A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Archive for the ‘NBA Draft’ Category

NBA Draft top 30 prospects – 2017

leave a comment »

011717joshjackson

 

I am using a slightly modified system compared to last year. My 3 steps to evaluate players skills in different areas are:

  • Overall statistical rating: This favors players with all around stats, such as steals, blocks, assists, etc. The results are fairly typical compared to virtually every other draft analytics blogger. For international players I find PER to have had useful results in recent drafts.
  • What categories the player excelled in vs his college conference or international competition
  • Whether they have NBA caliber tools in that category

The rare perfect skill hits all 3. For example last year Ben Simmons was in my top 5 overall statistical performers, dominated assists and free throw attempts at a generational level for a PF prospect and had the athletic, height, ballhandling, etc. tools to back up his passing and free throw line drawing success at the college level. In the past the same would’ve been true of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s shooting.

Unfortunately the vast majority of skills do not reach that perfection, so it’s varying degrees of flawed from there. Hitting 2 of 3 at an “A” level and one at a “B” level makes them elite in the category, being A level in one but B level in the other two would be great in the category but not elite, and so forth. Using this I then look at the players overall skillset and make a determination of how they rank. I adjust for how offense is more valuable at smaller positions and defense at bigger positions, using ORPM and DRPM as a guide.

1. SF/PF Josh Jackson

Jackson rates as an elite defensive prospect at a big wing or smallball four position where defense can be quite valuable as seen by the last two DPOYs won by Kawhi Leonard. His athleticism, intensity and steal, rebound and block rates contribute to this. Offensively he is not perfect but is still a quality prospect. His passing numbers were strong for a wing and rates as one of the most high volume shot creators in the class for his age. He got to the line enough that combined with his explosiveness is a great slashing prospect. Jackson’s main problem is his 3pt shooting which with a 57% FT has potential to be terrible 3pt shooter in the NBA, even though he hit 38% 3pt. If Jackson is a poor enough shooter it could force him to he PF spot. Although Jackson is a good not great offensive prospect when added to a baseline of potentially elite defensive value it was enough for him to get the #1 spot for me. 

2. C Anzejs Pasecniks

I rate Pasecniks as being an over 20 PER rotation player in the ACB as more impressive than any production feat an NCAA prospect has right now. At a closer level to the pros, he’s already shown he can be a good player. Pasecniks follows in the footsteps in numbers-friendly European center prospects lately such as Jokic, Gobert, Nurkic, Capela, Porzingis, Valanciunas. His best skill rates as defense to me, as he is the 3rd best shotblocker per minute in the ACB, although he struggles a little with rebounding and physicality. He has a reported 7’6 wingspan and great lateral mobility. He is not quite a Gobert level defensive prospect, but considering position rates as the best defensive prospect in the draft for me. Offensively he doesn’t have an elite skill, but has quality driving ability shown by his free throw rate and athleticism, and has the potential to develop a perimeter shooting game. Passing is one of his biggest flaws.

3. PG Jawun Evans

Evans is a complete offensive prospect. His best category rates as passing for me, where he averaged Ball-like Ast/40 although with less height and taking more shots to do it. Evans projects as a strong 3pt shooter, got to the line at an above average rate, was one of the highest volume shot takers in the class (His Pts/40 is Fultz-like) and was a ball thief. While he is a good not great athlete I project him as an above average slasher. Two of his biggest questions are finishing at the rim and defense as is typical for undersized PGs, but in the modern game and success of players smaller than him like Isaiah Thomas and Kemba Walker, there’s no need to overreact anymore to small PGs not being able to play. He should be a great fit in the modern pick and roll game with his ability to pass, shoot and drive.

4. PF Lonzo Ball

Ball is somewhat complicated to rate. His passing and decision rates as the best skills in the draft to me. If you had to pick anyone to be historically good at something in this draft, it would be Ball at passing. He is a good rebounder, then the rest of his game is pretty meh. His FT% and weird jumpshot brings some concern about 3pt shooting at next level, he didn’t get to the line or create his own shot the best in college and his defense projects as solid but not above average. I’m also slightly concerned about putting up stats in a transition heavy system. Not because of inflation but because the NBA is a halfcourt game, you can’t build around Ball’s transition play. If he failed Ball would be kind of the NBA’s Manziel or Tebow who played non-pro college football systems, while his halfcourt weaknesses exposed in the NBA would be like theirs as pocket passers. That’s before mentioning his father.

But if he’s transcendent at the one thing he’s good at it, it could make him a better pick than players who are good to great at more things. So I guess he goes here.

5. PG Dennis Smith, Jr.

Smith has dynamic strengths. His ability to get to the line combined with being arguably the most explosive athlete in the draft makes him a high upside slasher. He has one of the best assist rates after Ball and Evans and projects to be an above average 3pt shooter. However there are concerns about his defensive effort, basketball IQ and overall intangibles. That has been dangerous warning signs in the past, but in this case the speed and skill is so great that one has to take the chance to get star potential.

