
42. SF Rodney Hood 1.8 EWP + (19) = 20.8
43. SF Cleanthony Early 1.4 EWP + (19) = 20.4
44. International PG Vasilijie Micic est. 4.4 + (16) = 20.4
45. D League SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo 4.4 + (16) = 20.4
46. PF Shayne Whittington 4.4 + (16) = 20.4
47. PG Bryce Cotton 4.4 + (16) = 20.4
48. SG Andre Dawkins 4.4 + (16) = 20.4
49. PG Markel Starks 4.4 + (16) = 20.4
50. SF James Young 4.3 EWP + (16) = 20.3
51. PF Patric Young 3.1 EWP + (17) = 20.1
52. SG Roy Devyn Marble 5.1 EWP + (15) = 20.1
53. SG Jordan McRae 1.0 EWP + (19) = 20.0
54. SG Markel Brown 1.9 EWP + (18) = 19.9
55. SG C.J. Wilcox 0.8 EWP + (19) = 19.8
56. SF Glenn Robinson III 4.8 EWP + (15) = 19.8
57. PG Jahii Carson 1.1 EWP + (18) = 19.1
58. SG Jabari Brown 1.1 EWP + (18) = 19.1
59. PG Scottie Wilbekin 4.0 EWP + (15) = 19.0
60. PG Keith Appling 1.9 EWP + (17) = 18.9
61. PF Dwight Powell 3.4 EWP + (15) = 18.4
62. C Alex Kirk 4.4 + (14) = 18.4
63. PF LaQuinton Ross 1.2 EWP + (17) = 18.2
64. PF James Michael McAdoo 3.2 EWP + (15) = 18.2
65. SG Xavier Thames 2.1 EWP + (16) = 18.1
66. SG Nick Johnson 3.1 EWP + (15) = 18.1
67. PF Cory Jefferson 1.8 EWP + (16) = 17.8
68. SG Fuquan Edwin 2.7 EWP + (15) = 17.7
69. PG Jordan Clarkson 1.6 EWP + (16) = 17.6
70. PG Deonte Burton 1.5 EWP + (16) = 17.5
71. International C Artem Klimenko 4.4 est. + (13) = 17.4
72. C Jordan Bachynski 4.4 est. + (13) = 17.4
73. SG Semaj Christon 2.3 EWP + (15) = 17.3
74. PG DeAndre Kane 1.1 EWP + (16) = 17.1
75. SG Joe Harris 1.4 EWP + (15) + 16.4
76. PF Johnny O’Bryant 1.1 EWP + (15) = 16.1
77. SF Josh Huestis 1.0 EWP + (15) = 16.0
78. SF Melvin Ejim 1.9 EWP + (14) = 15.9
79. PG Aaron Craft 2.4 EWP + (13) = 15.4
80. SF C.J. Fair 1.5 EWP + (13) = 14.5

Healthy Joel Embiid continues to dominate the models. Kyle Anderson moves way up on the strength of his EWP, while  Jordan Adams and Noah Vonleh continue to look like two of the safest picks in the draft to be really good. Jabari Parker and Marcus Smart continue to look like top 10 picks in every model except my traditional talent grading one, which is an encouraging sign for them. Aaron Gordon is somewhat of a puzzle by ranking excellently in EWP but below average in the PER list. Doug McDermott’s EWP is as bad as his PER ranking was good. Some players like Nik Stauskas, Adreian Payne, Shabazz Napier continue to look discouraging in this model. Players like Elfrid Payton, Tyler Ennis, Gary Harris look better in this model, but all signs continue to point towards James Young being a poor pick in the top 20.

Overall thoughts:

Joel Embiid if healthy is practically a guaranteed stud. He has too much size, athleticism, skill and instinct while his production rocked the NCAA for a freshman. Although our instinct is to believe he’ll either be a total home run or strikeout, this may not be the case. It’s possible he is injured often but still worth the #1 pick for when he plays. Consider two examples in Yao Ming and Bill Walton. Yao had many half seasons and missed multiple playoff runs, but was valuable enough for when he played to still be worth the #1 pick for Houston. Bill Walton’s prime may have ended brutally early for the Trail Blazers but he played long enough to win them a title, again worth the #1 pick. If Embiid became superstar caliber, a team picking top 3 probably needs him there half the time to be happy with the pick, especially if Wiggins and Parker underwhelm like I anticipate.

Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nik Stauskas are players who do not perform as well in my secondary models, however I have confidence in my talent grading methodology enough to believe they have STAR potential. Because of the difference between stars and everyone else in the NBA, I’d still rate them top 3 value.

Jordan Adams, Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh are guys with the talent and production to be near sure things. I don’t rate their talent as star caliber, but they could be prime candidates to join the “David West and Luol Deng” all-stars list, guys who make it once or twice and have an otherwise great starting career. Doug McDermott  performs as well outside of the analytical model and I’m also fairly confident he’ll be productive and a starter.

Jabari Parker, T.J. Warren, P.J. Hairston, Cameron Bairstow, Marcus Smart, Kyle Anderson all mix talent with productivity, making them good bets to be relevant NBA players who are consistently heard from. Any of these players making 7 to 9 million a year in their post rookie contract deal, would not surprise me

Dario Saric, Dante Exum, Damien Inglis, Jusuf Nurkic are talented European prospects and possible starters who deserve lotto or top 20 consideration.

Spencer Dinwiddie, Shabazz Napier, Adreian Payne have production reasons to be concerned about reaching their talent, but have the talent to be among the top 5-7 players in this draft and thus are worth taking not far below that.

DeAndre Daniels and Zach LaVine are too of the most clearcut enigmatic cases of the draft with exciting talent, but their production for their age and talent, is certainly worried enough to be a problem. Players like Rodney Hood, Cleanthony Early, C.J. Wilcox are also worth a look for their talent.

Other players I like for either talent or production reasons include Mitch McGary, Javon McCrea, Jordan McRae, Russ Smith, Alec Brown, Clint Capela, Nikola Jokic,

Andrew Wiggins is a decent prospect with starter talent, I just don’t know if he’s anything more. He feels like a prospect worth a look in the teens. Due to his draft position he could potentially be a bust more in the vein of Marvin Williams and OJ Mayo than Adam Morrison, the former players established themselves as legit NBA material and got paid contracts over 8 million a year, but it wasn’t enough.

Tyler Ennis and Elfrid Payton play well in the analytics model, but I otherwise don’t like their talent level enough to rate them 1st round caliber. Gary Harris may have a solid career but does not look like more than a late 20s caliber prospect to me.

I don’t see any reason to consider James Young worth 1st round consideration. His talent level is subpar, his production is subpar. I don’t know what his draft position stands on other than being a big name in high school and then going to Kentucky.

Written by jr.

June 25, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Envisioning an analytics heavy 76ers draft night

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I’ve been banging the drum (probably too hard) that the key to understanding the 76ers draft strategy, is to look at analytics where Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams and Arsalan Kazemi all universally were rated well. All have strong steal and block rates with Embiid and Smart leading the way for this class, the Sixers supposed dream pick Andrew Wiggins had average numbers in that area. On ESPN Kevin Pelton’s WARP rating rated Wiggins 19th, in comparison to prospects like Marcus Smart (1st), Jordan Adams (5th), Joel Embiid (6th), Jabari Parker (7th), Noah Vonleh (8th). Ed Weiland of hoopsanalyst.com had Embiid and Smart ranked 1st and 2nd in his March big board, while he is lukewarm on Wiggins.

Because of this I’ve made the point the Sixers Wiggins fascination was likely a smokescreen while they really targeted Joel Embiid or Jabari Parker.

However Embiid’s foot stress fracture is a huge monkey wrench. Even the biggest fans of Embiid have to be scared of the words “Bill Walton and Yao Ming had this”. So to me the most logical way for the Sixers to approach this, is to find a way to nab Embiid without using their 3rd pick on him. This could include Embiid falling to 10, or more likely, making a trade either to move up from 10 or to trade Michael-Carter Williams for it.

So under the impression the Sixers are analytics first, here is what predict the “dream draft” is for the 76ers:

3rd overall pick: PG/SG Marcus Smart

If analytics driven I believe there’s a realistic chance the Sixers see Smart as the top pick of the draft, once taking into account Embiid’s health. Smart has many of the reasons why the Sixers likely found Michael Carter-Williams appealing. He has an even higher stl/blk rate than Carter-Williams did and is a better rebounder per minute, but averages less assists. Age is important to analytics teams, Carter-Williams turned 22 the year of his draft, while Smart turned 20 in March.

After Joel Embiid falls to the 7th overall pick, the 76ers and Lakers agree to principle on this trade:

The 76ers trade:
Michael Carter-Williams

The Lakers trade:

#7
Steve Nash

Picking for the Sixers, the Lakers take C Joel Embiid.

