A Substitute for War

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Posts Tagged ‘33 pt method

2014 NBA Draft Mixed Model Big Board

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Before the draft I didn’t have time to put this together, but this is a combination of my 4 draft models in my final pre-draft post posted last month.

To calculate this I average the players rank on each of my 4 models – Traditional talent rankings, ESPN top 100 weighted model, PER/age weighted model and analytics weighted model. The explanations for these are in the above link.

My goal is to find a draft model that’s the most successful, so it’s worth listing this one to see how it matches up to the separated ones in the above link. My grades in the above post were finalized before the draft so there’s nothing affected by extra information or summer league play since the draft.

I noticed a clerical error in my ESPN top 100 weighted model, Dante Exum was ranked 14th with “PG/SG Dante Exum 3 (E) + 14 (J) = 17”, the mistake there was I added together my ranking and ESPN’s but didn’t divide by two like I was supposed to. With a new averaged score of 8.5, Exum should’ve ranked 5th. This correction is accounted for in this post.

Bold reflects non-NCAA player, where I didn’t use production in the PER/age or analytics models (instead giving them a “neutral” grade as placeholders). Grey reflects undrafted player, a lighter grey reflects non-NCAA and undrafted

Here are the mixed model rankings:

1. C Joel Embiid

2 (Traditional), 1 (ESPN), 1 (PER/age), 1 (analytics) Average: 1.25, Highest 1, Lowest: 2

2. SG Nik Stauskas

3 (Traditional), 2 (ESPN), 9 (PER/age), 10 (analytics) Average: 6.0, Highest: 2, Lowest: 10

3. PF Julius Randle

7 (Traditional), 3 (ESPN), 7 (PER/age), 12 (analytics), Average: 7.25, Highest: 3, Lowest: 12

4. PF Noah Vonleh

11 (Traditional), 4 (ESPN), 11 (PER/age), 4 (analytics), Average: 7.5, Highest: 4, Lowest: 11

5. SG Jordan Adams

10 (Traditional), 16 (ESPN), 5 (PER/age), 3 (analytics), Average: 8.5, Highest: 3, Lowest: 16

6. SG Bogdan Bogdanovic

1 (Traditional), 21 (ESPN), 6 (PER/age), 8 (analytics) Average: 9.0, Highest: 1, Lowest: 21

7. PF Jabari Parker

20 (Traditional), 8 (ESPN), 3 (PER/age), 6 (analytics), Average: 9.25, Highest: 3, Lowest: 20

8. PG Shabazz Napier

6 (Traditional), 11 (ESPN), 17 (PER/age), 13 (analytics), Average: 11.75, Highest: 6, Lowest: 17

9. PF Dario Saric

9 (Traditional), 6 (ESPN), 15 (PER/age), 18 (analytics), Average: 12, Highest: 6, Lowest: 18

10. SF Doug McDermott

12 (Traditional), 10 (ESPN), 2 (PER/age), 25 (analytics), Average: 12.25, Highest: 2, Lowest: 25

11. SG Spencer Dinwiddie

5 (Traditional), 20 (ESPN), 13 (PER/age), 11 (analytics), Average: 12.25, Highest: 5, Lowest: 20

12. PF Aaron Gordon

13 (Traditional), 7 (ESPN), 25 (PER/age), 5 (analytics), Average: 12.50, Highest: 5, Lowest: 25.0

13. SF T.J. Warren

22 (Traditional), 17 (ESPN), 4 (PER/age), 9 (analytics), Average: 13, Highest: 4, Lowest: 22

14. SG Marcus Smart

23 (Traditional), 13 (ESPN), 10 (PER/age), 7 (analytics), Average: 13.25, Highest: 7, Lowest: 23

15. PF Adreian Payne

4 (Traditional), 9 (ESPN), 23 (PER/age), 21 (analytics), Average: 14.25, Highest: 4, Lowest: 23

16. PG Dante Exum

14 (Traditional), 5 (ESPN), 18 (PER/age), 22 (analytics), Average: 14.75, Highest: 5, Lowest: 22

17. SG P.J. Hairston

18 (Traditional), 15 (ESPN), 8 (PER/age), 27 (analytics), Average: 17.0, Highest: 8, Lowest: 27

