A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Using stats to re-do Sam Hinkie’s draft picks

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Sam Hinkie has stepped down as GM of the 76ers after the Jerry Colangelo takeover had made him a lame duck. The philosophical merits of his plan can be debated, but for me it’s his drafting that wasn’t successful enough for ownership to keep faith in him. If he was going to put all his eggs in one basket in the draft he had to crush it more than he has.

I thought this would be an opportunity to test my draft statistical system to see if it can outperform his picks. My system is based on six categories in steals, blocks, rebounds, assists, freshman points and freshman TS% compared to a list of recent future stars at each position.

To restrict my picks to realism, I will use these rules: For every pick, I will reach down the draft no further than 2x that pick, according to mock drafts. Meaning with the 1st overall pick, I can only select among the top 2 players in mock drafts. With the 10th overall pick, the pool of players expands to everyone mocked top 20. And it means with the 30th pick, everyone in the top 60 is fair game. I thought this reflects reality as by the 2nd round nothing is really considered a risk. I give myself a little flexibility if the situation asks for it. For example if a player is only one pick from the cut-off but would easily have the best stats if he had made it, it may be justified to cheat by one spot and include him in the player pool

I will go through it draft by draft


Here are my stat’s ratings for NCAA 1st round picks:

SF Andre Roberson 1.294658275
PG Michael Carter-Williams 1.25
SG Victor Oladipo 1.201030928
PF Cody Zeller 1.170454545
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 1.154639175
C Nerlens Noel 1.129213483
PG Trey Burke 1.111702128
SF Otto Porter 1.065217391
C Steven Adams 1.056179775
SG Ben McLemore 1.051546392
SG Tim Hardaway, Jr. 1.030927835
C Gorgui Dieng 1.018386108
SG C.J. McCollum 1.005154639
SG Archie Goodwin 1.004119216
C Mason Plumlee 0.9965222044
PF Anthony Bennett 0.9772727273
PF Kelly Olynyk 0.9431818182
SF Reggie Bullock 0.9122113584
PG Shane Larkin 0.9057136717
C Alex Len 0.904494382
SG Tony Snell 0.7966260544
SF Solomon Hill 0.7808924485
SF Shabazz Muhammad 0.5869565217


International prospects in the 1st round include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lucas Nogueira, Dennis Schroeder, Sergey Karasev, Rudy Gobert, Livio Jean-Charles, Nemanja Nedovic. Since my system isn’t built to rate international players, my simplistic way of accounting for it is to treat it as if they have the median score of the above players, which in this case is 1.018. This gives them a limited upside, but it also allows them to avoid a poor rating.

Draftexpress has this as their last mocked top 30 in 2013:

  1. Nerlens Noel
  2. Victor Oladipo
  3. Otto Porter
  4. Alex Len
  5. Ben McLemore
  6. Trey Burke
  7. CJ McCollum
  8. Anthony Bennett
  9. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  10. Cody Zeller
  11. Steven Adams
  12. Kelly Olynyk
  13. Michael Carter-Williams
  14. Shane Larkin
  15. Sergey Karasev
  16. Dennis Schroeder
  17. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  18. Shabazz Muhammad
  19. Reggie Bullock
  20. Tim Hardaway, Jr.
  21. Lucas Nogueira
  22. Mason Plumlee
  23. Isaiah Canaan
  24. Jamaal Franklin
  25. Allen Crabbe
  26. Rudy Gobert
  27. Gorgui Dieng
  28. Jeff Withey
  29. Tony Mitchell
  30. Pierre Jackson

After trading Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia has the #6 and #11 pick. For the #6 pick, using my rule of 2x the draft position, this makes everyone in the top 12 on Draftexpress mock eligible except for Anthony Bennett, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Cody Zeller and Alex Len as they had been picked already. That leaves these players as options:

Nerlens Noel – 1.13

Ben McLemore – 1.05

Trey Burke – 1.11

C.J. McCollum – 1.01

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – 1.15

Steven Adams – 1.06

Kelly Olynyk – 0.94

Of those players Caldwell-Pope rates highest at 1.15. However Michael Carter-Williams at 1.25 would be easily the highest rating of that group and he just misses the cut-off as 13th on Draftexpress.com’s mock. Based on his numbers I feel justified stretching my rule here and taking the player just outside the cut-off in Carter-Williams. In this case since Caldwell-Pope is arguably the more valuable NBA player right now, it doesn’t benefit my system that I cheated to take Carter-Williams.

