College Numbers for Players Selected in the 2014 NBA Draft

Arturo Galletti at BoxScoreGeeks.com has written extensively on the 2014 NBA draft.  Part of his work is based on my analysis of the 2013-14 college data (which Arturo also helped put together).  Now that the draft is over, I thought people here might want to just see what each player did in college last year.

The following table reports each player’s Wins Produced per 40 minutes during the 2013-14 season (except for P.J. Hairston, whose numbers are from 2012-13).  These numbers are estimated according to the position the player is supposed to play in the NBA (according to ESPN.com).

In looking at these numbers I want to emphasize the following:

  • A player’s production in college is the only thing I have found to consistently predict NBA performance.  Team success and combine variables – which do impact draft position – do not seem to predict future performance.
  • Because draft position is based on factors that do not predict future production, draft position – by itself – explains less than 10% of the variation in an NBA player’s per-minute production.
  • Draft position, though, does explain minutes played (as academic research has noted for almost twenty years).  So if you look at total NBA production and draft position you will see a much higher correlation.
  • Although college production is related to NBA production, the explanatory power tends to be around 30% or 40% (depending on the model specification).  So there is a tendency for players who are productive in college to be productive NBA players (or players who are not productive to fail to produce in the NBA).  But as I have noted before, a tendency is not destiny.  Players who did well in college are not guaranteed to be successful NBA players (and those who failed in college are not doomed to fail in the NBA).  That being said… if your team selected a player further down each position ranking you have some reason to be less optimistic.

So those are my qualifiers. And here is the list.

Pick Current Team Player NBA

Position

College

WP40

6 Celtics Marcus Smart 1 0.274
38 Pistons Spencer Dinwiddie 1 0.271
10 Magic Elfrid Payton 1 0.270
24 Heat Shabazz Napier 1 0.254
18 Suns Tyler Ennis 1 0.218
59 Nets Xavier Thames 1 0.212
46 Lakers Jordan Clarkson 1 0.107
55 Thunder Semaj Christon 1 0.106
13 Timberwolves Zach LaVine 1 0.072
22 Grizzlies Jordan Adams 2 0.243
26 Hornets P.J. Hairston 2 0.232
47 Pelicans Russ Smith 2 0.230
44 Nets Markel Brown 2 0.208
8 Kings Nik Stauskas 2 0.181
42 Rockets Nick Johnson 2 0.158
28 Clippers C.J. Wilcox 2 0.152
33 Cavaliers Joe Harris 2 0.152
19 Nuggets Gary Harris 2 0.139
1 Cavaliers Andrew Wiggins 2 0.132
23 Jazz Rodney Hood 2 0.125
58 76ers Jordan McRae 2 0.122
32 76ers K.J. McDaniels 3 0.235
39 76ers Jerami Grant 3 0.190
34 Knicks Cleanthony Early 3 0.182
48 Hawks Lamar Patterson 3 0.181
2 Bucks Jabari Parker 3 0.171
11 Bulls Doug McDermott 3 0.153
14 Suns T.J. Warren 3 0.144
37 Raptors DeAndre Daniels 3 0.130
56 Magic Roy Devyn Marble 3 0.116
40 Timberwolves Glenn Robinson III 3 0.115
17 Celtics James Young 3 0.075
30 Spurs Kyle Anderson 4 0.302
21 Thunder Mitch McGary 4 0.291
35 Grizzlies Jarnell Stokes 4 0.278
9 Hornets Noah Vonleh 4 0.239
7 Lakers Julius Randle 4 0.215
49 Bulls Cameron Bairstow 4 0.182
4 Magic Aaron Gordon 4 0.178
29 Thunder Josh Huestis 4 0.163
60 Spurs Cory Jefferson 4 0.161
45 Hornets Dwight Powell 4 0.142
15 Hawks Adreian Payne 4 0.135
36 Bucks Johnny O’Bryant 4 0.049
3 76ers Joel Embiid 5 0.299
50 Suns Alec Brown 5 0.097

 

One should note (and this is a quick list — there is much one could note)….

  • the most productive college player went to the Spurs, who picked last in the first round.
  • the Sixers picked the top center and two of the top small forwards.  They also picked – at the end of the draft – the least productive shooting guard.
  • and the Jazz picked one of the least productive shooting guards in the first round and traded one of the most productive power forwards (Jarnell Stokes) in the second round.  They also took an international player in the lottery (that I think I will comment on again in the future).

Again, the data just shows tendencies, not destinies.  So some of the unproductive players could be better.  And the productive could disappoint.   But for those who are interested, this is what each player did in college this past season.

- DJ

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