6. PF/C Cameron Oliver

Oliver has the combination every team is looking for nowadays, he’s a big man with 3pt range who had one of the best block rates of all these prospects. In addition to his shooting and defense, his shot creation volume rated well for a sophomore. His ability to get to the line was worryingly poor, he wasn’t a great passer and there are concerns about his intangibles. Nonetheless an athletic big with his floor spacing and defensive potential is a valuable pick. Unlike a lot of other numbers sleepers who come with the caveat of being seniors, this guy is only 20. (Well, he turns 21 on July 11th)

7. PF/C Mathias Lessort

Like Pasecniks, Lessort following in the successful footsteps of highly productive European big prospect is a good sign. Specifically Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela. In their draft years in French Pro A, Gobert had 21.7 PER and Capela 23.9, while Lessort has 21.8. Compared to them Lessort isn’t as much as a shotblocking threat and has more of a Tristan Thompson like game and body. Offensive rebounding is his biggest strength, while he has the athleticism and track record getting to the line to project well attacking the basket. Defensively he has potential as a lateral mobility driven defender.

8. SG Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell is one of the best 3 and D prospects in the draft. He is one of the best wing defenders based on his college play and physical tools, while his 35% 3pt/80% FT makes him a good outside shooting prospect. He is not a great shot creating prospect, I question whether his qualty passing numbers can translate if he’s not dribbling in the NBA, and his basketball IQ is reportedly a concern, but the defensive and shooting combination is highly interesting in the modern game and gives him “role player star” upside.

9. PG/SG Markelle Fultz

The one area of the game Fultz rated as elite for me was shot creation volume for his age. Even when you take into account having no talent as teammates, the amount of shots he took for a freshman was pretty ungodly. His shooting is good not great when taking into account his FT%, likewise his passing is solid but not elite. Intensity is a question when it comes to defense and when it comes to getting to the line, without being an elite athlete I can’t rate him as elite there. Last year I thought Ingram was a player who didn’t do anything exceptional in college except shoot a high volume of shots. Fultz is a better prospect than him, but I have similar concern. I will say that if he does come in on the high end as a shooter or driver, that combined with his shot creation skills could give him a quality combination of offensive weapons. I still think Fultz can have a quality career, but I would bet on him becoming a Rudy Gay/Andrew Wiggins/Harrison Barnes of guards (20 point ability, well paid career, impact doesn’t come together) before I would a superstar.

10. SF Jayson Tatum

Tatum’s profile is somewhat similar to Fultz. His one elite skill is shot creation, while the rest of his projection is somewhat middling. He he is a good but not great passer, and is a decent enough at getting to the line but a non elite athlete when it comes to NBA slashing. He appears to be a decent decision maker and is an average defensive prospect. I’m going to give Tatum a little benefit of the doubt and rank him higher than I would have, for coming back from injury. If he played the whole season healthy his stats may have been higher.

11. PG De’Aaron Fox

Fox has great athleticism and got to the FT line at a great rate, showing his upside as a driver in the NBA. He is also a shot creator. Fox is a worrying non shooting PG in the modern game and was not a great passer. However I see upside because with his 73.6% FT there’s at least a chance he surprises as a shooter which would clear up the biggest problems in his game. With Fox’s athletic tools if he can improve as a skill player there is a lot of upside there so I didn’t want to rank him too low.

12. SF/PF OG Anunoby

Anunoby rates as a defense only prospect for me, but on that end he is one of the best in the draft. He had great steal and block rates and has the length and lateral mobility to be a great defensive PF in the modern game, which it helps is a high value defensive position. He was a decent passer for his role. His shooting is a major concern along with shot creation.

13. PF Jordan Bell

While Bell is somewhat stuck between positions defensively, his great block and steal rates combined with athleticism make him a quality prospect on that end. For a low volume scorer his passing rate was very good, while he has potential to attack the basket with his physical tools.

14. PF T.J. Leaf

Leaf’s offensive resume is strong. His shooting, passing, decision making and shot creation all rated fairly highly for me based on his UCLA numbers and he was a solid rebounder, while his ability to get to the line and defense as major concerns. Like Ball there’s some concern about whether his game fits a transition system more than halfcourt but his skill level has a likely place in the game.

15. SG Sindarious Thornwell

Thornwell isn’t an elite prospect in any area but his defense, shooting and decision making is all well above average, while his passing and ability to drive is decent. He is an average shot creation talent and isn’t quite guaranteed to do anything, but overall is a solid 3 and D potential at the next level.

16. C Thomas Bryant

Bryant has both the size and shotblocking to have defensive potential and 3pt shooting potential. However he is decent, not great in both areas and isn’t a guarantee. Still, the upside he can put both skills together is an appealing upside.

17. SF/PF Jonathan Isaac

Isaac is a great defensive wing going by his steal and block rates and physical tools, however his offense does not project as all that impressive for me. He is a non shot creation wing and his shooting, slashing and passing only rates as average. Still, the 3 and D upside is quite solid.

18. SG Jajuan Johnson

Johnson was a great 3pt shooter in college who has the length to be a good defender. He does not rate as a strong shot creator and while he passed at a high level (over 4 assists per 40) whether he has the ball enough to take advantage of it is unclear. He is also 23 and being older than seniors is unpredictable. Nevertheless with value is thin at this stage of the draft, his shooting, passing and defense makes him a plausible enough 3 and D threat at the next level.

19. PG Monte Morris

Morris projects as having a great basketball IQ and passing ability, along with above average shooting. He is a mediocre defensive prospect, below average shot creator and got to the line a worryingly little amount of time in college. Nevertheless his skill level and IQ could give him a spot.

