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Posts Tagged ‘Talent Grades

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

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Here is my rankings for the 2014 NBA Draft!

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

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

Model 1 – My traditional talent grades

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

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

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

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

Model 1 – Traditional talent rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

My talent grades:

1. SG Bogdan Bogdanovic

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 9 / Elite

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Brandon Roy, Joe Johnson, James Harden

2. C Joel Embiid

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Pau Gasol, Brook Lopez, Tim Duncan

3. SG Nik Stauskas

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Manu Ginobili, Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford

4. PF Adreian Payne

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: David Lee, Amir Johnson, Taj Gibson

5. SG Spencer Dinwiddie

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

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

6. PG Shabazz Napier

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Isaiah Thomas, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul

7. PF Julius Randle

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Zach Randolph, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin

8. SF Deandre Daniels

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Trevor Ariza

9. PF Dario Saric

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 10 / Incredible

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Boris Diaw, Jeff Green, Hedo Turkoglu

10. SG Jordan Adams

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Joe Johnson, James Harden, Arron Afflalo

11. PF Noah Vonleh

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: David West, Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson

12. SF Doug McDermott

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

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

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

Contextual chance of success grade: AHigh draft pick)

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

13.  PF Aaron Gordon

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

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

14. SG Dante Exum

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Goran Dragic, Lance Stephenson, Dwyane Wade

15. PF Cameron Bairstow

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Taj Gibson, Paul Millsap, Al Horford

16. SG Zach LaVine

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Louis Williams, Monta Ellis, Dion Waiters

17. PF Damien Inglis

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Jeff Green, Lamar Odom, Kawhi Leonard

18. SG P.J. Hairston

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Wesley Matthews, Arron Afflalo, Danny Green

19. SF Rodney Hood

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 9 / Elite

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

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

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

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

20. PF Jabari Parker

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

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

21. C Alec Brown

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Ryan Anderson, Mehmet Okur, Channing Frye

22. SF T.J. Warren

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

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

23. SG Marcus Smart

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

Total motion score: 14

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

NBA Comparisons: Lance Stephenson, Tyreke Evans, Rodney Stuckey

24. PG Russ Smith

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

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

25. SG Jordan McRae

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Gerald Green, Corey Brewer, Terrence Ross

26. C Jusuf Nurkic

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Kris Humphries, Nikola Pekovic, Mareese Speights

27. SF Andrew Wiggins

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Gerald Green, Rudy Gay, Corey Brewer

28. SF Cleanthony Early

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent

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

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

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

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

29. PF Kyle Anderson

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 9 / Elite

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Boris Diaw, Hedo Turkoglu, Lamar Odom

30. SG C.J. Wilcox

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 6 / Decent

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

Total motion score: 11

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

NBA Comparisons: Nick Young, Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli

31. C Mitch McGary

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Anderson Varejao, Nick Collison, Marcin Gortat

32. PF Jerami Grant

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Kenneth Faried, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis

33. PG Jahii Carson

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Kemba Walker, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison

34. C Clint Capela

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Marcus Camby, Chris Anderson, Serge Ibaka

35. C Nikola Jokic

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Spencer Hawes, Robin Lopez, Kosta Koufos

36.  SF Lamar Patterson

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Tobias Harris, Draymond Green, Caron Butler

37. SG Markel Brown

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Gary Neal, Courtney Lee, Randy Foye

38. SG Jabari Brown

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

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

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

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

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

39. SG Gary Harris

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

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

NBA Comparisons: Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, Gary Neal

40. SG Travis Bader

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

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

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

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

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

41. PF Javon McCrea

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

42. SF K.J. McDaniels

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

43. PG Keith Appling

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

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

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

44. PF Patric Young

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

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

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

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

45. C Walter Tavares

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

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

46. PF LaQuinton Ross

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

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

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

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

47. PG Vasilije Micic

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

48. SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

49. PG DeAndre Kane

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

50. PG Jordan Clarkson

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

51. C Khem Birch

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

52. C Sim Bhullar

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

53. PG Deonte Burton

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

54. PF Jarnell Stokes

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

55. SF James Young

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

56. PG Markel Starks

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

57. PF Cory Jefferson

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

58. PF Shayne Whittington

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

59. SG Xavier Thames

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

60. SG Andre Dawkins

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

61. PG Bryce Cotton

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

62. PG Elfrid Payton

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

63. SF Glenn Robinson III

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

64. SG Semaj Christon

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

65. PF James Michael McAdoo

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

66. PG Tyler Ennis

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade –  8 / Great

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

67. PF Johnny O’Bryant

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

68. PF Dwight Powell

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

69. PF Josh Huestis

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

70. SG Fuquan Edwin

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

71. SG Joe Harris

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

72. SG Roy Devyn Marble

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

73. SG Nick Johnson

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

74. PG Scottie Wilbekin

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

75. SF Melvin Ejim

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

76. C Alex Kirk

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

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

77. SF C.J. Fair

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

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

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

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

78. PG Aaron Craft

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

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

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

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

79. C Jordan Bachynski

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

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

80. C Artem Klimenko

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

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

 

Model 2 – ESPN.com weighted rankings

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

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

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

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

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

Model 3 – PER/Age weighting

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

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

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

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

Model 3 – Part II

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

Above PER benchmark:

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

International:

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

Below PER benchmark:

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

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

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

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

Model 4 – Analytics weighted model

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

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

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

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

Overall thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by jr.

June 25, 2014 at 6:14 pm

2014 NBA Draft Big Board – Late May/Early June update

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I have a much larger draft/talent grades big board coming up in a few weeks, including not only the players grades but a write-up for most prospects, NBA comparisons and star/starter/bench player/etc. “probability” grades for each one.

For now I will just post where my big board is at in minimalist form. As a reminder, grade 25 and up = Perennial all-star talent, 23-24 = Fringe Perennial all-star talent, 19-22 = Blue Chip starter talent, 17-18 = Fringe Blue Chip starter talent 14-16 = Rotation player talent, 13 and below = Fringe rotation player talent or worse. My current list is up to 72 prospects including virtually everyone I feel is relevant:

1. SG Bogdan Bogdanovic – 25
2. SG Nik Stauskas – 24
3. C Joel Embiid – 23

Because of Embiid’s health and Bogdanovic’s unclear buyout situation, I may call Stauskas most worth the 1st pick. Although Embiid’s two way talent at C is ultra-enticing, the value of a star perimeter talent should not be underestimated. It’s not about what position you play but how good you are at it. I rate Stauskas as the best offensive talent in the draft while Bogdanovic and Embiid have the size and lateral mobility to be more complete 2 way players.

4. PF Julius Randle – 22
5. PG Shabazz Napier – 22
6. SG Jordan Adams – 21
7. PF Adreian Payne – 21
8. SG Spencer Dinwiddie – 21

I’m fairly confident these are starting caliber players in the NBA, given health and enough minutes – and “once or twice” all-star appearances coming from this group would not surprise, if an all out star doesn’t emerge from it.

9. SG Dante Exum – 20
10. PF Jerami Grant – 20
11. SF Dario Saric – 20
12. PF Damien Inglis – 20
13. SG Zach LaVine – 20
14. C Isaiah Austin – 20
15. PF Jabari Parker – 20
16. PF Alec Brown – 20
17. SF Doug McDermott – 20

A lot of these prospects are showing more visible weaknesses such as skill level or physical tools limitations, nonetheless average or above average starter careers for them, are within reach. These prospects are not “out of danger” falling to a fringe starter type of career, nor is a more special career inconceivable.

18. PF Aaron Gordon – 19
19. PF Noah Vonleh – 19
20. SF Deandre Daniels – 19
21. PF T.J. Warren – 19
22. PG Russ Smith – 19
23. PF Kristaps Porzingis – 19
24. SF Cleanthony Early – 19
25. SG Markel Brown – 19
26. SG Rodney Hood – 19

The list of players I have rated as starting caliber talents is admittedly long, but in talented drafts like 2003 and 2008, the starter count went into the 20s.