With the 6th overall pick the Philadelphia 76ers select PG Michael Carter-Williams

For the #11 pick the remaining player pool is

Steven Adams – 1.06

Kelly Olynyk – 0.94

Shane Larkin – 0.91

Sergey Karasev – Intl. (1.018)

Dennis Schroeder – Intl. (1.018)

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Intl. (1.018)

Shabazz Muhammad – 0.59

Reggie Bullock – 0.91

Tim Hardaway, Jr. – 1.03

Lucas Nogueira – Intl. (1.018)

However since I just picked a player in the top 10 in Carter-Williams that wasn’t there originally, it makes sense to bump the 10th overall pick C.J. McCollum down one spot and treat him as available at the 11th pick I feel. McCollum’s rating is 1.01

At 1.06 Steven Adams has the highest rating, followed by Hardaway at 1.03. This is also in range of the NCAA median and international prospects makeshift rating of 1.018. Ultimately while it would be nice to say my system picks Giannis or Gobert, at the time of the draft Steven Adams had a lot of what they did, as a physically gifted young talent but raw. When added to his positive numbers he is the pick.

With the 11th overall pick the Philadelphia 76ers select C Steven Adams

2014 Draft

Here are my ratings for the 2014 draft for 1st round NCAA prospects

C Joel Embiid 1.303370787
PG Marcus Smart 1.164893617
C Mitch McGary 1.153691814
SG Jordan Adams 1.103092784
PF Jabari Parker 1.102272727
PG Elfrid Payton 1.10106383
SG P.J. Hairston 1.089630869
PF Julius Randle 1.085227273
PF Noah Vonleh 1.079545455
SG Gary Harris 1.067010309
SG C.J. Wilcox 1.058380487
PG Tyler Ennis 1.007414571
PG Shabazz Napier 0.9788915987
SF Andrew Wiggins 0.9565217391
PF Kyle Anderson 0.9034090909
SG Zach LaVine 0.8969072165
SG Rodney Hood 0.8762886598
PF T.J. Warren 0.8693181818
SF Aaron Gordon 0.8586956522
SF Doug McDermott 0.8369565217
SF Josh Huestis 0.7839262187
SG Nik Stauskas 0.7474226804
PF Adreian Payne 0.7216494845
SF James Young 0.7173913043


The median of the above players is .993. The international prospects selected in Round 1 include Dante Exum, Dario Saric, Jusuf Nurkic, Bruno Caboclo, Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Here is Draftexpress.com’s last 1st round mock

  1. Andrew Wiggins
  2. Jabari Parker
  3. Joel Embiid
  4. Dante Exum
  5. Aaron Gordon
  6. Marcus Smart
  7. Julius Randle
  8. Elfrid Payton
  9. Doug McDermott
  10. Noah Vonleh
  11. Jusuf Nurkic
  12. Nik Stauskas
  13. Zach LaVine
  14. TJ Warren
  15. Dario Saric
  16. Rodney Hood
  17. Gary Harris
  18. Adreian Payne
  19. Shabazz Napier
  20. Tyler Ennis
  21. Mitch McGary
  22. Clint Capela
  23. Jordan Adams
  24. J. Hairston
  25. James Young
  26. Jarnell Stokes
  27. Glenn Robinson
  28. Kyle Anderson
  29. Spencer Dinwiddie
  30. Bogdan Bogdanovic

With Philadelphia’s 3rd overall pick the pool of players to pick from:

Joel Embiid – 1.30

Dante Exum – Intl. (.993)

Aaron Gordon – 0.86

Marcus Smart – 1.16

Clearly this is a tough call to make, especially without the access to medical reports the Sixers had at the time. The next closest player Smart is both behind him by a wide margin and doesn’t fit the Sixers at all with their rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams profile. The Sixers have another lottery pick to help stomach the wait for Embiid and Steven Adams as insurance at C. Unless his reports were truly dire, I feel this pick is Embiid.

With the 3rd overall pick, the Philadelphia 76ers select C Joel Embiid

The Sixers started with the 10th pick but traded back to 12 to take Dario Saric. Since they were likely just moving back to take the player they wanted anyways, I’ll treat it as if I’m keeping 10. The player pool for this pick is

Elfrid Payton – 1.10

Doug McDermott – 0.84

Jusuf Nurkic – Intl. (.993)

Zach LaVine – 0.90

T.J. Warren – 0.87

Dario Saric – Intl. (.993)

Rodney Hood – 0.88

Gary Harris – 1.07

Adreian Payne – 0.72

Shabazz Napier – 0.98

Tyler Ennis – 1.01

Mitch McGary – 1.15

The highest rating of those players is McGary at 1.15 however this is based off a just under 200 minute season with his injury shut down. Furthermore he’s a bad fit on the Sixers as they just drafted 2 lotto Cs in Adams and Embiid and don’t need to take another injured player after the latter.

Next is Elfrid Payton at 1.10, but he’s an impossible fit playing with Michael Carter-Williams unless they’re willing to trade him. Jordan Adams is at 1.10 but as the 23rd mocked player is 2 spots outside of the cut-off, and only marginally ahead of Gary Harris at 1.07. With a much smaller gap between them and 2 picks out, I don’t see the same justification to cheat as I did for Carter-Williams.

I feel the pick is between Payton despite the poor fit or taking Harris. Based on a relatively small difference between them in the numbers, I believe the fit of Harris as a 3pt shooting wing beside Carter-Williams is worth giving him the edge.

With the 10th overall pick (or 12th), the Philadelphia 76ers select SG Gary Harris.

2015 draft

Here are the 1st round NCAA players ratings

R.J. Hunter 1.271714892
D’Angelo Russell 1.223404255
Delon Wright 1.207446809
Karl-Anthony Towns 1.202247191
Justise Winslow 1.173913043
Cameron Payne 1.170212766
Bobby Portis 1.0625
Kelly Oubre 1.054347826
Stanley Johnson 1.02173913
Myles Turner 1.011235955
Kevon Looney 1.002130944
Jerian Grant 0.9948420374
Justin Anderson 0.9810531764
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 0.9782608696
Terry Rozier 0.9771946267
Jarell Martin 0.9635980339
Chris McCullough 0.9592484569
Willie Cauley-Stein 0.9438202247
Jahlil Okafor 0.9269662921
Tyus Jones 0.9091890225
Frank Kaminsky 0.8806818182
Larry Nance 0.8567821068
Trey Lyles 0.8465909091
Rashad Vaughn 0.8456596444
Sam Dekker 0.7143552943
Devin Booker 0.6649484536


The median is about .979. The international players in the 1st are Kristaps Porzingis, Mario Hezonja, Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Milutoniv.

Draftexpress.com’s mock draft for 2015

  1. Karl Towns
  2. Jahlil Okafor
  3. D’Angelo Russell
  4. Kristaps Porzingis
  5. Mario Hezonja
  6. Justise Winslow
  7. Emmanuel Mudiay
  8. Stanley Johnson
  9. Frank Kaminsky
  10. Cameron Payne
  11. Myles Turner
  12. Trey Lyles
  13. Devin Booker
  14. Willie Cauley-Stein
  15. Kelly Oubre
  16. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  17. Bobby Portis
  18. Tyus Jones
  19. Jerian Grant
  20. Sam Dekker
  21. Delon Wright
  22. Rashad Vaughn
  23. J. Hunter
  24. Montrezl Harrell
  25. Jarell Martin
  26. Justin Anderson
  27. Kevon Looney
  28. Cliff Alexander
  29. Chris McCullough
  30. Terry Rozier

For Sixers 3rd pick, their player pool is

Jahlil Okafor – 0.93

Kristaps Porzingis – Intl. (.979)

Mario Hezonja – Intl. (.979)

Justise Winslow – 1.17

This one is the easiest pick. Okafor’s numbers are below average and Porzingis and Hezonja are international players, while Winslow has excellent numbers. If one came up with a system reliably projecting Porzingis stats it could be a competiton, but I’ll go with Winslow here.

With the 3rd overall pick, the 76ers select SF Justise Winslow.

In the end the Hinkie Sixers got Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor. My team got Michael Carter-Williams, Steven Adams, Joel Embiid, Gary Harris, Justise Winslow. I would say my system did no better. Adams is a productive young big but Noel has potential to pass him going forward. I prefer having the bird in the hand in Harris than two in the bush in Saric. Okafor scored more than Winslow did, but Winslow is playing an important role on a good team and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he ended up having a better career.

To make Hinkie’s draft record a home run you probably needed the international prospects like Giannis and Porzingis, and I can’t say my system was set up to do that, nor perhaps could anybody’s.


Written by jr.

April 7, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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