20. PF Aleksander Vezenkov

Vezenkov is this year’s Juan Hernangomez, he is producing in the ACB and is a great 3pt shooting prospect which could give him value as a stretch shooter in the modern game. Although he’s pretty one dimensonal on offense and rates as a below average defender. At this stage being great at one thing means more than being 6 out of 10 at everything.

21. PF Tyler Lydon

Like Vezenkov, Lydon’s pro game is built around being a 3pt shooter and high IQ player. He is not as strong a 3pt shooter, but could be a decent defender. His ability to get to the line and shot creation is an issue.

22. PF/C Zach Collins

Collins rates as a quality offensive big with his ability to get to the FT line, shooting potential and decision making. He is a strong rebounder. His passing is worrying and his defense could be only ok due to physical tools, but the offense makes him worth it.

23. PF/C Ivan Rabb

Rabb was one of the best in the draft in one statistical category, his free throw rate compared to field goals attempted. That combined with a strong offensive rebound rate could show he’s a player who can attack the basket. The rest of his game is fairly vanilla as neither a dominant physical player or a perimeter shooter, but at this stage doing one thing at an elite level is enough to get my attention. Rabb could potentially be a decent defensive player as well with his lateral mobility and size.

24. SG Malik Monk

My model said to rank Monk out of the top 30, but I’ll put him this high out of fear of the “Devin Booker” effect. Booker at Kentucky didn’t get to use his full arsenel of dribble drive and passing skills, likewise it’s possible that playing as off ball SG beside Fox limited what Monk could show.

Otherwise his numbers are scary. He has poor defensive stats and tools and brutal rebounding, below average at getting to the line for his shot volume, and was not much of a passer. He had a great shooting season but there’s been countless great NCAA shooters over the years and only so many of them have good NBA careers for a reason, because predicting shooting to the pros like all skills is an indirect translation.

25. PF John Collins

Collins was an exceptional rebounder and got to the FT line at an elite rate, however neither his passing, defensive stats or shooting numbers were impressive and physically he appears to be stuck between PF and C a bit. Like Rabb the ability to get to the line and offensive glass may be a foundation of his game.

26. C Justin Patton

Patton has a quality combination of size, athleticism and blocked shots which should give him potential on the defensive end. Offensively he has a lot to improve skill wise but a young big with physical tools looks fine here.

27. SF/PF Deonte Burton

Burton has a great combination of power and athleticism. While he’s not that long, strong steal and block rates should give him defensive potential and he has 3pt range, which could make him a mismatch at PF. Being 23 hurts him, if not for the extra unpredictability factor of how few prospects have been older than 22 as prospects, he would’ve rated in my 15.

28. SG Wesley Iwundu

Iwundu is a long armed athlete who can shoot 3s and has solid passing ability. His steal and block rates and 3pt shooting are both good more than great, but he still projects as having 3 and D upside.

29. SG L.J. Peak

Peak’s biggest strength in college was getting to the FT line, while not a hugely explosive athlete he may be able to drive in the pros. He showed the ability to pass for a shooting guard prospect. His FT% being just under 80% shows some shooting potential as well. Peak has bigger strengths as an on ball than off ball player when it may be preferable to be an off ball player as a supporting player, but nevertheless he is a solid all around wing.

30. SF Justin Jackson

Projects as high IQ professional who can pass and have a chance (But isn’t a guarantee) to be a good 3pt shooter. Defense and shot creation is a concern. My #31 is Josh Hart, who more or less has the same projection.

Notable players not in top 30:

Jacob Wiley: The closest omission after Hart, Wiley dominated against mid major competition, he had great defensive stats but it’s unclear whether those will translate for physical tools reasons. One of his biggest assets is potential to shoot from a big man position.

Lauri Markkanen, Luke Kennard: Both players bomb the “overall statistical” rating part of my model due to poor defensive stats or passing combination so they got off on the wrong foot. Because of that they only rate as decent shooting prospects overall (as mentioned for Monk there’s a reason there are many more 40% 3pt shooters in college than NBA) and mediocre to awful at everything else.

Bam Adebayo, Ike Anigbogu: Both do one thing exceptionally well in college, Bam getting to the FT line and Anigbogu blocking shots. But like Markkanen and Kennard players who start with a poor overall statistical rating, even if they’re otherwise exceptional in a skill like shooting, blocks or getting to the line, end up projecting as only decent in the area for me and they lack the other versatility to rank as top 30 players.

Frank Ntilikina, Terrance Ferguson, Isaiah Hartenstein: For the same reason numbers driven reasons I’m high on prospects like Pasecniks or Lessort I’m low on these internationals. Ntilikina has an 11.9 PER on his French Pro A team which ranks 9th among his teammates, while he plays a different position this greatly trails the productivity of successful players like Gobert and Capela from that league recently. I just need to see more excellence at a lower level than that based on the recent internationals who’ve succeeded, even if Frank has quality size and shooting potential. Harteinstein is also 8th on his team in PER (17.5) in the LKL which a recent prospect in Valanciunas dominated and his style of big center who plays near the basket is going out of fashion nowadays and his game appears to be somewhat limited outside of size. Ferguson however is the king of 1st round projected internationals with bad stats. He has 5.4 PER in the Australian league and doesn’t appear to be good at anything.