18. PF Kyle Anderson

29 (Traditional), 24 (ESPN), 16 (PER/age), 2 (analytics), Average: 17.75, Highest: 2, Lowest: 29

19. SF Andrew Wiggins

27 (Traditional), 12 (ESPN), 26 (PER/age), 14 (analytics), Average: 19.75, Highest: 12, Lowest: 27

20. PF Damien Inglis

17 (Traditional), 22 (ESPN), 19 (PER/age), 23 (analytics), Average: 20.25, Highest: 17, Lowest: 22

21. C Mitch McGary

31 (Traditional), 27 (ESPN), 14 (PER/age), 16 (analytics), Average: 22, Highest: 14, Lowest: 31

22. C Jusuf Nurkic

26 (Traditional), 18 (ESPN), 24 (PER/age), 28 (analytics), Average: 24.0, Highest: 18, Lowest: 28

23. SG Zach LaVine

16 (Traditional), 14 (ESPN), 52 (PER/age), 24 (analytics), Average: 26.5, Highest: 14, Lowest: 52

24. SF DeAndre Daniels

8 (Traditional), 31 (ESPN), 40 (PER/age), 31 (analytics), Average: 27.5, Highest: 8, Lowest: 40

25. SG Gary Harris

39 (Traditional), 23 (ESPN), 33 (PER/age), 17 (analytics), Average: 28, Highest: 17, Lowest: 39

26. SF Rodney Hood

19 (Traditional), 19 (ESPN), 36 (PER/age), 42 (analytics), Average: 29.0, Highest: 19, Lowest: 42

27. C Clint Capela

34 (Traditional), 25 (ESPN), 27 (PER/age), 34 (analytics), Average: 30.0, Highest: 25, Lowest: 34

28. PF Cameron Bairstow

15 (Traditional), 57 (ESPN), 12 (PER/age), 37 (analytics), Average: 30.25, Highest: 12, Lowest: 57

29. PF Javon McCrea

41 (Traditional), 42 (ESPN), 20 (PER/age), 19 (analytics), Average: 30.5, Highest: 19, Lowest: 42

30. PG Russ Smith

24 (Traditional), 39 (ESPN), 31 (PER/age), 29 (analytics), Average: 30.75, Highest: 24, Lowest: 39

31. SF K.J. McDaniels

42 (Traditional), 32 (ESPN), 21 (PER/age), 30 (analytics), Average: 31.25, Highest: 21, Lowest: 42

32. SF Cleanthony Early

28 (Traditional), 26 (ESPN), 29 (PER/age), 43 (analytics), Average: 31.5, Highest: 26, Lowest: 43

33. C Nikola Jokic

35 (Traditional), 30 (ESPN), 28 (PER/age), 35 (analytics), Average: 32.0, Highest: 28, Lowest: 35

34. PF Jerami Grant

32 (Traditional), 29 (ESPN), 37 (PER/age), 32 (analytics), Average: 32.5, Highest: 29, Lowest: 37

35. SG Jordan McRae

25 (Traditional), 34 (ESPN), 22 (PER/age), 53 (analytics), Average: 33.5, Highest: 22, Lowest: 53

36. PF Jarnell Stokes

54 (Traditional), 35 (ESPN), 30 (PER/age), 26 (analytics), Average: 36.25, Highest: 26, Lowest: 54

37. C Alec Brown

21 (Traditional), 51 (ESPN), 42 (PER/age), 38 (analytics), Average: 38, Highest: 21, Lowest: 51

38. C Walter Tavares

45 (Traditional), 40 (ESPN), 32 (PER/age), 40 (analytics), Average: 39.25, Highest: 32, Lowest: 45

39. SG C.J. Wilcox

30 (Traditional), 28 (ESPN), 48 (PER/age), 55 (analytics), Average: 40.25, Highest: 28, Lowest: 55

40. SF Lamar Patterson

36 (Traditional), 43 (ESPN), 45 (PER/age), 41 (analytics), Average: 41, Highest: 36, Lowest: 45

41. C Khem Birch

51 (Traditional), 46 (ESPN), 34 (PER/age), 33 (analytics), Average: 41, Highest: 33, Lowest: 51

42. PG Elfrid Payton

62 (Traditional), 36 (ESPN), 47 (PER/age), 20 (analytics), Average: 41.25, Highest: 20, Lowest: 62

43. PG Tyler Ennis

66 (Traditional), 41 (ESPN), 43 (PER/age), 15 (analytics), Average: 41.25, Highest: 15, Lowest: 66

44. PG Vasilije Micic

47 (Traditional), 45 (ESPN), 38 (PER/age), 44 (analytics), Average: 43.5, Highest: 38, Lowest: 47

45. SF Thanasis Antetokoumpo

48 (Traditional), 47 (ESPN), 39 (PER/age), 45 (analytics), Average: 44.75, Highest: 39, Lowest: 48

46. PF Patric Young

44 (Traditional), 38 (ESPN), 56 (PER/age), 51 (analytics), Average: 47.25, Highest: 38, Lowest: 56

47. SG Jabari Brown

38 (Traditional), 50 (ESPN), 44 (PER/age), 58 (analytics), Average: 47.5, Highest: 38, Lowest: 58

48. PG Jahii Carson

33 (Traditional), 44 (ESPN), 57 (PER/age), 57 (analytics), Average: 47.75, Highest: 33, Lowest: 57

49. SG Markel Brown

37 (Traditional), 49 (ESPN), 53 (PER/age), 54 (analytics), Average: 48.25, Highest: 37, Lowest: 54

50. SF James Young

55 (Traditional), 33 (ESPN), 60 (PER/age), 50 (analytics), Average: 49.5, Highest: 33, Lowest: 60

51. C Sim Bhullar

52 (Traditional), 74 (ESPN), 35 (PER/age), 39 (analytics), Average: 50, Highest: 35, Lowest: 74

52. SG Travis Bader

40 (Traditional), 61 (ESPN), 70 (PER/age), 36 (analytics), Average: 51.75, Highest: 36, Lowest: 70

53. PG Deonte Burton

53 (Traditional), 56 (ESPN), 50 (PER/age), 70 (analytics), Average: 52.5, Highest: 50, Lowest: 70

54. PF LaQuinton Ross

46 (Traditional), 58 (ESPN), 49 (PER/age), 63 (analytics), Average: 54, Highest: 46, Lowest: 63

55. PG Bryce Cotton

61 (Traditional), 54 (ESPN), 54 (PER/age), 47 (analytics), Average: 54.0, Highest: 47, Lowest: 61

56. PG Jordan Clarkson

50 (Traditional), 37 (ESPN), 62 (PER/age), 69 (analytics), Average: 54.5, Highest: 37, Lowest: 69

57. PF Shayne Whittington

58 (Traditional), 78 (ESPN), 46 (PER/age), 46 (analytics), Average: 57.0, Highest: 46, Lowest: 78

58. SF Glenn Robinson III

63 (Traditional), 48 (ESPN), 64 (PER/age), 56 (analytics), Average: 57.75, Highest: 48, Lowest: 64

59. SG Xavier Thames

59 (Traditional), 69 (ESPN), 41 (PER/age), 65 (analytics), Average: 58.5, Highest: 41, Lowest: 69

60. PG DeAndre Kane

49 (Traditional), 55 (ESPN), 58 (PER/age), 74 (analytics), Average: 59, Highest: 49, Lowest: 74

61. PG Keith Appling

43 (Traditional), 62 (ESPN), 75 (PER/age), 60 (analytics), Average: 60, Highest: 43, Lowest: 75

62. PF Cory Jefferson

57 (Traditional), 63 (ESPN), 55 (PER/age), 67 (analytics), Average: 60.5, Highest: 55, Lowest: 67

63. SG Andre Dawkins

60 (Traditional), 79 (ESPN), 61 (PER/age), 48 (analytics), Average: 62.0, Highest: 48, Lowest: 79

64. SG Semaj Christon

64 (Traditional), 52 (ESPN), 63 (PER/age), 73 (analytics), Average: 63, Highest: 52, Lowest: 73