27. SF K.J. McDaniels – 18
28. C Mitch McGary – 18
29. SF Andrew Wiggins – 18
30. PG Marcus Smart – 18
31. SG Roy Devyn Marble – 18
32. SG Jabari Brown – 18
33. PF Kyle Anderson – 18
34. SG Travis Bader – 18
35. SG Glenn Robinson III – 17
36. PF Clint Capela – 17
37. PG Jahii Carson – 17
38. PG Jordan Clarkson – 17
39. PG Deonte Burton – 17
40. C Jusuf Nurkic – 17
41. SG Semaj Christon – 17
42. SF Lamar Patterson – 17
43. SG Xavier Thames – 17
44. SG C.J. Wilcox – 17
45. SG P.J. Hairston – 17

Most of these players are interesting and can have unique physical, skill or mental talents, but the whole package does not blow me away. This is the part of the draft where who has the long career and rotation player, starts to depend more on opportunity and getting minutes to develop, as much as it does talent. It’s one thing to have the talent to be the 6th or 7th best player on a good team, but if it takes thousands of minutes of development to get to that level, some of these prospects may wash out in the process. A player like Nurkic is likely to have one of the 30 best careers in the draft because of the NBA’s sweet tooth for gigantic centers compared to some prospects like PGs Carson and Clarkson, for example. All of these prospects have a reasonable chance of breaking out to being true starters, because of the size of the group, surely a few will.

46. PF James Michael McAdoo – 16
47. PF Thanasis Antetokounmpo – 16
48. PG Vasilijie Micic – 16
49. PG Deandre Kane – 16
50. PG Tyler Ennis – 16
51. PF Patric Young – 16
52. PF Cory Jefferson -16
53. SF LaQuinton Ross – 16
54. SG Jordan McRae – 16
55. SG Gary Harris – 16
56. PG Bryce Cotton – 16
57. PG Elfrid Payton – 16
58. SF James Young – 16
59. PF Jarnell Stokes – 15
60. PF Johnny O’Bryant – 15
61. C Walter Tavares – 15
62. PG Scottie Wilbekin – 15

These guys aren’t total dregs, just mediocrity. The odds of these prospects becoming starters and blue chippers starts to get increasingly slim. There are some prospects in this group such as Ennis, Young, Harris for whom the lottery love affair with, I find relatively confusing.

63. SF Josh Huestis – 14
64. SF C.J. Fair – 14
65. PF Dwight Powell – 14
66. SG Joe Harris – 14
67. SG Nick Johnson – 14
68. C ALex Kirk – 14
69. SF Melvin Ejim – 13
70. PG Keith Appling – 13
71. PG Aaron Craft – 12
72. C Jordan Bachynski – 12

The end of the list starts to real real ugly, with most of these prospects unlikely to make a mark for talent and opportunity reasons.

Written by jr.

May 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

2014 NBA Draft Talent Grades – May update

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Here are my current talent grades. I am up to 52 players graded, I may add a few more prospects by June, but right now all the most relevant players are included including everyone in the top 30 of either Chad Ford’s ESPN or Draftexpress.com’s mock draft.

Details about my grading methodology can be found in my March update

A new feature I put in is a “contextual chance of success” letter grade. Factors like health, conditioning, attitude, international buyouts are mentioned as flags here. Two other factors I included are where a player is expected to be picked and his position. All other things equal, a player is better off getting picked higher in the draft. Teams believe in high draft picks more and they are more guaranteed to get the thousands of developmental minutes to reach their talent. The farther down the draft one guys, the more prospects are expected to produce immediately to keep their roster spot. Furthermore 1st round prospects get guaranteed contracts which is an advantage.

Another factor is position. Again, all other things equal, I feel a prospects chances are generally better the less alternatives there is for players his size. Which favors centers the most and point guards or combo guards the least.

Because of this, situations like the following are conceivable:

Prospect A is rated no better than the 40th-50th most talented prospect in this draft, but is selected in the lottery and has one of the 25 or 30 best careers, after he gets thousands of minutes to develop and mark his place. Meanwhile 2nd round/undrafted prospects who are as talented as him or more, wash out too quickly before developing.

Prospect B is rated no better than the 40th-50th most talented in his class, but has one of the 25 or 30 best careers, because he is a 7 foot, heavy center, which teams consider a bigger need at the back half of their bench. Meanwhile some prospects as talented as him or more, are guards who need the ball and need shots, which teams don’t target as much and thus, decide not to have on their roster.

Overall, the contextual chance of success grade is worth mentioning but minor compared to grading the players talent, which I consider the real value in this system. Especially considering for example in this draft, my top 15 prospects are rated B- or higher in contextual chance of success. Which means if my system is right, whether I am successful predicting who the all-stars and starters are from the class, should barely be affected. Context’s biggest effect is whether sub-starting rated talents, will hard on to bench spots or wash out of the league.

For this update I’m just going to post the grades. In the next 2 months I won’t have that much to do in terms of adjusting the ratings, so I’ll have more time to explain.

1. 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 – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 23 (Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent grade)

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

2. SG Nik Stauskas

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 23 (Blue Chip starter to Perennial all-star talent grade)

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

3. SG Bogdan Bogdanovic

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 – 9 / Elite

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

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

4. C 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 – 9 / Elite

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

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

5. PF Julius Randle

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: 8 / Great

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

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

6. 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)

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

7. PG Shabazz Napier

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)

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

8. 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)

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

9. SF Andrew Wiggins

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade – 10 / Incredible

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

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

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

10. PF Kyle Anderson

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 – 10 / Incredible

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

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

11. PF Dario Saric

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 9 / Elite

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

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

12. PG Marcus Smart

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 – 7 / Very good

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

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

13. SF Damien Inglis

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 – 8 / Great

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

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

14. PF Jabari Parker

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)

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

15. SF Rodney Hood

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)

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

16. SG Spencer Dinwiddie

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 – 8 / Great

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

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

17. PF Adreian Payne

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

Contextual chance of success grade: B ( Mid 1st round draft pick Small lungs )

18. SF Cleanthony Early

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

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

19. 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

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

20. SF Doug McDermott

Physical motion/impact (Explosiveness, ballhandling, size, lateral quickness) talent grade:  1 / Awful

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

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

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

21. PG DeAndre Kane

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

22. C Mitch McGary

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 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

23. PG Jordan Clarkson

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 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

24. PG Dante Exum

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 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

25. PG Deonte Burton

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 – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

26. PG Jahii Carson

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 – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

27. SG P.J. Hairston

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Contextual chance of success grade: C+ ( Bubble 1st rounder Attitude )

28. PG Elfrid Payton

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

29. PF James Michael McAdoo

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

30.  SF Glenn Robinson III

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 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

31. SF Thanasis Antetokounmpo

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 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

32. PF Clint Capela

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 – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

33. PF Jarnell Stokes

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 – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

34. SG K.J. McDaniels

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 – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

35. PG Tyler Ennis

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 – 9 / Elite

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

36. SG Gary Harris

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 – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

37. C Isaiah Austin

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

38. PF T.J. Warren

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

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

39. SG Semaj Christon

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: 17 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

40. 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)

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

41. SG Zach LaVine

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)

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

42. C Kristaps Porzingis

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)

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

43. SG Jabari Brown

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)

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

44. SF DeAndre Daniels

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 – 6 / Decent

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

45. SF Jerami Grant

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 – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

46. SG Nick Johnson

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)

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

47. PF Johnny O’Bryant

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)

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

48. PG Russ Smith

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 – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

49. C Alex Kirk

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 – 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

50. PG Vasilijie Micic

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

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

Feel for the Game talent grade – 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

51. C Jusuf Nurkic

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 – 2 / Very poor

Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade)

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

52. 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 (Deep bench to Rotation player talent grade)

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

Written by jr.

May 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Is Nik Stauskas a better NBA prospect than Andrew Wiggins?

with 5 comments

Andrew Wiggins has had a fine freshman season at Kansas, however Michigan’s Nik Stauskas has been the more dominant Canadian wing.

Yet this does not differ many from calling Wiggins the best long term prospect. Of course, there has been a long list of dominant college players who couldn’t repeat it in the pros. While on the other end, more enigmatic college players who went on to be stars. The lessons learned of Thomas Robinson getting picked ahead of Andre Drummond won’t be forgotten soon. My position is talent is the great determiner of who translates to the NBA.

But I am not convinced Wiggins is more talented than Stauskas. In fact I more strongly feel the opposite is true.

I have discussed numerous times on this blog the overlap between ballhandling and athleticism on the offensive end. Athleticism helps a player gain freedom of movement on the court. Usually most importantly, driving past defenders into the paint to gain efficient shots, draw fouls and collapse the defense. Ballhandling also helps this freedom of movement and driving game. There are other values to athleticism like finishing in the paint or defending and other values to ballhandling like taking care of the ball, however the connection is strong enough for me to place athleticism and ballhandling in the same category in my talent grading system. When a player such as Harrison Barnes or Ben McLemore struggles to handle the ball, on the offensive end they take the features of less athletic players. That is, becoming jumpshot orientated instead of driving to the basket. The flipside is players like James Harden and Kyrie Irving having elite talent driving to the basket that exceeds their very good athleticism. Their ballhandling helps them play like they are elite athletes for their position.

Because of this, I am not convinced Wiggins is a better NBA slasher than Stauskas. Wiggins is an elite athlete, but appears to be a flawed ballhandler which can cause him to struggle to get by opponents in the halfcourt. Stauskas is a good if unspectacular athlete, showing the first step and speed to get to the basket. However he adds to this very strong ballhandling skills. Because of this he succeeds driving to the basket. This is why despite Andrew Wiggins greater athleticism, Wiggins’ average of 7.7 free throw attempts per 40 minutes is marginally ahead of Stauskas’ 7.2.

Wiggins’ physical gifts however do make him a higher upside defender. Wiggins has the lateral mobility, length and feel for the game to be one of the best wing defenders in the league. Stauskas is not known for his play on that end, but many young players struggle defensively for reasons beyond lacking the tools for it. He has years to learn to be respectable or even above average defensively.

Both Wiggins and Stauskas are among the more fluid and natural wing players in the NCAA. Both play under control and smoothly. I personally rate Stauskas feel for the game as slightly higher, having an advanced sense of craftiness and ability to change pace and adjust off the dribble.

Stauskas is the more reliable shooting prospect of the two. Hitting 46.2% from 3 on an excellent 6.7 3 point attempts per 40 minutes, he is one of the NCAA’s signature shooters. He shows ability to shoot off the dribble in addition to spotting up. Stauskas also has a free throw percentage of 80.0% after 84.3% last year, which I consider as strong an indicator as NCAA 3 point shooting for perimeter mechanics translating to the pros. Finally with 4.4 assists per 40 minutes Stauskas has strong passing skills for a 2/3.

Wiggins is not a slouch as a shooter. At 36.6% from 3 on 4.5 3pt attempts per 40 minutes and 77.9% from the FT line, it is enough to have a high upside as a shooter. However, there is a sense of unpredictability with a shooter with Wiggins’ numbers. He could turn into a great shooter or he could turn into a mediocre one. The odds of Wiggins turning into a great shooter could be the same as Stauskas turning into an elite shooter. In addition to the passing I see reason to rate Stauskas talent as higher in this category, but Wiggins has shown enough to be promising from the outside.

Therefore here are my talent grades for Andrew Wiggins and Nik Stauskas with these grades

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

What the overall grades mean:

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

Andrew Wiggins

Physical impact (Athleticism, ballhandling, size) talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

Feel for the Game (Fluidity, change of pace, adjustment) talent grade – 8 / Great

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

Nik Stauskas

Physical impact (Athleticism, ballhandling, size) talent grade – 7 / Very good

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

Feel for the Game (Fluidity, change of pace, adjustment) talent grade – 9 / Elite

Total talent grade: 24 (Blue Chip starter to perennial all-star talent grade)

Andrew Wiggins is a very good wing prospect. I expect him to be a great defender in the pros, but I am not positive about his offensive game. The way players like Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala has helped teams win is what I would predict for Wiggins unless he becomes a dominant outside shooter.

Stauskas rates higher in my system. His ability to drive when added to perimeter shooting and feel, could make him a deadly all around force on the wing. I believe Stauskas can be the next James Harden or Manu Ginobili and I am leaning towards rating him 1st overall on my draft board.

Written by jr.

January 31, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Rating Giannis Antetokounmpo’s talent level (+Thoughts on the Anthony Bennett Hindenburg disaster)

with one comment

In a rookie class where most players have fallen between mediocre and poor production, Giannis Antetokounmpo is providing some of the most optimism. Many are now saying they’d take Giannis 1st in the draft, or believe he has the most potential.

How does my talent grading system rate “The Greek Freak”?

In my Physical impact (Athleticism, ballhandling, size) talent category Giannis rates well. Admittedly I rated him too low in this category before the draft, mostly due to lack of quality footage of him outside of a televised Greek all-star game. Giannis has been more athletically explosive and fast than I graded at the time, which in addition to gifted ballhandling skills gives him slashing upside offensively. He is also extremely long for a small forward having even grown a few inches since the draft. It is possible his growth caused the extra athletic explosiveness he is showing now, perhaps he is able to take longer strides or the muscles in his legs were altered. While I’m split on how to rate hand size as importance, Giannis’ are so abnormally big it becomes hard to ignore. These large hands should help him rebound and steal the ball.

Giannis also rates strongly in my Feel for the Game talent category. He’s a very fluid, natural player and has shown signs of playing in control offensively already, in addition to defensive anticipation.

Where Giannis rates weakest is in my Skill Impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent category. He is hitting a mediocre 31.4% from the 3 point line and making 0.6 3s per 36 minutes, in addition to an average 72.9% from the FT line. He was not known as a shooter or perimeter scorer coming into the league. He has the height to be a post player but not the strength yet. Giannis is young enough to improve his finesse game, however right now it does not appear to be any sort of strength for him.

Here are my grades for Giannis based on these ratings:

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

What the overall grades mean:

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

Giannis grades:

Physical impact (Athleticism, Ballhandling, Size) talent grade: 8

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8

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

With the adjustment I used at the time of the 2013 draft (giving a slightly higher weighting to feel for the game, then physical impact, then skill impact in that order, due to descending level of how static/easy to predict I feel each talent category is), Giannis’ score would have ranked 5th in my talent rankings tied with Victor Oladipo and behind Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk, Kenny Kadji, Dennis Schroeder. But close enough to the non-Bennett prospects to make it a near wash for 2nd. Like Oladipo, Giannis has sky high potential in the areas of attacking the basket and defense, but his upside may have a ceiling if he does not become more skilled on the perimeter. (On that note, for the same lack of footage reasons as Giannis I have a different rating of Schroeder than I did before the draft. Schroeder’s shooting has been worse than I thought, but his feel for the game better – the difference ends up a wash. I now see him as having the same strengths and weaknesses as Giannis and Oladipo, with elite physical tools and feel for the game for his position but a huge question mark as a perimeter skill player)

Other players I would compare Giannis to include Kawhi Leonard, Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala. All of whom like Giannis have impressive size and athleticism and great feel for the game, but are not truly natural perimeter scorers and finesse players. Some have compared Giannis to Paul George and Kevin Durant because of his physical tools, but George and Durant showed standout shooting talent in college and early in their careers. For Giannis to have similar upside he’d need to change the face of his shooting/skill game entirely. Whether a player can develop this much is up to interpretation, but personally I consider it quite unlikely.

I consider it defendable to take Giannis before all the other 2013 prospects if given teh choice, depending on the confidence one has in developing his skills and with the understandable apprehension about Anthony Bennett’s play so far. How do I feel about Bennett’s epic disaster of a rookie season? From a talent grading perspective I haven’t seen any reasons to make a major change. He is not hitting his perimeter shots, but taking them with such frequency, that one has to believe he makes them enough in practice (where he reportedly plays great) for the Cavs to believe they’ll start going in. Other than that he has the same combination of athleticism, strength, ballhandling and fluidity, that when added to perimeter skills, are the tools of a star. I consider the two ways for a player to be a star talent is to be above average in all 3 of my physical impact (Athleticism, ballhandling, size), skill impact (Shoot, post, pass), and feel for the game categories, or to have incredible/transcendent ability in at least one to make up for average or worse talent in another. For example Lamarcus Aldridge and James Harden are two stars who are above average in all three of my categories, while Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook have a combination of transcendent talents (Love’s feel for the game/skill impact, Westbrook’s physical impact) and no more than average ones (Love’s physical impact, Westbrook’s feel for the game). In this class I see Bennett as easily the best example of an “above average in all three” prospect, while my next highest prospects have holes. Schroeder, Oladipo, Giannis have everything but shooting, Olynyk and Kadji have average at best physical talents. Nobody is transcendent in a category based on what I can see, the closest are Nerlens Noel physically and Otto Porter’s feel for the game but Noel’s weak skill level/feel for the game and Porter’s weak athleticism is enough that I don’t see them as likely stars.

The concern with Bennett isn’t talent, it’s reaching his talent. It’s conceivable, even if a stretch, that Bennett ends up with a “broken confidence” complex that does to his career what Greg Oden’s knees did to his. Now there’s been so little prospects where confidence has been a long term problem after they settle into the league, that it’s hard to treat it as a major concern. But most prospects weren’t taken with the pressure of a #1 pick either. There’s also Bennett’s physical conditioning which wasn’t great even at UNLV and his shoulder surgery threw it way off, but with no bad words about his work ethic, I suspect that will get better by next season.. Overall, I’d say the odds are in favor of Bennett eventually hitting or nearing his talent level whatever it is, eventually. Whether it happens on the Cavaliers or not. I understand why some would choose otherwise, but because of the difference between a star and a great starter, I still wouldn’t blink taking Bennett before the other 2013 prospects available.

Written by jr.

January 4, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Checking in on 2012 draft favorites Meyers Leonard and Scott Machado

with 2 comments

A few months ago ago a comment asked me how I felt about my 2012 draft grades, a year and change into the prospects careers.

Although one year is still short to judge players, there have been hits and misses so far. For example compared to the ‘consensus’ opinion, my grades came out much lower on Thomas Robinson and Austin Rivers, rating them as non-top 20 and top 30 prospects respectively and both have been awful. Other prospects like Andrew Nicholson and Jared Sullinger rated higher in my system and have done well. Both my system and consensus opinion loved Anthony Davis and were fans of Bradley Beal and both have been successful. Both my system and the consensus draft order rated Michael Kidd-Gilchrist highly, but he has struggled to produce.

Other ratings do not look as successful so far. I’ve acknowledged my grades for Andre Drummond and Harrison Barnes were poor, as I weighted their underwhelming college production more heavily then than I do now when rating their feel for the game. Damian Lillard was also misrated after a poor reading from the low quality, usually handheld camera-filmed Weber State footage. The 2012 draft was the first using my talent grading system and my methods have greatly evolved since then, hopefully correcting some of these mistakes in teh future.

Two prospects people may claim my list is missing on is Meyers Leonard and Scott Machado, who rated 3rd and 4th most of the year in 2012 behind Anthony Davis and Jeremy Lamb. Leonard is currently receiving DNP-CDs in Portland after an OK rookie season, while Machado after going undrafted was signed and cut by a few teams, played largely in the D League and is rumored to have signed overseas with B.C. Partizan.

What’s going on with Leonard and Machado and do I retract my opinions of them? On one hand, ranking as high as they did, is in part due to rating Drummond, Barnes and Lillard too low for the reasons I outlined. But I would still rate them as starting talents at C and PG.

Leonard’s offensive development his rookie season was nothing too much to be worried about. He showed a strong midrange jumper and touch at the rim, while struggled to hold position in the post at his age. Overall the combination of midrange shooting and athleticism to roll to the rim, is a rare enough combination for a center to make a career out of even if his post game doesn’t develop.

Where he’s lost minutes is on the defensive end, where he’s been poor to put it lightly. Joel Freeland who’s offensive numbers are worse than Leonard’s, is an older player and experienced defender. Because the Blazers have been much more successful offensively than defensively the last 2 years with the play of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Lamarcus Aldridge, a defensively reliable backup center who struggles offensively fills a hole more than an a greater offensive producer with defensive problems.

Being a player with offensive talent who needs to improve defensively, is not a bad spot to be for a young player. Many young players struggle defensively before improving with age. While I do not rate Leonard’s feel for the game as more than average which hurts his defensive potential, his physical tools can eventually make an impact on that end. As Meyers Leonard’s defensive experience improves he will likely be usable enough on that end to get minutes on offensive merit, whether it’s on Portland or another team.

My opinion of Leonard’s talent is largely identical to before the draft. There are concerns about his maturity and not every player reaches their talent level if something’s wrong upstairs, but he appears to play and work hard.

Scott Machado’s future is more concerning. On one hand I would rate his talent as lower than I did before the draft. As with Barnes and Drummond, Machado’s near 10 assist per game colored my grades more than it would now. I rated his feel for the game as transcendent at the time, while now I would call it great if close to elite.

I believe Machado has the talent to be average attacking the basket off the dribble and shooting for an NBA PG. Logically, if added to an above average feel for the game and passing skills, it should all add together to an above average PG talent.

So far in the D League and summer league, preseason/training camp tryouts, he’s struggled to both attack the basket and shoot. The shooting results haven’t been too worrying. At Iona over 4 years he averaged 34.2% from 3pt and 74.0% from the FT line, with 40.4% 3pt and 81.1% FT his senior season. In the D League between two teams, regular season and playoff combined, he averaged 35.3% from 3 and 78.4% from the FT line, including 45% from 3 in the playoffs. Considering many players struggle to adjust to the NCAA 3pt line to NBA immediately, these are respectable results. Unfortunately with an NBA job on the line in summer league and preseason, he struggled shooting again.

Driving to the rim has been a more worrying struggle. I see Machado’s combination of quickness and physical strength as similar to Kyle Lowry’s, however he’s been inconsistent trying to drive into the paint, in part because of major struggles finishing at the rim.

I may have understated talent-based reasons why he’d struggle driving. He could have more ballhandling problems than I rated and although Machado has two of the major talents I look for in finishing at the rim in feel for the game and strength, it’s possible he has a flaw in touch at the rim holding him back. It’s difficult to see whether his early struggles driving and finishing are talent-based flaws or ones that development will correct. Notably, Machado did not excel scoring driving to the rim at Iona, albeit his role was heavily tilted towards pass-first play.

The good news is Machado appears to be made of “the right stuff” in work ethic and competitiveness, that may push him to developing enough to make an NBA job next time he tries despite early setbacks. Whatever talent he has, his chances of reaching it appears fair.

If I had to compare Meyers Leonard and Scott Machado’s talent to two players, it would be Marcin Gortat and Kyle Lowry, both of whom have had very good careers. That doesn’t guarantee they’ll get there, as I could be wrong about their talent in certain areas, in Machado’s case he may never come back to the NBA even if he plays well overseas and in general, no player is a guarantee to reach their talent. I rate more players as playing to their talent than most systems, but in a 450 player league there are inevitable enigmas. Other than obvious cases like Michael Beasley, Andray Blatche, Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green, other players who’s production vs talent confuses me includes Jrue Holiday, D.J. Augustin, Patrick Patterson, Eric Maynor, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jamal Crawford. Some of these players appear to be bad apples/jerks off the court, while others appear to struggle with toughness with physical contract and consistent effort. That Leonard and Machado play and work hard makes me believe they won’t be enigmas, but it’s possible.

All in all, it’s only been 1 year and less than a quarter of a season. For both Leonard and Machado and other players like Kidd-Gilchrist, Waiters, Robinson, they could look completely different by year 4 or 5. Even 2010 draft picks like John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Ed Davis, Eric Bledsoe are in a widely acknowledged “developmental” state, even in their 4th seasons. There is plenty of time.

2013 NBA Draft Talent Grades: The Power Forwards

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2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Small Forwards

2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Shooting Guards

2013 NBA Draft Rankings: The Point Guards

Here are my grades for the Power Forwards in the 2013 NBA Draft. The PFs I felt worth it or comfortable ranking were Anthony Bennett, Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Tony Mitchell, C.J. Leslie, Jackie Carmichael, Erik Murphy, James Southerland, Deshaun Thomas, Grant Jerrett, Kenny Kadji, Brandon Davies, D.J. Stephens, Dario Saric, Livio Jean-Charles, Richard Howell. (Nerlens Noel, Jeff Withey, Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, Lucas Nogueira, Mike Muscala, Ryan Kelly are among the debatable position players included as Cs)

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

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

What the overall grades mean:

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

Here are my grades in the 3 categories first, before getting to individual breakdowns:

Physical impact talent grades:

Anthony Bennett: 9 / Elite

Jackie Carmichael: 7 / Very good

C.J. Leslie: 7 / Very good

D.J. Stephens: 7 / Very good

Kenny Kadji: 7 / Very good

Kelly Olynyk: 6 / Decent

Tony Mitchell: 6 / Decent

Cody Zeller: 5 / Average

Livio Jean-Charles: 3 / Weak

Richard Howell: 3 / Weak

James Southerland: 3 / Weak

Dario Saric: 2 / Very poor

Grant Jerrett: 2 / Very poor

Brandon Davies: 2 / Very poor

Erik Murphy: 1 / Awful

Deshaun Thomas: 1 / Awful

Bennett leads the way for physical impact with his elite explosiveness, strength and the ballhandling to attack the basket off the dribble. Leslie and Stephens are arguably the two most explosive athletes of the group, but their skinny frames hurt their finishing talent. Carmichael has an impressive all around combination of explosiveness and strength. Kadji, Olynyk can get to the rim. Zeller slightly trails them due to ballhandling problems. Mitchell has a vertical, strength and length. The rest of the PFs are below the rim or stretch bigs.

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grades:

Anthony Bennett: 8 / Great

Deshaun Thomas: 8 / Great

Erik Murphy: 8 / Great

Grant Jerrett: 8 / Great

James Southerland: 8 / Great

Kelly Olynyk: 7 / Very good

Jackie Carmichael: 7 / Very good

Cody Zeller: 7 / Very good

Kenny Kadji: 7 / Very good

Tony Mitchell: 5 / Average

Dario Saric: 5 / Average

Livio Jean-Charles: 5 / Average

Brandon Davies: 5 / Average

Richard Howell: 4 / Lacking

C.J. Leslie: 4 / Lacking

D.J. Stephens: 3 / Weak

There are a slew of PFs with NCAA 3pt range such as Bennett, Thomas, Murphy, Jerrett, Southerland, Bennett is the least trustworthy shooter of the group but having the most post potential. Olynyk has solid midrange shooting and touch around the basket. Zeller likewise appears to have midrange potential, along with post touch. Carmichael has an excellent post game and signs of a solid shooting game. Kadji hit NCAA 3s and post touch, though his FT shooting put some doubt into whether he can hit NBA 3s. While I hesitate to give any players too low a grade in skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent due to development, the rest of the PFs are a work in progress. Saric, Jean-Charles, Davies, Howell, Leslie appear to have touch but not range. Stephens is the most raw skill player of the group, only finishing around the rim.

Feel for the Game talent grades:

Dario Saric: 10 / Incredible

Kelly Olynyk: 9 / Elite

Brandon Davies: 9 / Elite

Anthony Bennett: 8 / Great

Deshaun Thomas: 8 / Great

Erik Murphy: 8 / Great

Kenny Kadji: 7 / Very good

Cody Zeller: 7 / Very good

Jackie Carmichael: 7 / Very good

Grant Jerrett: 7 / Very good

James Southerland: 7 / Very good

Richard Howell: 7 / Very good

Livio Jean-Charles: 7 / Very good

C.J. Leslie – 7 / Very good

Tony Mitchell: 2 / Very poor

D.J. Stephens: 2/ Very poor

Saric leads the way in feel for the game, along with Porter the only player in the class I’ve given a feel for the game grade of 10 or higher to, as a rare, rare brand of special talent in the category. Olynyk and Davies are the next most impressive with their endlessly smooth, crafty games. Bennett, Thomas, Murphy, Kadji, Zeller, Carmichael, Jerrett, Southerland, Howell, Jean-Charles, Leslie all impress me in the category, showing fluidity and natural offensive feel. Mitchell and Stephens are the weak links, as largely stiff and raw athletes.

Individual rankings

Perennial all-star talent grades (Grades 25 or higher)

Anthony Bennett

Physical impact talent grade: 9 / Elite

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

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

My highest grading player in the draft, Bennett performs strongly in all three categories. His physical impact talent is significant with a combination of explosiveness, ballhandling, strength and length. This gives him a dynamic upside attacking the basket off the dribble and finishing.

Bennett is a smooth, fluid offensive player with a degree of craftiness off the dribble. His feel for the game is clear cut above average.

Finally, Bennett has shooting range out to the NCAA 3pt. With good FT%, he should at least be a midrange shooter in the NBA with developing 3pt range in play. In addition to this he has all the tools to add a post game later in his career with a huge strength level, low center of gravity and excellent touch. If he adds a 3pt shot, post game or both, my prsent skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade would be too low. It’d be too high if he only ended up an inconsistent midrange shooter.

With the upside to attack the basket, hit the perimeter shot and play in the post, Bennett has a huge offensive upside. In my opinion he’s the biggest star material in this draft. In addition I see him as the most surefire starter. Even if his shooting and post game ends up underhwelming, his athleticism, strength, feel and ballhandling make him a near surefire starting PF.

Blue Chip starter talent grades (Grades between 19-22)

Kelly Olynyk

Physical impact talent grade: 6 / Decent

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite

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

Olynyk’s strength is his elite feel for the game. A tremendously smooth, fluid and crafty player, he makes everything look easy and natural.

Kelly’s skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent is also impressive. He has a perimeter jumpshot, can create jumpshots off the dribble and excellent touch around the rim. It’s unclear whether he has NBA 3pt shooting potential, but he should have some semblance of a perimeter jumpshot, enough for an above average skill impact (shoot, post, past) talent grade for a PF.

Olynyk also has the ability to attack the basket off the dribble with a strong first step and ballhandling ability. His speed in transition and ability to finish vertically also shows his athleticism.

If the ability to attack the basket off the dribble and his shooting game translates, with his feel it should make him a starting PF in the NBA. With an NBA 3 which would push my skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade higher it’d push him near star status, while his status as a starter may get dicey if he doesn’t have a perimeter jumpshot in the NBA. I see Olynyk as one of the best prospects in the draft.

Jackie Carmichael

Physical impact 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)

Jackie Carmichael has an impressive combination of explosiveness and strength, allowing him to attack the basket with force. Better ballhandling could help him physically impact the game more. With respectable size for a PF, Carmichael’s physical impact talent to me is at least decent.

Carmichael’s strength and touch gives him an effective back the basket and mid-post skill game. He has a semblance of a perimeter shot, but needs to improve his range. Carmichael has the touch, signs of a shot and post game to get an above average skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade. If his post and shooting game doesn’t translate, his skill impact may be closer to average than this grade. However it could also be more impressive if he established a legitimate 15-20 foot game.

Carmichael also has an above average feel for the game, showing real craftiness around the basket and adjusting his plays, along with defensive instincts.

Jackie Carmichael has an excellent chance at starting at PF. He has strength, athleticism, a post game, signs of a shot and a good feel. In addition, his toughness and intangibles seems a strength.

Kenny Kadji

Physical impact 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)

Kadji is a nice all around talent. He had the 3 point shot as a weapon in the NCAA, albeit a 66.1% FT gives some worry to his mechanics. Still, it makes midrange shooting likely. Kadji also has the size to make some plays in the post and develop in that area in the NBA. Overall, it’s worthy of a decent skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade.

Kenny also has a solid ability to attack the basket thanks to his first step. Solid strength also helps him finish at the basket. I see this as worth as solid physical talent impact grade.

Finally, Kadji is also a relatively smooth, feel for the game friendly player.

Kadji isn’t dominant in any category, but with athleticism and strength, a perimeter shot, some post potential and a feel for the game, I see his chance at starting at PF as solid. He’d fall short of that if I overestimated his shooting skill or ability to attack the basket off the dribble.

Cody Zeller

Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

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

Zeller has quick feet, though a skinny frame and average ballhandling diminishes his ability to attack the basket off the dribble and physically impact the game. Nevertheless, average to decent physical impact talent seems fair.

Cody has excellent touch around the rim and the length to have a post game at PF. While his jumpshot is unproven, solid FT mechanics shows he has the potential to add a midrange shot.

Finally Zeller also has an above average feel for the game with instincts and ability to recognize space well.

Zeller has the skill, feel and athleticism to be a starter in the NBA. To lock up that status, he needs either his post game, shooting or both to translate well. If just a finisher at the rim he may struggle to hold his starting spot.

Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grades (Grades between 17-18)

C.J. Leslie

Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Leslie is one of the best athletes in the draft. He has an incredible first step and excellent agility for a power forward. However while this helps him get to the rim, he’s also skinny for a PF which may hurt his finishing.

C.J. also has an above average feel for the game. He is a fluid and natural offensive player who recognizes space well when attacking.

Leslie has problems as a skill player. Aside from a lack of a post game because of his frame, he also has a lack of a perimeter shooting game. His touch around the rim however is solid.

Leslie is an impressive talent because of his rare combination of explosiveness and feel. If his perimeter skill develops he can establish himself as a long term starting PF in the NBA. There are concerns about whether Leslie sees himself as more of a SF and may shy away from attacking the basket and he is known as having an enigmatic motor. However I see his talent as legitimate.

James Southerland

Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Deshaun Thomas

Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Erik Murphy

Physical impact: 1 / Awful

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Grant Jerrett

Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Southerland, Thomas, Murphy, Jerrett are similar prospects. All are stretch 4s, with range out to the NCAA 3pt in college and impressive FT% near 80% for bigs, a good sign for their range translating. All also have a smooth, fluid feel for the game. However, in classic stretch 4 fashion, their weakness is lacking the ability to create offense attacking the basket off the dribble. If their perimeter shooting translates, I expect very solid rotation players in the NBA. Elite 3 point shooting may even make them starters. However if their shooting falls off, their minutes and consistent place on a team could be in more jeopardy.

Dario Saric

Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 10 / Incredible

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Saric is an absolutely amazing feel for the game. He has a fluidity, instincts, anticipation and recognition of other players borderline on “basketball genius” territory.

However he is to an extent a one trick pony. His athleticism and strength level is poor and he’s used to playing on the perimeter, making it unlikely he physically impacts the game well at PF. Furthermore he also has a poor jumpshot even for a big man, albeit is a good passer. Giving his development the benefit of the doubt I don’t give him a rock bottom skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade, instead settling on average.

If Saric can get his perimeter shooting game in order to become more of a stretch big, he can approach starting status in the NBA because of the feel to compliment it. However if his skill game ends up near broken and lower than I graded him, he may be a stricter bench player. He is an intriguing player but I’m hesitant to say more than that, despite his amazing feel for the game.

Rotation player talent grades (Grades between 14-16)

Brandon Davies

Physical impact talent grade: 2 / Very poor

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 9 / Elite

Total: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Davies has an elite feel for the game only surpassed by Saric and matching Olynyk’s. One of those players who’s smoothness and easy, watery nature to his game jumps off the screen.

The rest of his talent is not great. He does have strong touch around the rim, though a lack of strength may prevent a consistent post game and he’s yet to prove he can be a perimeter shooter. His touch is enough for an average skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade.

His weakness is physical impact talent with unimpressive athleticism and strength making him a likely below the rim PF.

Davies feel makes him a likely rotation player in the NBA. If he can develop a perimeter shooting game, he has a chance to make a run at a starting spot at the NBA.

Livio Jean-Charles

Physical impact 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)

Richard Howell

Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 7 / Very good

Total talent grade: 14 (Rotation player talent grade)

These two prospects look to be similar to Davies, highlighted by a smooth feel to their games but struggling to showcase talent after that. Both are below the rim athletes and have untested skill games outside of finishing around the rim. The instincts and touch should keep them in the NBA.

Deep bench to rotation player talent grades (Grades between 12-13)

Tony Mitchell

Physical impact talent grade: 6 / Decent

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 2 / Very poor

Total talent grade: 13 (Deep bench to rotation player talent grades)

Tony Mitchell’s reputation is that of an elite athlete, but he’s one of those players who looks exceptionally athletic in out of game dunks, but his in-game athleticism disappointed me. His first step, agility and quickness off his feet look mediocre. With that said especially when his strength and length is considered, a grade below decent in physical impact talent seems unfounded.

Mitchell appears to love taking perimeter shots, but it’s yet to be seen whether he has the mechanics to translate that game at the next level. His post game and touch appears raw.

His weakness is a poor feel for the game. He is not a natural, smooth player and plays a low IQ game.

I still see Mitchell as having upside to be better than this, if he develops a strong perimeter shooting game or if my low physical impact grade for his reputation, ends up inaccurate. However reported poor intangibles are another reason to be cool on Mitchell. Overall Mitchell has enough flaws that I wouldn’t be interested in him.

D.J. Stephens

Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 2 / Very poor

Total talent grade: 12 (Deep bench to rotation player talent grade)

Stephens may the best athlete in the draft, his explosiveness is otherworldly. That’s where his strengths end. Physically he is undersized in height and weight. He doesn’t appear to have a natural feel for the game. Finally his skill game is untested outside of finishing garbage buckets at the rim, which may be difficult at his height and weight.

Stephens is so athletic that such as a player like Jeremy Evans, it may be enough for him to land a roster spot for a number of years. However I expect his inevitable dunk contest appearance will be a bigger highlight than any of his on-court minutes.

Total talent grade: 12

Factors outside of talent grades: Bennett has been banged up in high school and college. Leslie and Mitchell are known as having an enigmatic motor and possibly preferring to play PF. Jean-Charles and Saric may have buyout issues bringing them to the NBA. I have seen little of Jean-Charles and Jerrett and don’t have great confidence in my grades of them. Of these players Davies seems the only one unlikely to have a shot at playing another position, everyone else potentially getting minutes at SF or C.

If ranking these PFs by upside, I would order it: 1. Anthony Bennett 2. Kelly Olynyk 3. C.J. Leslie 4. Kenny Kadji 5. Cody Zeller 6. Jackie Carmichael 7. Dario Saric 8. James Southerland 9. Grant Jerrett 10. Tony Mitchell 11. Livio Jean-Charles 12. Brandon Davies 13. Deshaun Thomas 14. Erik Murphy 15. D.J. Stephens 16. Richard Howell. Leslie and Mitchell’s raw brand of athleticism does well here, while Saric, Jean-Charles, Jarrett are relative winners here due to unpredictability as I don’t have the greatest grasp on them. If ranking by downside (A high ranking is better), I’d order it: 1. Anthony Bennett 2. Kelly Olynyk 3. Jackie Carmichael 4. Kenny Kadji 5. Cody Zeller 6. Erik Murphy 7. Deshaun Thomas 8. Brandon Davies 9. James Southerland 10. Dario Saric 11. Grant Jerrett 12. C.J. Leslie 13. Richard Howell 14. Livio Jean-Charles 15. D.J. Stephens 16. Tony Mitchell. I feel relatively confident in what Murphy, Thomas, Davis, Southerland will do in the NBA, so they rate well in my downside rankings.

My final rankings of the PFs and where I’d consider taking them:

1. Anthony Bennett (top 3)
2. Kelly Olynyk (top 3)
3. Kenny Kadji (top 10)
4. Jackie Carmichael (top 10)
5. Cody Zeller (top 14)
6. C.J. Leslie (top 20)
7. James Southerland (top 30)
8. Grant Jerrett (top 30)
9. Deshaun Thomas (top 30)
10. Erik Murphy (top 30)
11. Dario Saric (top 30)
12. Brandon Davies (top 30)
13. Livio Jean-Charles (top 40)
14. Richard Howell (top 40)
15. Tony Mitchell (top 50)
16. D.J. Stephens (top 60)

My cumulative rankings (I’ve ranked PGs, SGs, SF and PFs so far) and where I’d consider taking them:

1. PF Anthony Bennett (top 3)
2. SG Victor Oladipo (top 3)
3. PF Kelly Olynyk (top 3)
4. PF Kenny Kadji (top 10)
5. PG C.J. McCollum (top 10)
6. PF Jackie Carmichael (top 10)
7. SG Ben McLemore (top 10)
8. SF Tony Snell (top 10)
9. SF Otto Porter (top 10)
10. SF Sergey Karasev (top 10)
11. PG Trey Burke (top 10)
12. PG Lorenzo Brown (top 14)
13. PF Cody Zeller (top 14)
14. PG Matthew Dellavedova (top 14)
15. SF Solomon Hill (top 14)
16. PG Myck Kabongo (top 20)
17. SG B.J. Young (top 20)
18. PF C.J. Leslie (top 20)
19. SG Jamaal Franklin (top 20)
20. SF Giannis Antetokoumpo (top 20)
21. SG Seth Curry (top 20)
22. PG Erick Green (top 20)
23. PG Shane Larkin (top 20)
24. PG Nate Wolters (top 20)
25. PG Isaiah Canaan (top 20)
26. PG Pierre Jackson (top 20)
27. PF James Southerland (top 30)
28. SG Glen Rice, Jr. (top 30)
29. SG Tim Hardaway, Jr. (top 30)
30. SF Shabazz Muhammad (top 30)
31. PF Grant Jerrett (top 30)
32. PF Deshaun Thomas (top 30)
33. PF Erik Murphy (top 30)
34. PF Dario Saric (top 30)
35. PF Brandon Davies (top 30)
36. SF Adonis Thomas (top 30)
37. SG Ricardo Ledo (top 30)
38. PG Michael Carter-Williams (top 40)
39. PG Dennis Schroeder (top 40)
40. SF Reggie Bullock (top 40)
41. SG Archie Goodwin (top 40)
42. SG Allen Crabbe (top 40)
43. SG Alex Abrines (top 40)
44. PF Livio Jean-Charles (top 40)
45. PF Richard Howell (top 40)
46. PF Tony Mitchell (top 50)
47. PG Phil Pressey (top 50)
48. PG Ray McCallum (top 50)
49. SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (top 50)
50. PF D.J. Stephens (top 60)
51. SG Brandon Paul (undrafted)

2013 NBA Draft Talent Grades: The Small Forwards

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2013 NBA Draft Talent Grades: The Shooting Guards

2013 NBA Draft Talent Grades: The Point Guards

Here are my talent grades for the Small Forwards in the 2013 NBA draft. The SFs I felt comfortable ranking or worth it were Otto Porter, Shabazz Muhammad, Giannis Antetokoumpo, Sergey Karasev, Reggie Bullock, Tony Snell, Solomon Hill, Adonis Thomas. (Dario Saric, James Southerland, C.J. Leslie, Tony Mitchell, Deshaun Thomas, D.J. Stephens are notable prospects who are rated as PFs)

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

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

What the overall grades mean:

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

Here are my grades in the 3 categories first, before getting to individual breakdowns:

Physical impact talent grades:

Solomon Hill: 8 / Great

Adonis Thomas: 7 / Very good

Giannis Antetokoumpo: 5 / Average

Tony Snell: 4 / Lacking

Sergey Karasev: 4 / Lacking

Otto Porter: 3 / Weak

Shabazz Muhammad: 3 / Weak

Reggie Bullock: 1 / Awful

Hill leads the way in physical impact talent with his explosive ability to get to the basket, with a strong frame to finish. Adonis Thomas is the best athlete of this group, though raw ballhandling hurting his ability to slash, prevents him from topping the group for physical impact. Snell is a good, long athlete, but doesn’t get to the rim as much as his athleticism, because of ballhandling problems. Giannis and Karasev are underwhelming athletes but can get to the rim based on ballhandling talent, Giannis also freakishly long.  Porter is freakishly long but lacks speed and ballhandling. Shabazz is also an unimpressive slasher due to explosiveness and ballhandling problems. Bullock is almost entirely a perimeter orientated player, without the speed or ballhandling to have a slashing game.

Skill impact (Shoot, post, pass) talent grades:

Tony Snell: 8 / Great

Sergey Karasev: 8 / Great

Otto Porter: 7 / Very good

Solomon Hill: 6 / Decent

Shabazz Muhammad: 6 / Decent

Reggie Bullock: 6 / Decent

Giannis Antetokoumpo: 5 / Average

Adonis Thomas: 4 / Lacking

Snell and Karasev are the standout shooters of the group. Snell has more trustworthy spot up shooting ability, but Karasev is better off the bounce. Both are solid passers. Hill, Porter, Muhammad, Bullock shot the ball well from 3 in college, but FT%s in the 70s makes me believe their shooting can go either direction in the pros. Porter also has impressive post and passing skills. Giannis and Thomas are unproven shooters, but I give most players the benefit of the doubt that they can develop into average shooters. Giannis is also a strong passer and has post potential.

Feel for the Game talent grades:

Otto Porter: 10 / Incredible

Sergey Karasev: 8 / Great

Tony Snell: 8 / Great

Giannis Antetokoumpo: 8 / Great

Shabazz Muhammad: 8 / Great

Reggie Bullock: 8 / Great

Solomon Hill: 5 / Average

Adonis Thomas: 5 / Average

Porter is the standout in this group, truly elite in the area for his controlled, slow, smooth game. Karasev, Snell, Giannis, Shabazz, Bullock are also smooth, strong feel for the game players. Hill and Thomas are not particularly natural players.

Ranking it individually:

Blue Chip starter talent (Grades between 19-22)

Tony Snell

Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

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

Snell is one of the better shooters in the draft, hitting 39.0% and 38.7% from 3pt in his junior and sophomore seasons respectively. Importantly, he backed this up with strong 84.3% and 83.1% FT clips those years. Snell excels at spot-up shots off the ball, but is not as impressive shooting off the dribble. He also shows flashes as a passer and has the length to develop a post game at SF. My skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade for Snell is thus strong.

Tony also has an impressive feel for the game. He’s a smooth, fluid player and on the occasions he does drive, he makes it look easy. Snell moves well off the ball and sees teammates well when passing.

Snell’s physical impact talent is a mixed bag. Although he’s a good athlete, Snell’s lack of ballhandling makes him a near non-threat as a slasher, instead relying on perimeter shots. A skinny frame may also hurt his ability to finish. In his favor, Snell has a long wingspan which should help him have physical impact defensively. The physical impact package when taken as a whole is unimpressive to average.

Snell has an excellent chance at being a starting SF who’s a sharpshooter and floor spacer from 3, while on the defensive end standing out because of length, athleticism and feel. This combination is very coveted, especially for advanced metrics favoring teams. If he fails to reach this, it’s likely by his 3 point shot failing to translate despite his strong present splits. While if Snell can develop to attack the basket at an above average level, it may push him towards star potential.

Otto Porter

Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 10 / Incredible

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

Otto Porter is a feel for the game freak of nature. I came to close to giving an ultra rare perfect grade of 11 in the category, but settled for a conservative 10. Otto plays with a natural smoothness, control and “slow-mo” pace reminiscent of players like Paul Pierce and Andre Miller. The instincts also show themselves in his rebounding, passing and defensive anticipation.

Porter lacks tools as a slasher. Otto is a subpar athlete, which with middling ballhandling hurts his ability to drive to the rim. Lacking strength there also hurts his ability to finish. On the positive side, freakish length for a SF should help his physical impact talent defensively.

Otto’s career to me hinges on his 3pt shooting. Although shooting an elite 42.2% from 3 as a sophomore, his 22.6% freshman 3pt clip combined with average 77.7% and 70.2% free throw campaigns, give doubt about trusting Otto as an elite shooter. His length does him post skill potential and he’s shown flashes as a playmaker. I settled on a very good, but not great skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade.

If Porter can become a standout 3pt and midrange shooter for a SF, pushing his skill impact grade higher than I pegged, he’d be a blue chipper and in the mix for top 5 players in this draft class. However if his shot fell apart in the pros, when combined with slashing flaws, his offensive game would struggle to find any foothold. For this reason I consider Otto a pick with significant blue chip upside, but also risk of him falling to an average career.

Sergey Karasev

Physical impact talent grade: 4 / Lacking

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

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

Karasev has an impressive combination of skill and feel for a SF. Plays with a high level of fluidity, control and recognizes teammates well. A crafty player with the ball in his hands. A clear case of high feel for the game.

Has turned himself into a great 3 point shooter, backed up by a FT% routinely over 80%. His excellent ballhandling helps him create shots off the bounce as well. Has shown signs of a playmaking game and has the height to have potential in the post. It’s not easy to find SFs with legitimate 3 point range and shot creating ability on the perimeter, Karasev deserves a high skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade.

Physical impact talent is his question mark. While he has impressive ballhandling to drive to the basket, his first step and speed is not impressive. At the rim he’s relatively grounded with an average body, which may hurt his finishing. His offensive game is likely to rely on perimeter scoring more than slashing. His average lateral quickness makes him a defensive question mark as well.

Presuming his shooting comes through like my skill impact grade projects, I believe Karasev has an excellent chance of starting at SF. Spacing, IQ and shot creating at the position, is valued in a starting lineup. Karasev fits a stereotype of skilled, smart European wing players in a good way. Put it this way, he’s Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs-y.

Solomon Hill

Physical impact 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)

Solomon Hill has a near elite first step, which when combined with good ballhandling and a strong frame, allows him to attack the basket and finish hard. Impressive length should also help his physical impact potential defensively. As a whole I rate him a great physical impact talent. Solomon’s understated physical impact talent reminds me of James Harden, where Harden not being a high flying type of athlete, hid how dynamic his speed and power attacking the rim was.

Hill has turned himself into a good NCAA 3pt shooter, hitting 39.0% and 38.9% his junior and sophomore seasons. However hitting 76.6% and 72.4% of his FTs is middling enough to make his shooting a question mark. His 3pt shooting in college is enough for me to give him a decent skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade.

Solomon’s feel for the game appears to be average. He at times can look out of control when driving to the rim, instead of fluid and natural. Nevertheless he recognizes teammates fairly well.

As a whole Solomon is an impressive talent. His ability to attack the basket should make him a starter presuming he can hit open jumpshots. If he turns himself into a dynamic perimeter scorer to compliment his driving game, he could be a true blue chip and near star at SF. With a poor shooting game his role would likely be caught between starting and the bench.

Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent (Grades between 17-18)

Giannis Antetokoumpo

Physical impact talent grade: 5 / Average

Skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 5 / Average

Feel for the Game talent: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 18 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent grade)

Giannis is clearly hard to nail down without great competition or footage out there, but this is the best I can do:

His strengths start with his strong feel for the game. Giannis is a fluid, controlled player who’s instincts and ability to sense teammates has apparently helped him be used in a point forward role.

However the one who may one day be nicknamed Scrabble is an underwhelming athlete for a SF, meaning despite solid ballhandling for a 3, his ability to create offense slashing to the rim may be limited. A skinny frame may hurt his ability to finish at the basket. Tremendous length for a SF helps his physical impact talent on the defensive end.

Antetokoumpo’s future as a shooter is difficult to peg. His FT% in the low 70s and that he’s not known as a shooter, indicate giving him a high grade in the area may be unwarranted. His length indicates post potential is there and he’s a good passer. My skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade for Giannis is average, however depending on the development of his shooting that grade could go higher or lower in the future. With my other talent grades, I project Giannis with a reliable 3 point shot and perimeter scoring game is a likely starter, if not blue chipper. With an average or poor shot, I suspect he’d be just average. As a whole Giannis is a poor man’s Otto Porter, with the high feel for the game, length, but underwhelming athleticism and a shooting game that could go either way.

Shabazz Muhammad

Physical impact talent grade: 3 / Weak

Skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade: 6 / Decent

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 17 (Rotation player to Blue Chip starter talent)

Muhammad is highlighted by an impressive feel for the game, with fluidity, craftiness and instincts. His feel helps him use his body against defenders well.

As a slasher Shabazz shows little tools. He has mediocre explosiveness and subpar ballhandling, the combination making it unlikely he blows by defenders to the rim. The strength advantages he’s had in high school and college should also disappear against NBA SFs, where his size doesn’t stand out. Shabazz does have a long wingspan which should help his physical impact defensively.

Muhammad shot 37.7% from 3 his freshman year at UCLA which is fine, but a mediocre 71.7% from the FT line is a worrying number that his outside shot could go in the wrong direction in the NBA. Shabazz does have strong touch around the basket and some post skills. Taken as a whole, my skill impact (shoot, post, pass) grade for Shabazz is a decent one, but not great or elite.

If Shabazz turns himself into an elite 3pt shooter for a SF, he has the feel and length to be a starter and blue chipper. However that comes with the equal risk that his shooting doesn’t translate, which without a great slashing game gives Bazz little to lean on offensively.

Rotation player talent (Grades between 14-16)

Adonis Thomas

Physical impact talent grade: 7 / Very good

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 5 / Average

Total talent grade: 16 (Rotation player talent grade)

Adonis Thomas has a strong combination of athleticism, strength and length for a small forward that made him a top high school recruit once upon a time. He can get to the rim, albeit raw ballhandling prevents a more dynamic slashing game. He’ll likely physical impact the game defensively at a respectable level.

Thomas appears to have a middling feel for the game, neither standing out in a positive or negative way. He does particularly show fluidity when driving, but isn’t out of control either.

Adonis perimeter shooting game is raw right now with a 29.2% 3pt, though a free throw percentage of 75.2% gives hope his mechanics aren’t broken. My skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade for Adonis is a lacking 4, giving benefit of the doubt he can develop from poor to average in the area.

Thomas is likely to stick long term in the NBA regardless of his shot, because of his physical tools which will likely allow him to defend SGs and SFs. If he can develop a 3 point shooting game he can make a run at a consistent starting role. Thomas should look to a player like Quincy Pondexter as a model to follow, Quincy starting as an athletic defensive specialist before developing his perimeter skill enough to find a foothold in NBA rotations.

Reggie Bullock

Physical impact talent grade: 1 / Awful

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

Feel for the Game talent grade: 8 / Great

Total talent grade: 15 (Rotation player talent grade)

Bullock’s feel for the game is a strength. He plays a smooth, fluid, easy game. Known as a lockdown shooter after hitting 38.2% from 3 as a sophomore and 43.6% as a junior, however middling FT% of 72.7% and 76.7% gives doubt to those numbers and indicates Reggie is not a lock as a shooter. Bullock is also more of a spot up shooter than one who excels shooting off the bounce. My skill impact (shoot, post, pass) talent grade for Bullock is decent, but not great.

His weakness is scoring attacking the basket. Bullock is a mediocre athlete and has nearly non-existent ballhandling skills. An average body also doesn’t help him finish or make a physical impact defensively. Bullock may end up one of the most perimeter orientated SFs in the league.

For Bullock to start in the NBA he needs his 3pt shooting to be among the best for his position. That’s conceivable, however with an average or poor jumpshot he may be nearly unplayable without a slashing game to lean on.

Factors outside of talent grades: Unless Karasev or Antetokoumpo have buyout issues I’m unaware of, I see no reason to differentiate by character or health for these players. One could make an argument Shabazz being groomed into a future NBA star his whole live could create a conceivable problem if he’s not ready to accept he’s more Wesley Matthews than Kobe Bryant as a talent. But I tend to shy away from judging players characters like that without further information about them. Karasev, Shabazz, Thomas, Bullock may be able to fill minutes at the SG spot. Hill and Porter, Antetokoumpo if they bulk up, may be able to challenge PF minutes.

If ranking by upside alone I’d rank the SFs 1. Tony Snell 2. Otto Porter 3. Sergey Karasev 4. Solomon Hill 5. Giannis Antetokoumpo 6. Shabazz Muhammad 7. Adonis Thomas 8. Reggie Bullock. If ranking by downside: 1. Tony Snell 2. Sergey Karasev 3. Otto Porter 4. Solomon Hill 5. Giannis Antetokoumpo 6. Shabazz Muhammad 7. Adonis Thomas 8. Reggie Bullock. The only difference is Porter’s upside if he can develop into an elite shooter, moves closer to elite than players like Karasev and Hill. Otherwise, all these players at their best are blue chip starters (with Snell and Porter stars at best) and at worst, between tweener starter/bench players and bench player.

Final SF rankings and where I’d consider taking them:

1. Tony Snell (top 10)
2. Otto Porter (top 10)
3. Sergey Karasev (top 10)
4. Solomon Hill (top 20)
5. Giannis Antetokoumpo (top 20)
6. Shabazz Muhammad (top 30)
7. Adonis Thomas (top 30)
8. Reggie Bullock (top 40)

Cumulative list (I’ve ranked PGs, SGs and SFs so far) and where I’d consider taking them:

1. SG Victor Oladipo (top 5)
2. SG Ben McLemore (top 10)
3. SF Tony Snell (top 10)
4. PG C.J. McCollum (top 10)
5. SF Otto Porter (top 10)
6. SF Sergey Karasev (top 10)
7. PG Trey Burke (top 10)
8. PG Lorenzo Brown (top 14)
9. PG Matthew Dellavedova (top 14)
10. SF Solomon Hill (top 14)
11. PG Myck Kabongo (top 20)
12. SG B.J. Young (top 20)
13. SG Jamaal Franklin (top 20)
14. SF Giannis Antetokoumpo (top 20)
15. SG Seth Curry (top 20)
16. PG Erick Green (top 20)
17. PG Shane Larkin (top 20)
18. PG Nate Wolters (top 20)
19. PG Isaiah Canaan (top 20)
20. PG Pierre Jackson (top 20)
21. SG Glen Rice, Jr. (top 30)
22. SG Tim Hardaway, Jr. (top 30)
23. SF Shabazz Muhammad (top 30)
24. SF Adonis Thomas (top 30)
25. SG Ricardo Ledo (top 30)
26. PG Michael Carter-Williams (top 40)
27. PG Dennis Schroeder (top 40)
28. SF Reggie Bullock (top 40)
29. SG Archie Goodwin (top 40)
30. SG Allen Crabbe (top 40)
31. SG Alex Abrines (top 40)
32. PG Phil Pressey (top 50)
33. PG Ray McCallum (top 50)
34. SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (top 60)
35. SG Brandon Paul (undrafted)