Harry Giles: I understand Giles was recovering from injury, but with numbers being the starting point for my board, he just didn’t do much outside of rebounding and I’ve yet to see the great evidence for his supposed star talent.

Written by jr.

June 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Drafting Skal Labissiere in the lottery is (probably) a bad idea

leave a comment »

After being ranked #1 over Ben Simmons by Draftexpress before the season, Skal’s season went as badly as it could but based on his athleticism, length and potential to shoot has maintained enough pedigree to be projected as a fringe top 10 pick.

While everyone should agree there’s a chance Skal is out of the league in 3 or 4 years, the thought is the way to win is to draft stars so the risk is worth it especially in a league increasingly moving towards defensive anchors who shoot 3s.

I’m not buying it.

To start with the statistical warning signs, here’s a sample of the best PFs of this generation: Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, Lamarcus Aldridge, Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, Carlos Boozer, David West. In their draft year the lowest steal rate of the group is Love’s 0.9 per 40 minutes. Skal had 0.6. The lowest rebound of the group is Aldridge’s 10.9 per 40. Skal did 8.0. The lowest assist rate is Aldridge’s 0.6, an anomaly considering 2nd lowest is Boozer’s 1.2. Skal did 0.8. The lowest TS% of the group is Green’s .54, with nobody else below .59. Skal did .54. Skal was ranked 7th in WS on his own team. Every one of those PFs were 1st on their team.

For Skal to become a star he has to become a statistical anomaly compared to recent PFs by having the lowest steal and rebound bar none of the group, tying for the lowest TS% and having an assist rate far below everyone but one player. In addition to being the worst player of the group in college by miles and away.

Can Skal become a star – Sure. A sample size of 9 PFs doesn’t mean that the 10th can’t follow a pathway totally unique to them and aberrations happen. Andre Drummond is the best parable for Skal as a player considered a soft under performer and risky at the time. Compared to DeMarcus Cousins, Al Horford, Brook Lopez, Deandre Jordan, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joakim Noah, UConn Drummond has the lowest assist, points and TS% rate. To use an example at another position, if compared to a list of James Harden, Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, C.J. McCollum, Wesley Matthews, Kevin Martin, Brandon Roy, DeMar Derozan at USC would have the lowest steal and assist rate of the group outright and tied for the lowest blocks. Both showed sometimes taking an athletic project works out. Zach LaVine was 6th on his team in Win Shares, and would ranked last on that SG list in rebounds and blocks. While not a star yet, Minnesota is happy with their pick so far.

Here’s the problem: Skal having some fractional chance of breaking the statistical odds to become a star doesn’t separate him from the alternatives at his pick as much as it seems.  Picks like Skal get made as if it’s a league where half the stars in the league were Derozan and Drummond athletic projects, while every team who takes an old polished prospect pays the price of never getting one. That just isn’t the case. The list of college projects who became all-stars almost ends at Derozan and Drummond (who aren’t even THAT amazing, by the way). Meanwhile take a look at the top 10 in MVP voting this year:

Stephen Curry – 7th pick in a then considered weak draft. Older but productive prospect with average physical tools.

Kawhi Leonard – 15th pick in a then considered weak draft, expected to be a defensive role player due to lack of shooting and creating ability

Lebron James – 1st overall, Expected to be the heir of the league since high school

Russell Westbrook – 4th pick in a great draft, success story for the raw athletic tools pick.

Kevin Durant – 2nd pick, expected superstar after all time freshman season

Chris Paul – 4th pick, size and personality scared some teams off but in contention for 1st pick and not a surprise he became a star

Draymond Green – 35th pick, great college season but old and considered low upside due to physical tools

Damian Lillard – 6th pick, older prospect from a small conference, although picked to have all-star upside at the time

James Harden – 3rd pick in a weak draft at the time, with considered average athleticism, not expected to have the upside he’s on on to have

Kyle Lowry – 24th pick, expected to be a defense first player

Some of the top rated stars in the league who didn’t finish top 10:

Anthony Davis – 1st overall pick, expected superstar

Klay Thompson – 11th pick in a rated weak draft, older prospect expected to shoot and defend but has beaten expectations

Jimmy Butler – 30th pick, old polished wing not expected to be elite on either end

Paul George – 10th pick, toolsy athletic shooting and defender, although productive on his small conference team

DeMarcus Cousins – 5th pick, considered a superstar talent but mental loose cannon

Blake Griffin – 1st pick, considered star upside

None of those players were the type of ultra project that Skal or LaVine were. Westbrook and George are two nice examples of toolsy upside picks that worked, but didn’t reach Skal’s statistical nadirs.

But even when counting them, they’re outnumbered by low upside draftees that became stars: Curry, Kawhi, Draymond, Klay, Lowry, etc.

What this suggests it that sure Skal may be the next Derozan or Drummond, but does he have a better chance at that then Taurean Prince, older defensive with with multiple solid offensive skills but no elite one, being the next Jimmy Butler who fell to 30th for the same reasons? Would Wade Baldwin being a star be more surprising than Kawhi was at the time? Baldwin has the length of a SF (6’11 wingspan) and weight of a SG (202 pounds) and has some holes in his offensive game, while Kawhi had the length of a center (7’3 wingspan) and weight of a PF (227 pounds) and had some holes.

You can do this for most prospects in the 1st round. What it reveals is that the idea that only Skal has all-star upside and everyone else is capped out a role player is a house of cards. The evidence against it is simply comparing the lengthy list of all-stars who started out in the shoes of mid-late 1sts like Baldwin, Prince, Domantas Sabonis, etc. with productive college careers but rated by scouts as having middling upside, vs the amount who started out in the shoes of Skal of weak production that went on to do become a star. There’s been too many breakout stars from the former type of group compared to the latter, to act like Skal is the only one who has a pathway to stardom in front of them. The opposite is closer to being true. Based on the statistical record, while it could happen, a project of Skal’s status becoming a star would be more unique and more of an aberration than a player like Baldwin. There’s a reason why Skal’s Win Shares rank compared to his team, steals, rebounds, assists, TS% looks so bad compared to Davis, Griffin, Bosh, Green, Love, Aldridge, Favors, Millsap, Boozer, West. Because of none of those PFs were a project like him in college. That shows why Skal would be following a rare pathway to being a star PF.

 

Written by jr.

June 9, 2016 at 5:06 pm

Who will win 2014-2015 NBA rookie of the year?

with 2 comments

While I’m more attracted to picking out the long term success of an NBA player than their rookie seasons, this year I thought I’d take a stab at predicting Rookie of the Year:

First, let’s look at the last 10 rookies of the year:

2013-2014 – PG Michael Carter-Williams
2012-2013 – PG Damian Lillard
2011-2012 – PG Kyrie Irving
2010-2011 – PF Blake Griffin
2009-2010 – PG/SG Tyreke Evans
2008-2009 – PG Derrick Rose
2007-2008 – SF Kevin Durant
2006-2007 – PG Brandon Roy
2005-2006 – PG Chris Paul
2004-2005 – PF/C Emeka Okafor

How voters pick these winners isn’t a secret. Of the above 10 names, Okafor, Paul, Roy, Durant, Rose, Evans, Griffin, Irving, Lillard and Carter-Williams all led rookies in points per game, while Rose finished 2nd behind O.J. Mayo’s points per game in 2008. (Okafor tied with Ben Gordon at 15.1ppg, but my manual calculation has Okafor fractions ahead)

To put up a high points per game, players need the minutes and touches and to emerge as a team star quickly. Of course, talent and being a strong long term prospect is also a huge help.

First, here are the top 10 2014 draft picks on my mixed model draft board expected to have full NBA seasons next year:

2. SG Nik Stauskas
3. PF Julius Randle
4. PF Noah Vonleh
5. SG Jordan Adams
7. PF Jabari Parker
8. PG Shabazz Napier
10. SF Doug McDermott
12. PF Aaron Gordon
13. SF T.J. Warren
14. PG/SG Marcus Smart

(6. SG Bogdan Bogdanovic, 9. PF Dario Saric were removed because they will play overseas next season, 1. C Joel Embiid 11. SG Spencer Dinwiddie were removed due to injury)

Nerlens Noel and Nikola Mirotic are also eligible for rookie of the year next year, I’ll discuss them later in the post.

If I’m confident in my draft rankings I should believe one of those ten players will win rookie of the year, if a prospect from the 2014 draft wins. Here’s my ranking from 10 to 1 of those players, in order of how likely I feel they are to win.

“Forget about it”

10. PF Noah Vonleh

Vonleh will fight to get minutes over two young bigs in Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, along with Marvin Williams who fills a veteran stretch PF need beside Al Jefferson. In addition the Hornets have their hands full with possession users in Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson. This isn’t your rookie scoring leader.

9. PG Shabazz Napier

The Heat will still be committing a ton of possessions to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng, plus Napier has two PGs in front of him in Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, so he may not play period. Although he’s the type of shot creating, high possession-guard who’s done well in rookie seasons lately, only conceivable path for him to get into this race is if Wade’s season falls apart due to injury.

In reality Vonleh and Napier are worse than the 9th and 10th most likely rookie of the year winners, with other prospects like Dante Exum, Andrew Wiggins and Nerlens Noel having more friendly possession using situations.

“Probably too good of a team”

8. SG Jordan Adams

The Grizzlies need a player like Adams, who’s shooting and ability to drive to the basket is badly needed at SG or SF. With a very productive college career and nice summer league, it’s possible he jumps out to a high minutes per game role. With that said the Grizzlies offense will still look to Mike Conley, Jr., Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol first and Vince Carter could fill their offensive needs before Adams does. ROYs coming on great teams picking late in the 1st round just doesn’t happen.

7. SF Doug McDermott

Like the Grizzlies, the Bulls are a defense first team which allows an offensive upgrade to be important early. There’s also the unfortunate chance that Rose’s health could fall apart again, creating a vacuum for offensive usage. So McDermott could find himself important on the Bulls. But the most likely situation is he gets used as a spot up and spacing shooter early in his career like how the Bulls used to play Kyle Korver. McDermott would likely need to be more of a shot-creator to be the rookie scoring leader and rookie of the year.

“Right place, wrong player?”

6. PF Aaron Gordon

Orlando is the type of young, expected to flounder team made for rookie of the years. But Gordon was known as one of the worst offensive players coming into this draft and in summer league was a raw project. Orlando also has another rookie in Elfrid Payton who’ll get the ball, along with other young players like Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris to feed. Even if Gordon has a surprisingly great rookie season it’s likely to look like either Kenneth Faried or Kawhi Leonard’s in 2011, both of whom lost to a classic high scoring rookie candidate in Kyrie Irving.

5. PG/SG Marcus Smart

Smart fits the profile of some rookie of the year guards lately, most notably, the defending belt holder Michael Carter-Williams who similarly was a big, defensive guard with shooting problems. If he can handle the possessions, Boston will give it to him, despite playing beside Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. It’s also conceivable Rondo is traded, opening up the minutes for Smart. Despite looking like Carter-Williams and Oladipo, there’s a difference between leading rookies in scoring in 2013-2014 and winning it in 2014-2015. There’s only so high Smart’s points per game will be this year especially if getting pushed out of position by Rajon Rondo for at least half the season. Furthermore Smart only ranked 14th on my mixed model big board so it’s already borderline whether I like him enough as a prospect to put him in the mix.

“The dark horse”

4. SF/PF T.J. Warren

The rarity of Warren’s 24.9ppg season in the NCAA for a major conference college sophomore was relatively understated and he continued to score at a similar per 36 minutes in summer league. Removing a 7 minute game, in the other 4 games he averaged 21.25 points in 29 minutes per game. Warren gets buckets.

With that said, he’s on my 13th on mixed model big board which is a little low to predict rookie of the year and the Suns aren’t chopped liver as a team. Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe presuming he’s still under contract long term or short term and Isaiah Thomas, will take a lot of scoring possessions. Although the Suns aren’t stacked at SF which seems Warren’s most likely position, a floor spacer like P.J. Tucker fits their progressive offensive style more than Warren. Warren’s lack of shooting is likely to bother the Suns as much as anyone, which is why it’s surprising they took him. It’ll still be hard for Warren get a big minutes and shots role immediately to lead rookies in scoring.

With that said, all Warren has done is prove he’s great at scoring compared to his peers and if Rookie of the Year almost solely gets voted on PPG, he’s worth the consideration.

“The favorites”

3. PF Jabari Parker

Parker is the Vegas-odds favorite to win rookie of the year. He has a history of high volume scoring in college and high school and Milwaukee is a perfect rookie of the year situation, as they’ll come into the year planning for Jabari to be their #1 possessions option and will give him all the minutes he can handle.

My only reservation is I like but don’t love his game as a prospect. I’m not sure how good his jumpshot or ability to drive will be immediately. The NBA is not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago, if a rookie like Jabari takes too many low percentage midrange shots he’ll be benched or coached not to. It’s not a guarantee that just because Jabari can get many midrange shots off, that he’ll be allowed to shoot his way to rookie of the year numbers. In the modern NBA the high usage a player like Carmelo Anthony gets, is earned by having unique skills to create efficient shots at the rim or from 3 then complimenting that with midrange chucking.

Still, Jabari is still a good prospect ranking 7th on my mixed model big board and in the best situation of anyone to win this. Even if I believe his talent has more in common with Antoine Walker than Carmelo Anthony, that still puts rookie of the year on the table.

2. SG Nik Stauskas

Stauskas was ranked 2nd on my mixed model big board and was on my shortlist of star talents in the draft. He has the off the dribble skills that has led to multiple backcourt rookie of the year winners lately.

The biggest thing going against Stauskas is situation, as the Kings have DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay expected to shoot just about every time they touch it. Notably however Isaiah Thomas averaged over 21 points per game in all of December, January, February and March despite sharing the ball with Gay since his trade on December 9th. I suspect as long as Stauskas gets starter minutes at SG, the opportunity is there to put up rookie of the year scoring numbers. The only concern there is the Kings drafting Ben McLemore last year, however they may make up for that by playing McLemore at SF beside Stauskas at times and McLemore struggled enough as a rookie that minutes are not guaranteed this year.

Stauskas’ rookie of the year would likely be the modern equivalent’s of Brandon Roy on Portland in 2006-2007, managing to stand out despite Zach Randolph’s 23.6ppg in the front-court.

1. PF Julius Randle

I’m leaning towards Randle as my favorite right now. He ranks 3rd on my mixed model board for both talent and production reasons and the Lakers are the type of bad team who should breed the minutes and touches for a rookie of the year winner. Although Randle has to compete with other natural 4s like Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, realistically if Randle’s rookie of the year train starts rolling, I expect he’ll become the overwhelming priority of those players. It doesn’t hurt that the Lakers are a high profile media team for whom any young star is likely to his profile blown up, especially a high school lauded, Kentucky prospect who made the national title game. Randle appears to have the physical and mental maturity to produce early as well.

Randle’s chances at ROY are probably better the worse Kobe’s condition is next year, as it would allow him to take a bigger role in the offense. And I’m fading Kobe’s performance next year, I just think a 19th season coming off major injuries is too much to come back from and expect another healthy 27ppg+ season.

Now as I’ve said, I don’t believe these are truly the top 10 candidates for rookie of the year next season, so it’s worth covering a few more names:

PF/C Nikola Mirotic

Mirotic’s talent level seems very impressive, enough to be top 10 compared to 2014 prospects. However the Bulls situation likely plays against him even more than for McDermott. Getting past Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson in the rotation enough to have rookie of the year caliber points per game, is unlikely. The transition from Europe to the NBA can also sometimes include a slow first year.

SF Andrew Wiggins

The #1 pick gets a more rookie of the year favorable situation in Minnesota than Cleveland, however he ranks 19th on my mixed model board which is stretching it for candidates. His rawness as a ballhandler is likely to hurt his chances to create enough to put high scoring numbers, likely to play off the ball in transition and take spot up shots more early. And the Wolves aren’t chopped liver. Nik Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Thaddeus Young If the Timberwolves make the rumored Anthony Bennett for Young trade, should still lead the way for the Wolves. It doesn’t seem like Flip Saunders is the most “play the youngins” friendly coach either. Wiggins being in the top 5 or 6 leading scorers next year wouldn’t shock me, but I don’t see him leading in PPG

PG/SG Dante Exum

Exum ranked 16th on my mixed model big board, not far off from players who made the above list like Smart and Warren. He’s a dribble-first guard on a bad team which usually is an encouraging sign for ROY. However Trey Burke and Alec Burks are also guards who like the ball in their hands, with the latter’s similarity to Exum being particularly problematic for Exum’s chances. Hayward also should once again be their #1 option on the perimeter. If Exum’s rookie season goes well I suspect it looks like Giannis Antetokounmpo’s, where he excites more than puts up gaudy numbers.

PF/C Nerlens Noel

My private re-grading of the 2013 draft would rank Noel 17th if he came out in the 2014 draft. That’s worth fringe consideration and the Sixers are of course, the ultimate rookie of the year opportunity, giving players both heavy possessions and a high pace statistically.

Still, it’s clear you need to lead rookies in scoring to expect to win this award and I just don’t see Noel clearing that bar. Even 15 points per game feelsa lot to ask of Noel and I suspect the rookie of the year will average higher than that.

PG Elfrid Payton and SG Jordan McRae

Payton ranks 42nd and McRae 35th on my mixed model board, so I would consider it a failure on my point if either won rookie of the year. Nevertheless I thought they deserved mention for opportunity alone. Payton has starting PG position handed to him on a poor Orlando team. I’ve also got my eye on McRae who despite getting picked in the late 50s, averaged over 20 points per game in summer league for Philadelphia, who’s summer league team looks a lot like their regular season team in quality, so the odds of him using a surprisingly high of FGA per game this year seem solid to me.

For fun as a comparison, here are the current Bovada odds listed for Rookie of the Year, as of August 19th 2014:

Jabari Parker: 3-1
Andrew Wiggins: 5-1
Nerlens Noel: 15-2
Julius Randle: 15-2
Doug McDermott 10-1
Dante Exum: 12-1
Marcus Smart: 12-1
Elfrid Payton: 14-1
Gary Harris: 20-1
Shabazz Napier: 20-1
Nik Stauskas: 20-1
T.J. Warren: 20-1
Jordan Adams: 33-1
P.J. Hairston: 33-1
Adreian Payne: 33-1
James Young: 33-1
Kyle Anderson: 40-1
Joel Embiid: 50-1
Mitch McGary: 50-1

Written by jr.

August 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm

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

with 3 comments

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

Kawhi Leonard and big hands

leave a comment »

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

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

leave a comment »

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

The Spurs and their market inefficiencies

leave a comment »

The term “market inefficiency” was popularized in sports after Moneyball and the baseball statistics-revolution in the early 2000s. It largely means a team can “tip the scales” in their favor, instead of using resources and succeeding as much as the other teams in the league, they can do better by valuing things other teams undervalue. In baseball, some examples have been targeting hittings with high walk rates or shifting defenses according to the batter, before the crowd caught up to these tricks.

Logically, the Spurs incredible run of success should be tied to the concept of market inefficiency. The Spurs front office is better than everyone at everything. They are the Tiger Woods of front offices. They are the best at drafting, best at developing players, they allocate salary the most efficiency, from a coaching perspective they have the best offensive and defensive gameplans, and they’re the most forward trying to maximize a player’s health and longevity with strategies like limiting their minutes.

The drafting and identifying talent however, is really their most standout trait. None of the other stuff would be enough if they hadn’t taken HOFers Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in the 20s and 50s, Kawhi Leonard in the teens, Tiago Splitter and George Hill in the 20s, etc., along with seeing Danny Green’s talent when he’d been cut by the Cavaliers. Nobody is even close to the Spurs when it comes to drafting. It’s as if they’re using a cheat code.

So what are the Spurs doing? Here’s my take

Feel for the Game (or Fluidity)

This is really the Spurs “corner”. There are still some people who think fluidity is athleticism instead of mental instincts-driven, but even if you do, the pattern still applies, Spurs horde the stuff.

It’s not just that the Spurs stars like Tim Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Leonard are fluid, aesthetically natural players, it’s that their entire roster is. Patty Mills, Danny Green, Marco Belinelli, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, etc. Along with some of the great Spurs role players of the past like Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry, Rasho Nesterovic, Stephen Jackson and so on. I find fluidity to be most visible on drives to the rim or posting up, so if you are not convinced, try to look at those during these Finals or online. As far as I can tell, you don’t make the Spurs roster without a very good to great fluidity or feel for the game.

It bears noting that feel for the game is not a one-way ticket to success. Some of the prospects I feel are most overvalued in the upcoming draft are ones with strong feel for the game, such as Tyler Enins and James Young. There’s enough room to take the high mocked draft pick with the feel for the game and still bust. Evan Turner has a near elite feel for the game, but without either the speed to drive, ability to move well on defense or outside shooting, along with a poor attitude to boot, he’s a disastrous 2nd overall pick. Likewise Adam Morrison’s feel for the game was his strong suit, but between league worst physical tools and an overrated jumpshot, he didn’t make it. Michael Beasley is an interesting example of a feel for the game/fluidity-strong bust. I’ve made the case that except for young players, the notably fluid prospects who play dumb in the NBA, are all guys with “personality flaws”. It doesn’t matter that Beasley, Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, Charlie Villaneuva, etc. have the feel/talent to be smart players, because they were destined to be erratic because of their personality off the court. Luckily for the Spurs they don’t have to worry about players who’s IQ underperforms their feel like Lance or Beasley, because they also are obsessed with character and work ethic and players who fit into a team culture.

The Athleticism loophole

Ok, so we know the Spurs target feel for the game. We know they love outside shooters as much as anyone, which isn’t really a market inefficiency because everyone else values that too, or at least they do now. Between their outside shooting and the post play of Duncan, Splitter and Diaw, the Spurs inside-outside skill level leads the league as strongly as their feel for the game.

If putting their resources into skill and feel, it’d be logical if the return cost for them, is being a less physically gifted team. The only players who both elite physical tools and the elite skill/feel for the game that’s the hallmark of the Spurs system, are monsters like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul George, etc. Since the Spurs can’t just get their hands on those guys, if they really wanted elite athletes or bodies who DON’T have the Spurs-like skill and feel, they’d have to pick up players like Thomas Robinson or Gerald Green for their bench. They don’t do this.

On one hand, the Spurs are indeed less athletic than most teams. We saw the Thunder manhandle them athletically in games 3 and 4 of the WCF. The Spurs most likely rank 30th in the league in dunks and alley oops. It’s not their corner.

However, there’s ways around this. First, just because the Spurs aren’t great athletes, doesn’t mean they lack the ability to attack the basket. Because Parker and Ginobili are both some of the best ballhandlers for their position, they’re still impressive driving threats, arguably elite for their position in their athletic primes. I’ve been arguing for a long time that on the offensive end athleticism and ballhandling have a serious overlap. Because although one is a physical talent and the other is a skill, the net result of both is mostly freedom of motion. Driving past a defender with ballhandling, does the same for a player as driving past him with an explosive first step. There are other ways athleticism and ballhandling help a player such as finishing at the rim or retaining the ball from turnovers, that do not overlap as well, but I feel on the offensive end this freedom of motion and penetration ability has a key overlap, at least for perimeter orientated players – Which is the majority of the league as it includes not only PG, SF and SF, but including all the PFs or Cs who play like SG/SFs. It’s why sometimes athletic wings without the ballhandling have the offensive game of a worse athlete (ie Wesley Johnson and Gerald Green being spot up 3 point shooters), or the opposite, wings with great ballhandling can play like they are more athletic (James Harden, Chris Paul, along with Parker/Manu are good examples). I’m guessing one of the reasons the Spurs were able to see Parker and Ginobili’s talent when they drafted them, is they were bigger believers in their NBA driving ability than others and believed it could replicate more elite athleticism.

Secondly there’s other ways to be physically significant including length, strength and lateral mobility, the combination of which the Spurs do a very good job targeting. None of the Danny Green-Kawhi Leonard-Tiago Splitter combination have elite explosiveness for their position but they bring other crucial physical elements to the Spurs. They add length to the team (Green and Leonard are longer than the average SG, Splitter is average), strength (Leonard and Splitter are stronger than the average SF, Green is average) and lateral mobility (all three are impressive for their position). In other words, the Spurs didn’t need to draft high flying athletes to add badly needed physical reinforcements in the draft, they were able to go around it with length, strength and lateral mobility. This is added to the fact that Parker and Manu can still drive to the basket and Duncan still has elite size for a big. If looking at “physical impact” as a combination of driving to the rim, length/strength and movement on defense, the Spurs may not lead the league when physically freakish teams like the Heat and Thunder are out there, but they’re a more gifted team in that area than if one only uses “high-flying athleticism” as a judge of physical value. I suspect the reason the Spurs are so good at drafting isn’t just their priority of feel for the game, but having a clearcut value system for physical talents and skills as well. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter aren’t just steals because of their feel for the game, but because when one added that to how much of the rest of their talent they had such as length, strength, lateral movement, speed attacking the rim, outside shooting ability, finishing skill at the basket, etc., that’s when they started to look like clear starting caliber talents, or star talent in Leonard’s case.

Fittingly, Tim Duncan himself embodies the “Spurs model” in drafting a prospect. First, Duncan combination of skill level and feel for the game was one of the best in history for a PF or C. His “traditional” athleticism (above the rim, speed) was never elite for his position, but he was still physically gifted because of his massive frame, length and lateral mobility combination. And with the skill and feel there, along with perfect character, he didn’t need more than that to be a dominant superstar.

Written by jr.

June 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm