Looking Back at the 1992 Draft

Alonzo Mourning has announced that he will return for one more season. In making the announcement Mourning said he was unhappy with how the 2006-07 season ended.

“I want to redeem myself and try to help this team redeem ourselves as an organization and try to get back on track,” Mourning said. “That wasn’t the Miami team you saw in the playoffs last year. … I was embarrassed. I was truly embarrassed by that outcome. I know for a fact we’re a better team. It left a sour taste in my mouth and it’s time to really end it all on the right note.”

He went on to add

“I want us to finish off on a very strong note,” Mourning said. “I’m speaking on behalf of the organization. I don’t think we’re going to settle for anything less than getting to the finals and having an opportunity to win a championship.”

From these statements it appears that Mourning believes he is capable of contributing to Miami’s success. The data says otherwise. Last year Mourning only produced 1.5 wins in 1,572 minutes of action. This results in a Wins Produced per 48 minutes [WP48] of 0.045 (which is below the average mark of 0.100).

One could go through the data and note why Mourning failed to contribute much (rebounding is one factor to focus upon). But the data is not the story here. Where we need to look is at the calendar.

Mourning was selected with the second pick in the 1992 draft, which was 15 years ago. Last season there were four other players playing in the NBA, like Mourning, who heard their name called on draft night in 1992. These four included Shaquille O’Neal, Robert Horry, Doug Christie, and P.J. Brown. Of these five players, only Shaq has a WP48 that was above average. Christie and Brown were both in the negative range.

Still Mourning insists he must come back because he refuses to leave the game unless he can contend for a title. Unfortunately, it looks like the kids drafted in 1992 have lost the battle to Father Time. Mourning may still believe he is as good as he once was, but it doesn’t look like that belief is matching reality.

Once upon a time, though, Mourning was a very good player. He wasn’t Shaq, but he was quite good. And the same can be said of Horry, Christie, and Brown. Each of these players were among the very best from the class of 92.

Speaking of that class, yesterday I looked at the class of 94. Last week I looked at the 1993 draft class. Today, let’s take a look at both the first and second round from 1992.

Table One: Revisiting the 1992 NBA Draft

Once again, players are ranked in terms of Career Wins Produced. Shaq is the leader of the pack. In his fifteen year career he has produced 247.7 wins with a WP48 of 0.331.

After O’Neal comes a surprise. P.J. Brown has produced 110.3 wins in his career, a mark that just edges out Mourning. Now Brown was in the negative range last year. So if he comes back, and Mourning can stay in the positive range, it’s possible for Mourning to re-claim the number two spot without playing many minutes. Still, the fact that a player chosen in the second round in 1992 is in the top three is surprising (by the way, Brown leads this class in games played).

Other interesting or semi-interesting notes from this draft…

– Jon Barry was the 9th most productive player in the draft and finished his career with an above average WP48 (average is 0.100).

– Popeye Jones – a second round pick like Brown – was also well above average.

– Lottery picks Jim Jackson, LaPhonso Ellis, Walt Williams, and Todd Day were below average. Still, seven of the first eleven players chosen in 1992 went on to be above average players marking this as a better lottery than what we saw in 1993 or 1994.

– After the lottery, only three other first round picks – Christie, Barry, and the much maligned Oliver Miller – were above average. Perhaps the biggest non-lottery disappointment was Harold “Baby Jordan” Miner. Miner produced only 0.3 wins in 200 games in his career. That is more than a bit short of the mark set by MJ.

– The average player taken in the first round had a WP48 of 0.115, which is about what we saw in 1994. This is much better than what we saw for the 1993 draft.

– Apparently Tony Bennett the singer has produced more NBA wins than Tony Bennett the player. The latter produced -1.9 wins while the singer never produced any. Not sure what that means. Perhaps it means its time to end this post.

– DJ

Update: DJiddish noted in the comments that the numbers on Matt Geiger were incorrect. The table has been updated with correct totals for Geiger. Thanks DJiddish for catching this.

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