65. SG Roy Devyn Marble

72 (Traditional), 64 (ESPN), 65 (PER/age), 52 (analytics), Average: 63.25, Highest: 52, Lowest: 72

66. PG Markel Starks

56 (Traditional), 75 (ESPN), 74 (PER/age), 49 (analytics), Average: 63.5, Highest: 49, Lowest: 75

67. PF James Michael McAdoo

65 (Traditional), 65 (ESPN), 66 (PER/age), 64 (analytics), Average: 65.0, Highest: 64, Lowest: 66

68. SG Nick Johnson

73 (Traditional), 67 (ESPN), 59 (PER/age), 66 (analytics), Average: 66.25, Highest: 59, Lowest: 73

69. PF Dwight Powell

68 (Traditional), 66 (ESPN), 73 (PER/age), 61 (analytics), Average: 67.0, Highest: 61, Lowest: 73

70. PF Johnny O’Bryant

67 (Traditional), 59 (ESPN), 69 (PER/age), 76 (analytics), Average: 67.75, Highest: 59, Lowest: 76

71. SG Joe Harris

71 (Traditional), 53 (ESPN), 78 (PER/age), 75 (analytics), Average: 69.25, Highest: 53, Lowest: 78

72. PG Scottie Wilbekin

74 (Traditional), 72 (ESPN), 76 (PER/age), 59 (analytics), Average: 70.25, Highest: 59, Lowest: 76

73. C Artem Klimenko

80 (Traditional), 60 (ESPN), 51 (PER/age), 71 (analytics), Average: 70.5, Highest: 51, Lowest: 80

74. SG Fuquan Edwin

70 (Traditional), 77 (ESPN), 71 (PER/age), 68 (analytics), Average: 71.5, Highest: 68, Lowest: 77

75. C Alex Kirk

76 (Traditional), 80 (ESPN), 68 (PER/age), 62 (analytics), Average: 71.5, Highest: 62, Lowest: 80

76. SF Melvin Ejim

75 (Traditional), 71 (ESPN), 67 (PER/age), 78 (analytics), Average: 72.75, Highest: 67, Lowest: 78

77. C Jordan Bachynski

79 (Traditional), 73 (ESPN), 72 (PER/age), 72 (analytics), Average: 74.0, Highest: 72, Lowest: 79

78. PF Josh Huestis

69 (Traditional), 76 (ESPN), 77 (PER/age), 77 (analytics), Average: 74.75, Highest: 69, Lowest: 77

79. SF C.J. Fair

77 (Traditional), 68 (ESPN), 79 (PER/age), 80 (analytics), Average: 76.0, Highest: 68, Lowest: 80

80. PG Aaron Craft

78 (Traditional), 72 (ESPN), 80 (PER/age), 79 (analytics), Average: 77.25, Highest: 72, Lowest: 80

In my pre-draft post (linked above), I made this “Overall conclusions” eyeballing the consensus of my 4 models at the time:

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.

These eyeball conclusions look similar to my mixed model posted above. The first 6 players mentioned in my blurb were the same top 6 who ranked highest in the model, in Embiid, Stauskas, Randle, Vonleh, Adams and Bogdanovic. Notably Cameron Bairstow was ranked out of the ESPN top 100 when I did my pre draft post, therefore I gave him a ranking of 101, however he ended up getting drafted 49th. Thus his ESPN/top 100 model rank single handily drags down his mixed model rank more than he probably deserves in retrospect.

Overall I feel my mixed model rankings are possibly more trustworthy than any of the 4 models individually. The most important thing for the players remains my talent grades of them, since it dictates one entire model and then a major % of the other three. However, I’m ready to admit I probably discounted college production and conventional draft position too much in the first 2 years I did this. There were undrafted seniors who ranked high on my list in 2012 and 2013 who’s lack of college dominance for their age or conventional scouting attention, may have reflected an unlikelihood they have it in them whether for mental or physical reasons to stand out in an ultra-competitive NBA (And in the case of many, I simply made some mistakes in the talent evaluation itself, of which I now feel is corrected). I feel confident in the above rankings.

Here is my team by team grades, the methodology of which is similar to in this post.

For example Jordan Adams was picked 22nd, but ranks 5th on my above mixed model. On my talent grade post (Model 1), my 5th ranked player had a “score” of 22, while my 22nd ranked player had a score of 19. I will use these as “expected values”, therefore with the 22nd pick the Grizzlies were expected to get a player of a value of the 22nd pick (in this case reflected by an expected value of 19), but by getting my 5th ranked player on the above list, got a value of 22, therefore +3.

This is not going to be a perfect measure, as it’s more valuable to hit on high picks than 2nd rounders, along with a “drop-off” factor (For example in my talent grade post the 3rd ranked player had a value of 24 and the 4th a value of 22, thus Julius Randle ranking 3rd on my mixed model is rated as several points more valuable than Noah Vonleh ranking 4th, which may not be deserved)

Here are the team grades done this way:

Philadelphia 76ers

C Joel Embiid (3rd overall pick, Expected value: 24, Ranked: 1st, Expected value: 25, Difference: +1)

PF Dario Saric (12th overall pick, Expected value: 21, Ranked: 9th, Expected value: 21, Difference: / )

SF K.J. McDaniels (32nd overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 31st, Expected value: 18, Difference: / )

PF Jerami Grant (39th overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 34th, Expected value: 18, Difference: / )

PG Vasilije Micic (52nd overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 44th, Expected value: 17, Difference: +1)

SG Jordan McRae (58th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 35th, Expected value: 18, Difference: +2)

Total: +4

Chicago Bulls

SF Doug McDermott (11th overall pick, Expected value: 21, Ranked: 12th, Expected value: 21, Difference: /)

PF Cameron Bairstow (49th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 28th, Expected value: 19, Difference: +3)

Total: +3

Atlanta Hawks

PF Adreian Payne (15th overall pick, Expected value: 20, Ranked: 15th, Expected value: 20, Difference: / )

C Walter Tavares (43rd overall pick, Expected value: 17, Ranked: 38th, Expected value: 18, Difference: +1)

SF Lamar Patterson (48th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 40th, Expected value: 18, Difference: +2)

Total: +3

Detroit Pistons

SG Spencer Dinwiddie (38th overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 11th, Expected value: 21, Difference: +3)

Total: +3

Sacramento Kings

SG Nik Stauskas (8th overall pick, Expected value: 21, Ranked: 2nd, Expected value: 24, Difference: +3)

Total: +3

New Orleans Pelicans

PG Russ Smith (47th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 30th, Expected value: 19, Difference: +3)

Total: +3

Memphis Grizzlies

SG Jordan Adams (22nd overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 5th, Expected value: 22, Difference: +3)

PF Jarnell Stokes, (35th overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked 36th, Expected value: 18, Difference: /)

Total: +3

Charlotte Hornets

PF Noah Vonleh (9th overall pick, Expected value: 21, Ranked: 4th, Expected value: 22, Difference: +1)

SG P.J. Hairston (26th overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 17th, Expected value: 20, Difference +1)

Total: +2

Phoenix Suns:

SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (27th overall pick, Expected value: 19. Ranked 6th, Expected value: 22, Difference: +3)

SF T.J. Warren (14th overall pick, Expected value: 20. Ranked 13th, Expected value: 20, Difference: / )

PG Tyler Ennis (18th overall pick, Expected value: 20, Ranked 43rd, Expected value:17, Difference: -3)

C Alec Brown (50th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked 37th, Expected value: 18, DIference: +2)

Total: +2

Miami Heat

PG Shabazz Napier (26th overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 8th, Expected value: 21, Difference: +2)

Total: +2

Los Angeles Lakers

PF Julius Randle (7th overall pick, Expected value: 21, Ranked: 3rd, Expected value: 24, Difference: +3)

PG Jordan Clarkson (46th overall pick, Expected value: 17, Ranked: 56th, Expected value: 16, Difference: -1)

Difference: +2

Toronto Raptors

SF DeAndre Daniels (37th overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 24th, Expected value: 19, Difference: +1)

SF Bruno Cabolco (unranked)

Total: +1

New York Knicks

SF Cleanthony Early (34th overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 32, Expected value: 18, Difference: / )

SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51st overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 45, Expected value: 17, Difference: +1)

C Louis Labeyrie (57th overall pick, unranked)

Total: +1

San Antonio Spurs

PF Kyle Anderson (30th overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 18th, Expected value: 20, Difference: +1)

SF Nemanja Dangubic (54th overall pick, unranked)

Total: +1

Los Angeles Clippers

SG C.J. Wilcox (28th overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 39th, Expected value: 18, Difference: -1)

Difference: -1

Denver Nuggets

C Jusuf Nurkic (16th overall pick, Expected value: 20, Ranked: 22nd, Expected value: 19, Difference: -1)

SG Gary Harris (19th overall pick, Expected value: 20, Ranked: 25th, Expected value: 19, Difference: -1)

C Nikola Jokic (41st overall pick, Expected value: 17, Ranked: 33rd, Expected value: 18, Difference: +1)

Total: -1

Utah Jazz

SG Dante Exum (5th overall pick, Expected value: 22, Ranked: 16th, Expected value: 20, Difference: -2)

SF Rodney Hood (23rd overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 26th, Expected value: 19, Difference: / )

Total: -2

Brooklyn Nets

SG Markel Brown (44th overall pick, Expected value: 17, Ranked: 49th, Expected value: 16, Difference: -1)

SG Xavier Thames (58th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 59, Expected value: 16, Difference: / )

PF Cory Jefferson (60th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 62, Expected value: 15, Difference: -1)

Total: -2

Houston Rockets

C Clint Capela (25th overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 27th, Expected value: 19, Difference: / )

SG Nick Johnson (42nd overall pick, Expected value: 17, Ranked: 68th, Expected value: 15, Difference: -2)

Total: -2

Minnesota Timberwolves

SG Zach LaVine (13th overall pick, Expected value: 20, Ranked: 23rd, Expected value: 19, Difference: -1)

SF Glenn Robinson (40th overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 58th, Expected value: 16, Difference: -2)

PG Alessandro Gentile (53rd overall pick, unranked)

Total: -3

Milwaukee Bucks

PF Jabari Parker (2nd overall pick, Expected value: 24, Ranked: 7th, Expected value: 21, Difference: -3)

PF Damien Inglis (31st overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 20th, Expected value: 20, Difference: +2)

PF Johnny O’Bryant (36th overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 70th, Expected value: 15, Difference: -3)

Total: -4

Boston Celtics

SG Marcus Smart (6th overall pick, Expected value: 22, Ranked: 14th, Expected value: 20, Difference: -2)

SF James Young (17th overall pick, Expected value: 20, Ranked: 50th, Expected value: 16, Difference: -4)

Total: -6

Orlando Magic

PF Aaron Gordon (4th overall pick, Expected value: 22, Ranked: 12th, Expected value: 21, Difference: -1)

PG Elfrid Payton (10th overall pick, Expected value: 21, Ranked: 42nd, Expected value: 17, Difference: -4)

SG Roy Devyn Marble (56th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 65th, Expected value: 15, Difference: -1)

Total: -6

Oklahoma City Thunder

C Mitch McGary (21st overall pick, Expected value: 20, Ranked: 21st, Expected value: 20, Difference: / )

PF Josh Huestis (29th overall pick, Expected value: 19, Ranked: 78th, Expected value: 13, Difference: -6 )

SG Semaj Christon (55th overall pick, Expected value: 16, Ranked: 64th, Expected value: 15, Difference: -1)

Total: -7

Cleveland Cavaliers

SF Andrew Wiggins (1st overall pick, Expected value: 25, Ranked: 19th, Expected value: 20, Difference: -5)

SG Joe Harris (33rd overall pick, Expected value: 18, Ranked: 71th, Expected value: 15, Difference: -3)

PF Dwight Powell (45th overall pick, Expected value: 17, Ranked: 69th, Expected value: 15, Difference: -2)

Total: -10

Now as I did in my previous team grades post, here is the order of the players rated from highest value to lowest value (if players had the same value, I listed the player picked higher in the draft first)

1. LAL PF Julius Randle (+3)

2. SAC SG Nik Stauskas (+3)

3. MEM SG Jordan Adams (+3)

4. PHX SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (+3)

5. DET SG Spencer Dinwiddie (+3)

6. NOP PG Russ Smith (+3)

7. CHI PF Cameron Bairstow (+3)

8. MIA PG Shabazz Napier (+2)

9. MIL PF Damien Inglis (+2)

10. PHX C Alec Brown (+2)

11. ATL SF Lamar Patterson (+2)

12. PHI SG Jordan McRae (+2)

13. PHI C Joel Embiid (+1)

14. CHA PF Noah Vonleh (+1)

15. CHA SG P.J. Hairston (+1)

16. SAS PF Kyle Anderson (+1)

17. TOR SF DeAndre Daniels (+1)

18. DEN C Nikola Jokic (+1)

19. ATL C Walter Tavares (+1)

20. NYK SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo (+1)

21. PHI PG Vasilije Micic (+1)

22. CHI SF Doug McDermott ( / )

23. PHI PF Dario Saric ( / )

24. PHX SF T.J. Warren ( / )

25. ATL PF Adreian Payne ( / )

26. OKC C Mitch McGary ( / )

27. UTA SF Rodney Hood ( / )

28. HOU C Clint Capela ( / )

29. PHI SF K.J. McDaniels ( / )

30. NYK SF Cleanthony Early ( / )

31. MEM PF Jarnell Stokes ( / )

32. PHI PF Jerami Grant ( / )

33. BKN SG Xavier Thames ( / )

34. ORL PF Aaron Gordon (-1)

35. MIN SG Zach LaVine (-1)

36. DEN C Jusuf Nurkic (-1)

37. DEN SG Gary Harris (-1)

38. LAC SG C.J. Wilcox (-1)

39. BKN SG Markel Brown (-1)

40. LAL PG Jordan Clarkson (-1)

41. OKC SG Semaj Christon (-1)

42. ORL SG Roy Devyn Marble (-1)

43. BKN PF Cory Jefferson (-1)

44. UTA SG Dante Exum (-2)

45. BOS SG Marcus Smart (-2)

46. MIN SF Glenn Robinson III (-2)

47. HOU SG Nick Johnson (-2)

48. CLE PF Dwight Powell (-2)

49. MIL PF Jabari Parker (-3)

50. PHX PG Tyler Ennis ( -3 )

51. CLE SG Joe Harris (-3)

52. MIL PF Johnny O’Bryant (-3)

53. ORL PG Elfrid Payton (-4)

54. BOS SF James Young (-4)

55. CLE SF Andrew Wiggins (-5)

56. OKC PF Josh Huestis (-6)

Written by jr.

July 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Is Russell Westbrook’s talent level overrated?

with 2 comments

Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11

Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I tried to make a list of the 30-40 most talented 25 and under players, using my talent grading system. I may not post it. My apprehension is that a large number of the players are too closely graded, making it hard to rank one over the other.

However I will say that if I do post it, Russell Westbrook will be ranked lower than you can imagine. Now, by making it onto the list, Westbrook is still a blue chip talent. Some other players I gave a similar grade include Chandler Parsons, Derrick Favors, Jrue Holiday, Larry Sanders, Mike Conley, Jr. to name a few. All excellent talents, but in a tier below superstar, perennial all-star talent, which many believe Westbrook has.

As a talent Westbrook has a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. In what I call “physical impact talent”, Westbrook may be as gifted as any PG in NBA history. Westbrook is one of the most athletic specimens in all of sports, pairing that explosiveness with a strong body. Add in elite ballhandling and he’s as dynamic as it gets in the NBA, for skills attacking the basket off the dribble. In both the halfcourt and transition he puts relentless pressure on the opponent that defines the pace of the game.

However, the above only makes up 1/3 of what I use to rate talent. Where my doubts about Westbrook’s talent lie is the other 2/3.

My “skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent” category treats shooting range as key, in addition to passing or post skills if a player has them. Westbrook is an average shooter at best for a PG. With a career 3P% of .302 and 0.6 3PM/2.1 3PA split, including .321 3P last year and 1.2 3PM/3.7 3PA, his outside shooters are weak – especially considering that with the defenses worrying about Westbrook’s slashing and Kevin Durant, those 3 point shots are likely to be open. Westbrook’s career 81.4% FT rate is respectable for a PG.

With that said, Westbrook is at least a decent passer and his size gives him post potential against smaller defenders.

In this category, I’d rate Westbrook from average to slightly above average.

The final category I look at is “feel for the game talent”, or to put it another way, instincts. Russell’s decision making and awareness of teammates has been criticized throughout his career. Fluidity and control is the biggest smoking guns I look for in feel for the game. Westbrook does not have fluidity that stands out and at times, can look out of control driving to the basket. I’d rate Westbrook from average to slightly below average in feel for the game.

In short, this combination – all time great physical impact tools, but average skill and feel for the game, does not rate as a superstar talent by my system. I do have Derrick Rose on that next level of talent because I see his feel for the game as elite, showing great fluidity and control – while his skills and physical talents are similar to Westbrook’s. Stephen Curry is an all time great shooter with an elite feel for the game, making up for a weakness physically. Rajon Rondo is an elite athlete with an elite feel for the game, but struggles to shoot, albeit making it up with exceptional passing skills. Those players are elite in 2 categories and average in another by my grading, while Westbrook is elite in 1 and average in 2.

Mike Conley, Jr. is obviously physically inferior to Westbrook, however he is a better shooter (.362 3P last year on 3.7 3PA) and is a more controlled, fluid and feel for the game friendly player. Jrue Holiday doesn’t shoot any better than Westbrook, but also has a high feel for the game, in addition to a great combination of speed and strength superior to Conley, but inferior to Westbrook. It makes sense to me that their feel for the game/fluidity talent, or shooting in Conley’s case, would make up for what Westbrook has over them physically.

Ricky Rubio is something of an inverse Westbrook. He has a feel for the game that is truly special – genius, arguably. However with just decent athleticism and serious shooting/touch problems, the “other 2/3s” for him is also a problem.

At other positions, Westbrook’s teammate Serge Ibaka compares favorably to him as a talent, for me. Ibaka has elite athleticism and length, helping him physically impact the game. Struggling to put the ball on the floor hurts his ability to attack the basket. He has a great jumpshot for a PF, better range than what Westbrook has for a PG. However, I likewise do not see more than average feel for the game. He at times can look stiff instead of natural and uses athleticism more than positional instincts to defend.

Now whether you take any of the above as meaningful is up to you. However it poses another question. How can I justify saying this, when Westbrook’s production can (seemingly) only be reached by a superstar talent? There are different methods of evaluating production of course, some may trust his 23.2ppg, 7.4apg, 5.2rpg as meaningful, whereas I’m more impressed by his combination of volume (25.08 possessions/game, using FGA+0.44*FTA+TOV) and above average efficiency (111 ORTG, league average 105.9). Others may point to that he helps spearhead one of the best offenses and teams in the league.

Either way, it’s hard to argue Westbrook isn’t a superstar talent, if he’s producing like one.

My argument against this is unreliable context. In other words, there could be a Kevin Durant effect. Durant is a rare type of superstar offensively, enough that it’s reasonable to present that Westbrook, among other Thunder players like Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison, may benefit in the efficiency category from it.

And certainly, if Westbrook had been traded to his own team last summer, my initial reaction would’ve been “watch out above for falling shooting percentage”. With the extra defensive attention on him, I’d have actively expected that efficiency to fall below the league average rate of 105.9. His TS% of .532 last year is already below average, it may have dripped dangerously to .50 on his own team. Both of this would have made it reasonable to call him a blue chip, but flawed talent.

This isn’t entirely fair, of course. To call out Westbrook’s efficiency for falling, when he’s never had the chance to prove that won’t happen. My point is more to present reasonable doubt. That just because Westbrook has star numbers, doesn’t mean he has to be a superstar talent.

And frankly, it’s not that big of a deal to be ‘only’ as talented as a player like Mike Conley, Jr. or Chandler Parsons or his teammate Serge Ibaka, if he is. Westbrook is an excellent talent and with Ibaka, Sefolosha, Collision, Jackson, etc., along with Jeremy Lamb, who I feel has superstar talent – the Thunder still have a stacked team around Kevin Durant.

Written by jr.

September 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm