Ranking the top 11 NCAA prospects at each position

Ben McLemore

Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore

 

Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is over, we know where each team will pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. That means that now is the perfect time to get in some quick analysis of the top draft prospects (before Yogi and Booboo make an appearance). On Thursday, I used NCAA Wins Produced to determine how productive the top 25 NCAA draft prospects were in this past college season. Today I’ll be looking at the top 11 prospects at each position (so I am looking at 30 more players than I did last time).

Earlier this year we unveiled Wins Produced numbers for college basketball players. This model works for college just like it does for the NBA. Now, keep in mind that college performance does not predict NBA performance perfectly; this list should only be seen as information about how a player performed in college last year. Just because a player played well (or not well) in college last season does not mean he will play well (or not well) in the NBA. But players who are productive in college have a somewhat better chance of being productive in the NBA (relative to those who are not productive in college).

When analyzing the table below, please also note the following:

  • The numbers I’ve used below do not include games played in this year’s NCAA tournament. We will update this analysis in the future.
  • Pay attention to our position assignment. This may not be the position the player will play in the NBA. And as these positions were assigned by an automated process (developed by Arturo Galletti), it also may not have been the position played in college. Position averages for ADJP40 are provided if you wish to calculate WP40 at different positions.
  • The top 11 NCAA prospects at each position comes from Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports. Goodman’s list was last updated on April 29th, which means that these rankings were tabulated before the NBA Draft Combine. As a side note (and this is part of some current research I am working on), it should be noted that the measurements taken at the combine do not appear to be related to future NBA performance or where a player is taken in the draft. In other words, the combine is probably meaningless.
  • There is no statistical relationship between the CBS Rankings and the ADJP40 rankings. In other words, how productive a player was in the NCAA last year — as measured by the Wins Produced model — is not correlated with the CBS prospect ranking.  Given how players are evaluated by the NBA in the draft (and this is also part of current research), this isn’t really surprising (and more will be said on this later).

With that in mind, the tables below take Goodman’s top 11 NCAA players at each position (the list stops at 11 because Goodman only had 11 small forwards) and rank them by ADJP40. That means that this list does not necessarily include the top NCAA players in terms of wins, WP40, or ADJP40; I’m simply re-ranking CBS Sports’ top NCAA prospects by their raw productivity (which is their productivity before the positional adjustment). Each player is grouped according to the position used by Goodman in his rankings. Players who were below average (below average for an NCAA player — not for a player drafted out of the NCAA) for their grouped position are indicated in red.

Point Guards

Player School Class Estimated NCAA Position WP40 Wins CBS Position Rank ADJP40
Nate Wolters South Dakota State Sr. 3.01 0.236 7.2 9 0.485
Ray McCallum Detroit Mercy Jr. 2.03 0.229 6.7 11 0.456
Trey Burke Michigan Soph. 1.06 0.246 7.2 1 0.453
Erick Green Virginia Tech Sr. 2.31 0.202 5.9 10 0.435
Shane Larkin Miami (FL) Soph. 1 0.227 6.8 3 0.433
Michael Carter-Williams Syracuse Soph. 2.01 0.186 5.7 2 0.413
Isaiah Canaan Murray State Sr. 1.1 0.183 5.2 5 0.391
Pierre Jackson Baylor Sr. 1 0.183 4.9 8 0.389
Myck Kabongo Texas Soph. 1 0.171 1.6 6 0.377
Lorenzo Brown NC State Jr. 1.97 0.142 3.9 4 0.367
Phil Pressey Missouri Jr. 1 0.111 3.1 7 0.317

Shooting Guards

Player School Class Estimated NCAA Position WP40 Wins CBS Position Rank ADJP40
Victor Oladipo Indiana Jr. 2.84 0.318 7.4 2 0.563
Reggie Bullock North Carolina Jr. 3.17 0.264 6.8 9 0.518
Ben McLemore Kansas Fr. 2.21 0.237 6.5 1 0.468
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Georgia Soph. 2.61 0.222 6.0 7 0.462
C.J. McCollum Lehigh Sr. 2.69 0.22 2.0 4 0.461
Jamaal Franklin San Diego State Jr. 2.96 0.17 4.2 8 0.417
Allen Crabbe California Jr. 3 0.143 4.0 6 0.392
Tony Snell New Mexico Jr. 3.09 0.109 2.9 10 0.36
Shabazz Muhammad UCLA Fr. 3.84 0.074 1.7 3 0.35
Tim Hardaway Jr. Michigan Jr. 3.05 0.083 2.3 11 0.332
Archie Goodwin Kentucky Fr. 2.72 0.057 1.5 5 0.299

Small Forwards

Player School Class Estimated NCAA Position WP40 Wins CBS Position Rank ADJP40
D.J. Stephens Memphis Sr. 3.23 0.358 7.1 8 0.614
Otto Porter Georgetown Soph. 4.33 0.228 6.0 1 0.517
Elias Harris Gonzaga Sr. 4 0.232 5.9 9 0.513
Ryan Broekhoff Valparaiso Sr. 4 0.198 5.9 11 0.479
James Ennis Long Beach State Sr. 2.96 0.219 5.9 10 0.467
Carrick Felix Arizona State Sr. 3.14 0.202 5.9 7 0.455
James Southerland Syracuse Sr. 4 0.168 3.5 3 0.449
Solomon Hill Arizona Sr. 3.39 0.153 4.0 5 0.414
Deshaun Thomas Ohio State Jr. 3.71 0.13 3.8 2 0.402
Rodney Williams Minnesota Sr. 4 0.114 2.5 4 0.395
Adonis Thomas Memphis Soph. 4 0.047 1.2 6 0.328

Power Forwards

Player School Class Estimated NCAA Position WP40 Wins CBS Position Rank ADJP40
Kelly Olynyk Gonzaga Jr. 4.53 0.318 6.1 2 0.611
Alex Oriakhi Missouri Sr. 5 0.302 6.4 11 0.606
Mason Plumlee Duke Sr. 4.62 0.239 6.7 3 0.534
Anthony Bennett UNLV Fr. 4.63 0.234 5.3 1 0.529
Andre Roberson Colorado Jr. 4.17 0.235 5.9 6 0.52
Richard Howell NC State Sr. 4.13 0.224 6.0 8 0.508
Jackie Carmichael Illinois State Sr. 5 0.204 5.2 10 0.508
Erik Murphy Florida Sr. 4.52 0.205 4.4 7 0.498
Tony Mitchell North Texas Soph. 4.6 0.172 4.5 5 0.467
Grant Jerrett Arizona Fr. 5 0.127 1.8 9 0.43
C.J. Leslie NC State Jr. 5 0.063 1.7 4 0.366

Centers

Player School Class Estimated NCAA Position WP40 Wins CBS Position Rank ADJP40
Mike Muscala Bucknell Sr. 5 0.332 8.7 7 0.636
Nerlens Noel Kentucky Fr. 4 0.328 6.3 1 0.609
Zeke Marshall Akron Sr. 5 0.29 6.5 9 0.594
Gorgui Dieng Louisville Jr. 5 0.268 5.7 4 0.572
Jeff Withey Kansas Sr. 5 0.261 6.8 6 0.565
Cody Zeller Indiana Soph. 5 0.233 5.7 3 0.537
Colton Iverson Colorado State Sr. 5 0.221 5.4 8 0.525
Steven Adams Pittsburgh Fr. 5 0.216 3.9 5 0.52
Alex Len Maryland Soph. 5 0.199 4.5 2 0.503
Aziz N’Diaye Washington Sr. 5 0.161 3.9 10 0.465
Mouphtaou Yarou Villanova Sr. 5 0.157 3.6 11 0.461

As promised, if you want to re-calculate a player’s WP40 for a different position, here are the ADJP40 averages by position:

  • PG: 0.309
  • SG: 0.329
  • SF: 0.351
  • PF: 0.384
  • C: 0.406

– DJ (with a whole bunch of editorial and writing help from Devin)

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