The Lakers decide to do this trade because they are less interested in a longer draft rebuild, seeing Carter-Williams as more productive during Bryant’s last few years. This also pushes them towards a free agent-centric strategy, both by Carter-Williams more immediate production and by clearing Steve Nash’s salary to Philadelphia’s capspace, who I presume is bought out by the 76ers and then can do as he wishes, such as retire or sign with the Clippers or Suns.

The 76ers get Joel Embiid who very well may have topped their analytics-driven draft board the entire year. In this http://hoopsanalyst.com/?p=1259 article Ed Weiland shows how Embiid’s freshman statistical profile draws up these comparisons: Hakeem, Robinson, Ewing, Oden, Mourning. It’s conceivable before his injury, that’s who the Sixers envisioned him being.

Despite his rookie of the year success the Sixers may be less enamored with Carter-Williams than it seems. As mentioned, analytics teams like young players and Carter-Williams will be 23 by the start of next season. The Sixers are also likely to know that Carter-Williams pace inflated, very inefficient scoring season, was not such a good start offensively, especially if they weight it by age. Certainly when added to the prospect of them drafting Marcus Smart 3rd, trading Carter-Williams is a possibility.

10th overall pick: SG Jordan Adams

Adams is another player with a very impressive combined steal and block rate (3.7 per 40, including 3.5 steals per 40 minutes). He turns 20 in July and was a very productive sophomore. He would fill a need for a shooter in the Sixers lineup, considering Smart and Noel’s range for their position. 10 may seem high for Adams so it’s conceivable they could trade back, but I’ll slot him here for now.

To show how these picks would fit the Sixers profile, a few weeks ago I posted a list showing the combined stl and blk per 40 minutes of 2013 and 2014 lottery prospects or lottery projected prospects. Here is 2013 including Arsalan Kazemi who was picked 2nd round by the Sixers:

Nerlens Noel – 8.1
Steven Adams – 4.6
Arsalan Kazemi – 3.7
Michael Carter-Williams – 3.7
Alex Len – 3.4
Otto Porter – 3.1
Cody Zeller – 3.1
Victor Oladipo – 3.0
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – 2.8
Anthony Bennett – 2.7
Kelly Olynyk – 2.7
Trey Burke – 2.4
Ben McLemore – 2.0
C.J. McCollum – 1.7
Shabazz Muhammad – 1.1

Now here is 2014 NCAA lotto contenders including Adams and Kyle Anderson (two analytics favorites):

Joel Embiid – 6.0
Marcus Smart – 4.2
Jordan Adams – 3.7
Noah Vonleh – 3.4
Elfrid Payton – 3.1
Jabari Parker – 3.0
Kyle Anderson – 3.0
Gary Harris – 2.7
Andrew Wiggins – 2.6
Tyler Ennis – 2.6
Aaron Gordon – 2.4
Zach LaVine – 1.8
Julius Randle – 1.6
Nik Stauskas – 0.9
Doug McDermott – 0.5

It’s easy to see how this “dream draft” would fit the profile of an analytics team. That’s not to say Philadelphia will automatically just draft by stl/blk rate or other analytics like WARP, but it heavily influences their decision, a draft like the above is something I could see. The Sixers both take the Joel Embiid boom/bust risk, while trotting out a trio of rookies in Marcus Smart, Jordan Adams and Nerlens Noel that they may believe is a great haul from 2013 and 2014 on its own – and heading into another high draft pick next year.

Written by jr.

June 20, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Kawhi Leonard and big hands

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Kawhi Leonard is now one of the youngest Finals MVPs after dominating the last 3 games of the Finals. He’s also one of the great draft steals in recent memory, with the Spurs picking him up at #15 in the 2011 draft.

The success of a player like Kawhi is a challenge to the other 29 teams in the league, or at least the ones who passed on him. Kawhi not only fell to 15 but it was a draft getting called one of the worst of all time and where teams picking in the lottery were dieing for a star talent. They passed on him for players they barely liked.

All of these teams have to look at Kawhi and ask how do we pick this player next year instead of passing. They have to re-evaluate their draft methods that led to passing on him.

Interestingly, one of Kawhi’s attributes that is getting targeted is his gigantic hands. Now, Kawhi’s big hands clearly make him better. However, it’s one piece of the larger puzzle.

First, consider that one of the biggest ways Kawhi’s big hands help him, is they make his wingspan longer. Leonard has a 7’3 wingspan, with an average PF’s being around 7’2 and average SF at around 6’11, this is a significant advantage at SF. Having a long wingspan makes a player better by extending his reach on defense and helping him deflect steals, but this is nothing new, teams have been obsessing over the length measurable for a long time including at the 2011 draft.

There are other ways big hands can help a player. Arguably it helps a player secure rebounds and dribble the ball better. However Leonard’s ballhandling remains one of his weaknesses and are not a major reason why he’s a draft steal. His rebounding is exceptional thanks to his strong hands. There was other reasons to believe Leonard was a stronger than average SF however, at the combine he measured 227 pounds, while the average SF prospect at the combine measures about 210 pounds, to an average PF’s 230. So Leonard has the length and weight of a power forward, but moves laterally like a shooting guard. Leonard’s hands may make him even stronger than his power forward-like weight suggests.

It’s not that Leonard’s hands aren’t important, it’s just there’s many things that will make a player like Leonard successful. In addition to his hand size, there’s

– How strong he is
– How long his arms are
– How well he moves laterally on defense
– Above average athleticism driving to the basket and playing in transition
– The ability to hit the 3pt and increasing ability to have offensive sets run through him
– Extremely strong basketball instincts/feel for the game
– A perfect demeanour and work ethic

In light of this, Kawhi would likely still be a major draft steal if his hand size was normal, making him slightly less long and strong, but nonetheless still stronger and longer than most SFs while being a great full court athlete with 3pt range and feel for the game. He’d still have many of the strengths that all-stars like Paul George and Luol Deng have had, who aren’t as known for their hand size.

Written by jr.

June 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

The real big 3 of the 2014 draft

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By conventional wisdom along with seemingly NBA teams, there’s a “big 3” in this draft of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid.

In my draft rankings I have a big 3 of prospects I feel separate themselves as star talents, but only one of those players is in it. In addition to Embiid, I rate Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nik Stauskas as the other elite prospects.

What do I see in these 3 players? I’ll discuss each a bit

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Originally I toyed with the comparison of Joe Johnson or James Harden for Bogdanovic, before settling on the perfect one: Brandon Roy. Like him, Bogdanovic is a complete all around guard. He’s one of the most fluid players in the class, which I use to rate feel for the game. He has the first step and ballhandling to drive to the basket at a plus level for a guard. He has the wingspan and body of a small forward, but his lateral mobility is like a shooting guard or better. He hits 3s at a high volume and good % in Europe, which is more impressive than the NCAA because it’s closer to the NBA 3pt line. He has playmaking ability for a 2/3 and ran PG for a section of his team Partizan’s season, filling in for an injured teammate.

Bogdanovic would be a very good prospect just for his driving ability, fluidity and outside shooting, but what really puts him over the top is the complimentary gifts in length, strength, lateral mobility and passing. All of which individually make him a little better as a prospect, but by having all of them, make him significantly better. Bogdanovic is neither the fastest or best shooting prospect in this draft, but he doesn’t need to be if he’s good at both in a strong, long, fluid body who can pass.

If you’re wondering how it’s possible an international prospect expected to go in the 20s or 30s could potentially be the best in the draft, remember that Tony Parker went in the same range in his draft. At some point another international star will drop past teams and frankly, the Spurs are the heavy favorite to draft that star, in whatever draft it comes. In arguably the most talented international draft ever, the timing is logical for a star talent like this to be drafted outside of the top 20.

Nik Stauskas

If Bogdanovic is more like Roy, Stauskas is more like Manu Ginobili. Stauskas is the more skilled outside shooting prospect and he’s the more dynamic penetrator. In fact I rate Stauskas ability to penetrate as one of the best in the draft. He consistently drove into defenses that were well set and found his way behind the teeth of them, blowing by defenders and help defenders to finish. This is not only because of his strong ballhandling, but Stauskas is simply one of most underrated athletes in years, even showing explosive dunks, which although next to useless in evaluating a prospect, normally gets the attention of the media. Yes – I see explosive an athlete on offense as Ginobili was. If adding potentially standout penetrating to his likely elite outside shooting and standout passing skills for a SG, his offensive potential is enormous.

