The following charts show the performance of draft-eligible college players based on Prof. Berri’s NCAA Wins Produced per 40 minutes coefficients. However, I added a bit of a twist.
Rather than using the players’ listed positions, I calculated their “true” positions based on the statistics that I outlined in my previous post. Meanwhile, Arturo had also created a calculated position based on the players’ body-mass index. Each of the approaches to estimating the player’s “true” position seemed to add a little that the other lacked so, for this exercise, I took the average of the two estimates.
I then calculated a “performance slope” by position, allowing me to create a custom position adjustment for each player. The performance slope for college players turned out to be very linear. There was none of the non-linearity that we saw with NBA point guards.
To avoid overcrowding, the charts only show US college players who are listed in the Draft Express Top 100. However, we had to spice thing up a bit. To accomplish this, I re-inserted a few of the highest performing players who didn’t make the Draft Express list.
WARNING: Past college performance is not a guarantee of future NBA success! Arturo’s model (which should be posted tomorrow) adjusts for factors like size, age, and level of college competition, and it also doesn’t come with any guarantees. But it does as good a job as any at collapsing the uncertainty that is the NBA Draft. Stay tuned!
How to read these charts
Each bubble represents one of the draft-eligible players. The greener dots represent players who are ranked more highly on the Draft Express list and the dark red dots show players who didn’t make the list at all. The size of the bubbles represents minutes played per game; the larger the diameter, the greater the minutes. The y-axis measures college performance after the revised position adjustment, while the calculated positions are shown on the x-axis. Reference lines show standard deviations to give you a sense of the distribution of the players being measured.
With that out of the way, instead of posting a chart that includes all of the players at once, I’ve put together a few images that will hopefully help to reduce the information overload. Below are four charts — Expected lottery picks, Top 15, D-League gold, and Buyer beware — that contain some of the most interesting comparisons. Charts containing players at each position — point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards and centers — follow, if you want to compare players who play similar positions.
Expected lottery picks
Some of these players are also the best college performers, as we’d hope. However, it’s hard to understand what NBA GMs see in Shabazz Muhammad and Alex Len other than physical potential.
These are the best college performers from 2012-13. Some — like Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, and Kelly Olynyk — are well-known; others — like Mike Hart — are a bit more obscure.
Here I’ve highlighted players who could very well go undrafted, but who played quite well in college. One of them could emerge from the D-League like Jeremy Lin, or possibly win one of the last spots on a team’s training camp roster. Of this group, only Arsalan Kazemi and possibly D.J. Stephens seem likely to be drafted.
These players weren’t very productive in the NCAA, but are likely to be selected in the draft, some even in the lottery. Particularly of note are Shabazz Muhammad, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Tony Mitchell.
A couple of surprise unknowns at the top of this list. However, the consensus top two, Trey Burke and Shane Larkin, also look strong. Some of the hybrid PG/SGs would be straight SGs had I not included the BMI adjustment in the mix.
Oladipo is the best player across all positions. He is followed by Mike Hart, a role-player at Gonzaga who got limited minutes but was incredibly efficient when he played.
The stat-based position adjustment allows Kelly Olynyk to slip in here as a hybrid SF/PF (due to all his threes) and he tops the list. Otto Porter also looks strong, but there are a bunch of relative unknowns near the top as well.
Power Forwards and Centers
Nerlens Noel is at the top and Mike Muscala is very, very strong. However, two of the strongest, D.J. Stephens and Arsalan Kazemi, who both proved themselves in the tourney, could easily go undrafted.
I hope that will help to hold you off while you wait for Arturo to post his model!