So why isn’t he rated 1st if he’s so offensively dynamic? He has a few weaknesses. His lateral mobility is below average for a 2 guard, while he has no better than average length or strength. Although he weighed slightly above average at the combine for a shooting guard prospect, he had surprising body fat %, so this could help explain that. All in all Stauskas is a below average defensive prospect and there’s a concern his strength could hurt him finishing at the basket. Finally, I consider Bogdanovic the more fluid and smooth player than Stauskas, who is still above average in the area but surpassed by a few.

A case can be made Stauskas is the most surefire NBA star of these 3 players. Embiid has the health concerns with his back and Bogdanovic has his European buyout as a minor issue, in addition to being drafted lower than the other players as a general disadvantage in regards to the developmental minutes and leash he’ll get in the league. With Stauskas his success to me seems practically in the bag.

Joel Embiid

My opinion of Embiid is largely similar to the masses. His defensive potential is extremely high because of his standout lateral mobility and length for his position, which should allow him to cover space on the ground and in the air defensively in a hurry. Offensively he has blow by athleticism against defenders and his footwork with his back to the basket can be exquisite. He’s one of the most fluid bigs in the class as well. The ability to anchor a defense, play in the post and drive to the basket could make him a huge impact player on both ends.

What is he missing? First, he weighs less than the average center despite being over 7 feet. There’s concerns he could struggle to hold position in the post or be scored on in the post defensively. Secondly his jumpshot range is still a work in progress. It can turn out to be great but it’s not a guarantee to. Embiid is probably a lock as a help defender, but as a man to man defender and as a scorer there’s a chance he’s good but not great. Still, the upside is enormous and if he stays healthy he has one of the highest floors, as he will produce at C.

What’s Embiid’s comparison? Many have been using Hakeem Olajuwon, but Hakeem is a smaller, more athletic body, in addition to more transcendent skill. Tim Duncan isn’t a great fit because he’s so much thicker. Personally I feel Brook Lopez and Pau Gasol are two of the closest in athleticism and strength level, while both are skilled players like Embiid. Embiid may end up more of a defensive presence than them, however. I feel the odds of him playing the 4 where he may be able to hold position in the post more, may be better than advertised. All in all, if the Cavaliers are going to pick one of him, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, they should clearly take Embiid if his health checks out.

As for the other two players, I would like to see Stauskas land in Charlotte, a team desperate for an offensive star and floor spacer and who have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to cover Stauskas defensive flaws. And Bogdanovic? If he falls to the Spurs at #30 and they take him, the league is in all kinds of trouble because the potential of the Bogdanovic and Kawhi combination could be obscene – I suspect Bogdanovic would end up the SF of the future, leaving Green at the 2 – and Leonard moves to PF, where his defensive tools and outside shot make him the perfect modern day spacing/defense PF, a position I’d suspect he’d have been playing already if the Spurs team needs weren’t different. Bogdanovic would provide a needed on ball creator/penetrator playing between those 2 players, while also matching up in fluidity, outside shooting, length, defensive quickness and ability to move the ball.

Written by jr.

June 15, 2014 at 12:57 am

Joel Embiid, Julius Randle and the valuing of length and strength

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Joel Embiid is expected to be drafted 1st or 2nd overall, while Randle is mocked at the 5th to 7th picks. These prospects have more in common than you may think. Both were rated as top 5 but not top 2 prospects coming into this college season, then had productive seasons on high profile college programs. Both have above average athleticism driving to the basket or playing above the rim, but not elite. Both have impress lateral mobility for their position. Both have fluidity and feel for the game. Both put up impress rebounding statistics this year. Both have standout footwork in the post, signifying back to the basket potential.

Where does Embiid separate himself? By conventional wisdom, it’s his length and position. Embiid reportedly measured at 7’1 in shoes, 7‘5.75 wingspan and 9‘5.5 standing reach at a workout, after missing the draft combine. The average NBA C judging by the Draftexpress combine database, is around 6’11 in shoes, 7’3 wingspan and 9’2 standing reach.

However these measurements were not as official as at the draft combine. Here are Embiid, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins comparisons of their workout and Hoop Summit measurements:

Embiid (Hoop Summit 2013): 7’0 in shoes, 7’5 wingspan, standing reach not measured

Embiid (workout): 7’1 in shoes, 7‘5.75 wingspan, 9‘5.5 standing reach.

Parker (Hoop Summit 2013): 6’8 in shoes, 7’0 wingspan, 8’8 standing reach

Parker (workout): 6’9 in shoes, 6‘11.75 wingspan, 8‘11.5 standing reach

Wiggins (Hoop Summit 2013): 6’8 in shoes, 7’0 wingspan, standing reach not measured

Wiggins (workout): 6‘8.75 in shoes, 7’0 wingspan, 8’11 standing reach

Judging by all three players measuring higher in shoes than at the Hoop Summit and how far up Parker’s standing reach leaped, I think it’s fair to treat Embiid’s 9‘5.5 standing reach estimate as overstated. A still well above average standing reach like 9‘3.5-9‘4.5 is more likely than 9‘5.5

Julius Randle measured 6’9 in shoes, 7’0 wingspan and 8‘9.5 standing reach. The average measurements for PF is around 6‘9.5 in shoes, 7’1 wingspan and 8’11 standing reach. Therefore Randle’s length disadvantage for a PF is about the same as Embiid’s advantage at C.

But their bodies are shaped differently in another way. Randle’s strength is one of his biggest advantages at PF, while Embiid is comparatively slender for a C. Randle measured 250 pounds at the combine, compared to average PF weight of 232. Embiid was 240 pounds at the Hoop Summit the last time he measured, compared to average C weight of 247 pounds. The differential in strength becomes more significant when realizing Embiid’s height for a C is taller than Randle’s vs the average PF, meaning Randle’s strength is more compact for his height than Embiid. Weight is not a perfect way to measure strength, but the eye test backs up Randle’s frame for his position is stronger than Embiid’s, especially in the lower body.

In a way, Embiid and Randle just have inverse physical tools. Similar athleticism, but Embiid has length substituted for Randle’s strength and vice-versa. Thus when judging Embiid vs Randle, we have a clash between the value of length and strength. Length has long been beloved among NBA teams by allowing a big to be a shotblocker/defensive anchor, considered a key on a championship team. But are we sure that length is more important than equal amounts of strength in the modern NBA?

For example, here are the top 20 PFs or Cs last season and my approximation descriptions of their strength and length level for their position:

1. PF Lebron James (29.90 PER): Solid length, Elite strength
2. PF Kevin Love (26.97): Below average length, Elite strength
3. PF Anthony Davis (26.54): Elite length, Below average strength
4. C DeMarcus Cousins (26.18): Elite length, Elite strength
5. C Brook Lopez (25.50): Elite length, solid strength
6. PF Carmelo Anthony (24.50): Solid length, Elite strength
7. PF Blake Griffin (23.98): Below average length, Elite strength
8. PF Dirk Nowitzki (23.68): Elite length, Solid strength
9. C Brandan Wright (23.60): Solid length, Below average strength
10. C Al Jefferson (22.75): Solid length, Elite strength
11. C Andre Drummond (22.65): Elite length, Elite strength
12. C Al Horford (22.08): Below average length, Great strength
13. PF LaMarcus Aldridge (21.84): Great length, Solid strength
14. C Tim Duncan (21.40): Elite length, Elite strength
15. C Dwight Howard (21.36): Elite length, Elite strength
16. C Nikola Pekovic (20.72): Solid length, Elite strength
17. C Joakim Noah (20.06): Below average length, Below average strength
18. PF Kenneth Faried (19.9): Solid length, Below average strength
19. PF Paul Millsap (19.83): Below average length, Great strength
20. PF Serge Ibaka (19.66): Elite length, Solid strength

Here are 10 other former all-star bigs I thought deserved mention:

C Pau Gasol (19.34): Elite length, Below average strength
PF David Lee (19.21): Solid length, solid strength
C Chris Bosh (19.11): Solid length, Below average strength
PF Zach Randolph (18.37): Below average length, elite strength
C Marc Gasol (18.27): Elite length, elite strength
PF David West (17.55): Solid length, elite strength
C Tyson Chandler (16.48): Elite length, Below average strength
C Andrew Bynum (15.25): Elite length, elite strength
C Roy Hibbert (13.54): Elite length, elite strength
C Kevin Garnett (13.35): Elite length, solid strength

Of those 30 players, there are 11 I listed as having more length than strength in Davis, Lopez, Nowitzki, Wright, Aldridge, Faried, Ibaka, Pau Gasol, Bosh, Chandler, Garnett. There are 10 players I listed as having more strength than length in Lebron, Love, Anthony, Griffin, Jefferson, Horford, Pekovic, Millsap, Randolph, West. There are 9 I gave about the same of each length and strength, good or bad, in Cousins, Drummond, Duncan, Howard, Noah, Lee, Marc Gasol, Bynum, Hibbert.

If one removes Lebron and Carmelo from the list as they were natural perimeter players and remove Wright because of his limited minutes-driven dubious inclusion, it leaves 10 length over strength players on the list and 8 strength over length ones.

Positionally, 13 of the 30 players are PF and 17 are C, however I’d claim 18 of the players (Love, Davis, Griffin, Nowitzki, Wright, Horford, Aldridge, Duncan, Faried, Millsap, Ibaka, Pau Gasol, Lee, Bosh, Randolph, West, Garnett) were drafted as PFs more than C.

Overall, I don’t see a reason to think length is a more valuable attribute than strength for big men in today’s game. Although length gives bigs a key skill in shotblocking, many of the most productive bigs in the game have had strength as their meal ticket instead of length, perhaps due to an inherent offensive advantage to strength compared to length. The “model” elite big men comes in various forms. Some great bigs like Davis, Lopez have more in common with Embiid than Randle, but others like Love and Griffin share a greater resemblance to Randle of the two. If accounting for the possibility Randle’s game doesn’t translate due to length but Embiid’s does, one also to consider the possibility Randle’s back to the basket game offense and rebounding translates better than Embiid’s because the latter can’t hold position as strongly due to his body.

As for the value of playing C, of the 8 last playoff teams (Miami, Brooklyn, Washington, Indiana, San Antonio, Portland, Oklahoma City, L.A. Clippers), here is how their starting bigs ranked in PER:

1. MIA PF Lebron James (29.40) (*Heat best player)
2. LAC PF Blake Griffin (23.98) (*Clippers 1st/2nd best player)
3. POR PF LaMarcus Aldridge (21.84) (*Blazers 1st/2nd best player)
4. SAS PF Tim Duncan (21.4) (*Spurs 1st/2nd best player)
5. OKC PF Serge Ibaka (19.66) (*Thunder 3rd best player)
6. MIA C Chris Bosh (19.11) (*Heat 3rd best player)
7. LAC C Deandre Jordan (18.19) (*Clippers 3rd best player)
8. POR C Robin Lopez (17.68) (*Blazers 3rd-5th best player)
9. IND PF David West (17.55) (*Pacers 2nd-4th best player)
10. BKN PF Paul Pierce (16.81) (*Nets 1st-3rd best player)
11. WAS PF Nene (16.67) (*Wizards 1st-4th best player)
12. SAS C Tiago Splitter (16.58) (*Spurs 4th-5th best player)
13. WAS C Marcin Gortat (17.66) (*Wizards 3rd-5th best player)
14. IND C Roy Hibbert (13.54) (*Pacers 2nd-5th best player)
15. BKN C Kevin Garnett (13.35) (*Nets 4th-5th best player)
16. OKC C Kendrick Perkins (6.32) (*Bottom 5 OKC player)

While PER is not the end-all for rating players and some players aren’t at their true position (ie James is an original SF, Duncan is effectively a C playing out of position, Bosh a PF playing out of position), certainly the message is clear. It’s not necessarily true that PFs are more important to contending caliber teams than C, but the assumption Cs are more important than PF, should be doubted. At least in 2014, power forwards are leading the teams and are more often top 2 players on the team. At the same time, more of the less important bigs on these teams are Cs.

I currently have Embiid 3rd and Randle 4th on my talent big board. Embiid may very well have a better career than Randle. There is many variables other than length or strength that will go into the success of either including athleticism, skill level, feel, or effort level where Embiid is as impressive as Randle if not more. But I don’t feel Embiid’s style of prospect being a long C instead of a shorter, strong PF is an advantage that will create this separation. Usually it’s not about what type of prospect you are, just how close you are to perfecting that style. Randle may very well end up better for his style of player, than Embiid for his.

Written by jr.

June 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Three potential draft steals – Russ Smith, Alec Brown, Isaiah Austin

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For fun today I wanted to talk about 3 prospects expected to be drafted outside of the top 40, who I have in my personal top 20. I may follow this up in upcoming days with the opposite, prospects rated in the top 20 by conventional wisdom, who are rated out of my top 40.

Here are 3 prospects I believe could be steals and have the talent to be starters in the NBA:

PG Russ Smith

Russ Smith is a college star everyone is well familiar with, but largely forgotten about as an NBA prospect. Smith’s main knock against him is his size, measuring with a 6’3 wingspan, 7’11 standing reach and 160 pounds at the combine. The average measurement for a PG who’s a top 30 prospect in Draftexpress’s database, is a 6’5 wingspan, 8‘0.6 standing reach and 184 pounds. So Smith both lacks length and frame for a point.

However Smith is otherwise a physically gifted PG. He’s one of the fastest athletes at PG in this draft, which with strong ballhandling skills allows him to drive into the paint. He also has strong lateral mobility defensively. Note that his lateral mobility will allow him to be a pest to make up for defensive concerns, while his speed will allow him to get by defenders and be a slasher even if finishing in the trees is hit and miss.

Other than that Smith’s perimeter game also has potential. He hit 38.7% from 3 on 6.7 attempts per 40 minutes this year, a high percentage and volume. Hitting only 70.5% from the FT line is a concern, though he shot a better % from the line his sophomore and junior seasons. Smith averaged 6.3 assists per 40 minutes which is a sign he could be a point at the next level.

Smith is also a relatively fluid and crafty player.

At PG I want a player who drives, shoots, makes decisions and defends and Smith may be able to be decent enough in all those areas to be a starting PG. On the downside the PG position is very competitive and if he’s a 2nd round or undrafted prospect, he’ll have to prove himself to get developmental minutes. However, Smith has an established name from his college career and seems built to stud out in the D League, so the chances will be there.

PF/C Alec Brown

I caught onto Alec Brown relatively late in the draft, however I’m very impressed by what I see. Brown is a classic stretch big prospect, as a 7 footer (7‘1.25 in shoes) who hit 44.6% from 3 on 3.4 attempts per game and 75.7% from the FT line, strong for a big. He is not only a 3 point shooter but looks comfortable in the midrange area thanks to his height shooting over opponents and he has a fluid craftiness and feel to his offensive game.

Brown has some strengths and weaknesses physically. With a 7‘1.5 wingspan and 9’1 standing reach and 231 pounds, if he plays power forward he’ll be a few inches longer by reach than the average PF, which is 8’11 on DX’s measurements, along with 7’1.2 wingspan and 232 pounds. Furthermore Brown has mobility and agility, showing the ability to niftily roll to the rim and should help him play pick and roll defense in the NBA. However, he’s also very skinny for his height, which appears to have hurt him in the rebounding department where he averaged just 7.1 boards per 40 minutes. It also makes it unlikely he’ll be posting up in the NBA.

Brown fits the modern NBA because having a PF or C who hits 3s and spaces the floor provides value to a team on its own. Over time more and more teams will have 3 point shooters in their frontcourt. It’s important that unlike some stretch bigs like Matt Bonner and Steve Novak, Brown isn’t *just* a spot up shooter, by having a unique combination of mobility and length for a 4, he could also see himself driving to the rim on close-outs and making a play here and there defensively. He could also turn into a midrange scoring option. If teams in the NBA take a WWSAD (What Would San Antonio Do), taking a skilled, high feel for the game player like Alec Brown to groom into a 3rd big or more, seems like a good idea to me.

PF/C Isaiah Austin

Another stretch big, Austin is not as good of a shooter as Alec Brown, with only 28.1% from 3 and 68.3% from the FT line this year. However, his skill game from midrange/the post is more refined and he’s one of the most fluid players in the class.

Like Brown, he has a worryingly skinny frame and rebounding statistics for a big, which may push him to PF where his lateral mobility could be mediocre. He measured just 220 pounds at the combine, compared to a 232 pound average at PF. However, physically what Austin really has going for him is his length. With a 9‘4.5 standing reach (7‘0.5 in shoes, 7‘4.5 wingspan), Austin’s reach is 5 inches taller than the average PF and 7 inches taller than some bigs like Paul Millsap. Even if he’s not moving the fastest defensively and is skinny, Austin’s length alone could present a unique addition to his team defensively, since very few 4s outside of Serge Ibaka block shots regularly.

At best, Austin could both space the floor and present defensive problems for the opponent, which is a sought after, starting caliber combination in this league. Austin however has a concern outside of his talent level, which is that he’s legally blind in one eye. I have no idea if this will affect his game a lot or none whatsoever, but it may cost him his future in the NBA if teams already rating him as a 2nd rounder, decide “I have 20 other players I like as much as him but without the eye problem, so I’ll just choose them” enough to push him out of the top 60 entirely. On the brightside there is a short supply of 7 footers so even if he lands undrafted he’ll get plenty of workout opportunity to make his way in.

Written by jr.

June 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm