Interview With HoopsAnalyst’s Ed Weiland

Maybe the web’s worst kept secret is the fantastic NBA analysis done at HoopsAnalyst.com. Recently Ed Weiland and Harlan Schreiber did a 7 part series statistically inspecting this year’s draft crop. (The links to each section: PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C). Since they did such a wonderful job pre-draft, I decided to ask Ed some questions post-draft.

KB: You had Rose as the top prospect in the draft while both Hollinger and Doerr had Beasley over Rose. What did you see in Rose that gave him the edge over Beasley?

EW: Rose was a more complete player. There were really no weaknesses when I compared his stats with great PGs of the past. With Beasley and Love the defensive numbers were a little low when compared to great PFs. My rating system looks first at whether a player performs at a high enough level in certain statistics that are important for his position. For a PG that would be points/40, assists/40, fg%, and the sum of rebounds, steals and blocks per 40 minutes. Also important for a PG is an ability to get to the line and keeping his A/TO above 1.5 or so. If a player falls short of levels successful prospects have historically hit, I will penalize them regardless of how well their other numbers look.

There was nothing in Rose’s numbers that were eye-popping, as there were with Beasley and Love. He comfortably hit all the levels successful PGs needed to hit in every important statistic. Additionally I was also impressed with how well Rose cut down on his TOs late in the year. From what I’ve seen, the ability to play an all-around game is more important for a prospect than the ability to pile up great numbers in a couple of categories.

Beasley and Love were both penalized for substandard defensive numbers. Combine that with Rose’s obvious speed, strength and athleticism and the fact that a good PG is rarer than a good PF and the decision to put Rose at the top was pretty easy. Nothing against Beasley or Love. Both are great prospects who should become great NBA players. I would have been happy to get any one of the 3. If the Hornets, Celtics or any other team that appears set with a good, young PG had been choosing first, obviously they should go for Beasley.

KB: Just about all statistical analysts had Marreese Speights ranked pretty high, but he wasn’t drafted until 16th (the 6th big man taken). Why do you think there was such a disparity in his value?

EW: Us stat guys look at his per minute stats and see a player who has performed at a level comparable to all-time greats. But we’re not the ones whose jobs are on the line if we take him with the 5th pick and Marreese can’t keep himself in good enough shape to play hard for 35 minutes a game.
My logic on ranking Speights high is this: I’d rather bring in a player like him who might be great, as opposed to someone like Jason Thompson or Robin Lopez who I’m certain won’t be. Teams can usually find a adequate fill-in for the exception. Any chance a team has to land a great or all-star caliber player should not be blown. Speights has that potential.

KB: Roy Hibbert was another player who did well by statistical standards. Do you think his glacieresque crosscourt speed will be a bigger hindrance in the NBA than it was on the college level?

EW: Yes, just about any weakness will be magnified in the NBA. I still feel Hibbert can be an effective role player. He’s tall enough to make the transition and he’s always been a very effective defender in college.

There are some matchups where he’ll need some help, but he can be an effective grinder for 20-25 minutes per game and as a center that makes him a valuable player.

KB: The biggest post day draft news was the Love-Mayo swap. Who do you think got the better of the deal?

EW: Minnesota and this one isn’t even close. Love was a better prospect than Mayo to start with. That they were able to get a player as good as Mike Miller thrown in is amazing. Chris Wallace has clearly filled the void left by Isiah Thomas as the go-to GM when a lopsided trade is needed to boost a team to the next level. I can’t see Mayo replacing Miller’s numbers for at least a few seasons, if ever. The most puzzling thing about the trade was that Love seemed like a perfect fit in Memphis.

KB: There are concerns that Mayo and Westbrook might be too short to become the great defenders at shooting guard that they were in college. What position do you see them playing and how do you see their defense translating in the pros?

EW: Westbrook is a 1 and Mayo is a 2. Westbrook doesn’t score often enough to think he could play the 2, Mayo doesn’t pass well enough to think he could play the 1. Neither is so short, like say Mario Chalmers, that I’d worry about their defensive numbers not carrying over. I think both will be OK there.

Mayo impressed me with his hustle on defense whenever I watched him play. He’s raw and that probably means he’s going to occasionally get beat and look bad from time to time as a rookie, but long term he should be fine. Westbrook also looks like a strong defender. He’s the hard working type who will do what it takes to get the job done defensively at the next level. I worry more about his offense and ability to run the point than his defense.

KB: Between yourself, Doerr, and Hollinger, only Doerr included a statistical analysis of international players. What is the biggest hurdle from analyzing them?

EW: I just don’t have enough data on foreign players where I can compare a player like Gallinari with previous successful and unsuccessful prospects. What I do with foreign players is try to get stats for as many years as a I can and try to make the best call I can using that information. The big guys are fairly simple, just see that they’re good rebounders, shotblockers and high pct. shooters. The biggest difference that I’ve seen between the NCAA stats and international are the scorers don’t hand out as many assists in Europe and the younger players who are pro prospects often aren’t big time scorers.

KB: Danilo Gallinari: great pick, or the greatest pick of all time?

EW: The greater a pick he becomes, the bigger a threat he is to America. I don’t think he’s in the class of Nowitzki or Gasol, but he could be pretty good. In general I would say put your trust in Walsh and D’Antoni. These guys have a good track record of success and given a year to sort through this mess, figure out what of the remaining roster is salvageable and bring their players and system in I think things will start to look pretty promising.

KB: Which team(s) did the best with regards to pick/talent?

EW: Using the theory that one superstar is worth a roster of mediocrities, Chicago, Miami and Minnesota made the biggest scores. The best bargains for when they were drafted would be Speights, Chalmers, Chris Douglas-Roberts, DeAndre Jordan and Richard Hendrix. Best players not drafted were Mark Tyndale and Shawn James.

KB: The worst?

EW: There were 4 players I felt were taken way too high: Eric Gordon, Joe Alexander, Jason Thompson and Robin Lopez. Lopez at 15 was the most ridiculous pick of the day.

KB: Five years from now, we’ll look back on this draft and say…

EW: Damn that Weiland guy nailed it. Seriously the thing that strikes me most about this draft is how even the pool of players were after the top 3 of Rose, Beasley and Love. After that group there were 20-25 players who were closer to each other in ability and potential than any of them were to the top 3. Because of that we’ll see more first round busts and 2nd round and free agent successes than usual.


Danilo Gallinari, threat to America.

Abbreviated Recap from the Live Chat

Here’s a recap of the chat from draft night. I wanted to capture this moment in time from the point of view of the KnickerBlogger Readers. This was heavily edited from a few thousand lines of chat.

All typos are forgiven.

Pre-Draft

Owen: I think there will be a huge group in here to celebrate the arrival of the Italian Stallion, the real one
dave crockett: Not sure I’m happy about JVG and MJax in the booth. They really don’t do the college game.
KnickerBlogger: We have to come up with a better Danilo nickname
KnickerBlogger: Van Gundy loves rookies!
dave crockett: It’s a crime to not have Hubie at the draft.
KnickerBlogger: I can’t wait until Vitale comes out – he loves 4 year collegiates and hates high schoolers & despises foreigners
Brian Cronin: It is fun, Mike, to see him try to hide it
Brian Cronin: He knows it doesn’t look good to hate foreigners, but he just can’t help it
Owen: Derrick Rose is going number 1
Owen: Just announced it…
dave crockett: Miami just got faced with a choice they didnt necessarily want. Things get really complicated. To pass on Beasley would just be dumb.
Cmac: You can’t pass on Beasley
Owen: What about this Nets trade. Home Run for the Nets. Jefferson is somewhat overrated I think
KnickerBlogger: Owen – I’m surprised you say that
KnickerBlogger: Great TS%
dave crockett: Really? I always thought RJ was a guy who was never overhyped or underrated.
dave crockett: He doesn’t get much ink either way.
Owen: Poor rebounding. I don’t know. His numbers have been up and down
dave crockett: He’s been hurt a lot too. (Arizona bias warning.)
Owen: Perhaps. I don’t know, if that trade gets them Lebron, it is a knockout
Owen: Yeah, he had a few great years. This year though it was scoring and not much else

Hopes and dreams…

KnickerBlogger: OK everyone who do you hope the Knicks get?
Brian Cronin: I’m hoping for Westbrook
Brian Cronin: Honestly, though, I’m mainly just hoping Lee is still a Knick Friday morning.
KnickerBlogger: Looking at the statistical chart I put together (compiling Doerr, Hollinger & HoopsAnalyst)
KnickerBlogger: I have Love Bayless or Mayo. After that a trade down for Speights & Chalmers would be awesome
Cmac: I like the Italian Stallion but I am kind of hoping to get Joe Alexander. I watched some of his games this year and especially against UCONN he was just unstoppable
foilfence: i’m still hoping for a trade
KnickerBlogger: I can do Danny too
KnickerBlogger: We have to come up with a better Danilo nickname

Danilo shown on television…

dave crockett: Fans booing Danilo
dave crockett: ouch
daaarn: ouch
dave crockett: All is did was sit there and look like Matthew Modine.
Cmac: Why all the negativity towards him I think he could be a good player
KnickerBlogger: I’ve read a decent amount of newspapers over the last two weeks – they basically summed up Danilo as unathletic & a friend of D’Antoni – basically they made him sound like he’s only a consideration because his dad and our coach were roomies
Brian Cronin: Worked for the Dodgers with Piazza!
KnickerBlogger: lol
foilfence: yeah seems like being slow is the biggest knock.
Brian Cronin: Hey, has anyone talked about Danilo’s defense at all?
Cmac: Also sounds like a hard working never takes a night off type of player. If we got him that would make 2 on the knicks
Owen: They said his father was the Rodman of the Italian League, which sounds promising to me. But watching him, he really doesn’t look athletic.
tastycakes: if danilo is any good, the boos won’t faze him
tastycakes: i want to see toughness from the italian stallion
Owen: he seemed to be laughing it off earlier
trp: he did seem ok with it
offthemeter: he won’t be laughing if he’s the last one in the green room
Cmac: Maybe italy boo’s mean cheering
KnickerBlogger: I was saying Boo-nilo

ESPN reports that Donnie Walsh has his man & implies it’s a PG…

KnickerBlogger: They said Donnie Walsh “has his man”
Lpmatt: his pg
Lpmatt: russel westbrook i guess
Owen: nice suit though…
trp: i bet its bayless
Jon Abbey: yeah, I heard that also, has to be Bayless or Westbrook
Jon Abbey: the reporter said it was a PG
trp: bayless would be a great pick
Jon Abbey: I like Westbrook, fantastic athlete
trp: and we dont have any perimeter defenders, so westbrook would also be a good pick
KnickerBlogger: Bayless one of the top guards by statistical consensus
Jon Abbey: yeah, Augustin I could live with
Jon Abbey: they’re unwatchable with no PG
offthemeter: augustin got used by rose, granted he’s the 1st pick and his size
trp: but steph is the best pg in the league!
Jon Abbey: anyway, Westbrook continues to be my hope
Lpmatt: i wish theyd trade down and draft joe alexander
cbrooklyn: looks like gallinari folks
Maverick: This is a 2 3 year process, nothing will happen next year, might as well grab as many picks as you can and shed some sallary. I would hate to see them pcik anybody but a PG, Gallinari doesn’t do it for me, it’s not the Weis thing, it’s just he is mechanical
trp: it HAS to be a pg
Owen: Anyone glad Mark Jackson is not our Coach?
tastycakes: yes
Cmac: yes
Maverick: Mark Jackson blows
offthemeter: we need a sprewell type electrifying player back at msg
Owen: I would take Hinrich I think, seems like a good gamble

Bulls Select Derrick Rose…

tastycakes: that should have been the knicks
Owen: Bilas is kind of obsessed with Lopez and the fact he is younger than OJ Mayo
Owen: So true, Derrick Rose should be in New York
daaarn: i blame chicago for giving us isaiah
dave crockett: I still don’t get the Del Negro hire with Flip and Thibideaux still out there
foilfence: beasley looked slightly pissed he didn’t go #1
tastycakes: d. rose seems a little shaky
cbrooklyn: hmmm he does have a starbury air

Miami Selects Michael Beasley…

Owen: Of course
tastycakes: dang heat
dred: Smart pick
trp: it was all a smokescreen
tastycakes: the ‘we don’t want beasley’ thing was totally smokescreen
cbrooklyn: i believe riley was blowin hot air also
offthemeter: minnesota oj or lopez
daaarn: oj’ll be next
trp: agreed tastycakes
dave crockett: I just don’t see what Miami gains for moving Beasley at this point.
dred: I don’t think even McHale would be dumb enough to take Lopez 3rd
Brian Cronin: It’ll be really interesting to see if OJ doesn’t go here
daaarn: crosses fingers for McHale stupidiy
offthemeter: hey i’ll throw in steph
GiantsKnickFan420: miami’s starting center is Blount, unless they put haslem at center and go small
Cmac: No love please no love
offthemeter: were all yelling at the tv
Owen: No way love falls though
tastycakes: knicks won’t take love
GiantsKnickFan420: if we trade lee at 5, love would actaully be a comprable replacement
Caleb: Mayo, Lopez, Gordon… Love could fall, easy.
tastycakes: michael beasley already a ‘great player’ in his own mind
Maverick: Curry+Steph for Marion
Z: 3 more picks ’til we’re on the clock. Excited???
Owen: Yeah absolutely.
KnickerBlogger: David Lee’s mom was the shortest on Family Feud
Maverick: Mayo
Owen: Lol, that family feud thing was really funny. I can’t believe Lee was chosen
GiantsKnickFan420: Mchale is a terrible GM, no matter who he choses
daaarn: mayo
Jon Abbey: I say Love
offthemeter: ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Minnesota Selects OJ Mayo…

dred: Interesting
daaarn: damn, no trade then
tastycakes: family feud – hilarious
dred: Like the glasses
Caleb: hahahaha. He’s McHale’s boy – should tell you something
daaarn: hey they twolves got a new logo
Z: 2 more ’til we’re up…
Owen: So they have Foye Mccants and Mayo now right?
dave crockett: um… McCants BLOWS. I hate him, hate him, hate him.
Z: For a draft with so much build up the first three picks have been pretty un-dramatic
KnickerBlogger: My bet is that Seattle take Love
KnickerBlogger: takes
Owen: He would be a great fit for them I think
Jon Abbey: maybe westbrook
dave crockett: I’ll also add this about Mayo. He was hamstrung by whatever that is that passes as an offense under Tim Floyd at ‘SC.
Caleb: Where’s Jalen Rose when you need him? That was my fave suit of all time
Jon Abbey: lopez would be a good fit too
daaarn: maybe there’s still a trade afoot
Thomas B.: Lopez is in keeping with the Sonic’s never ending search for a center
dave crockett: Pelton says he’d be pretty surprised if the Sonics go for a center.
Caleb: IMO Gallinari or even Speights is est player available now – not that they’re about to get picked

Seattle Picks Russell Westbrook…

Owen: whoa
Cmac: whoa
cbrooklyn: hmmmm
dred: Well
offthemeter: wow
Owen: Interesting
Jon Abbey: yeah, see
offthemeter: shabang
Z: Hmmmm
tastycakes: kind of surprising
Caleb: Chad Ford called it
offthemeter: kazaam
KnickerBlogger: Lemme say that again WHOA!!
Thomas B.: the price of oil hits an all time high
Jon Abbey: stole my boy
dred: Guess we don’t have to worry about him developing now
Owen: They didn’t take a center
offthemeter: whoa
KnickerBlogger: Love still out there
dred: Memphis taking Love?
Owen: Love will go next, no question
GiantsKnickFan420: bayless,love,lopez,gallinari
cbrooklyn: i think its gonna be gallinari
Jon Abbey: westbrook reminds people of rondo
foilfence: so guys, gallinari or bayless?
KnickerBlogger: Ok I’m hoping for Bayless or Galinari
trp: both!
daaarn: bayless or galinari
Cmac: Italy
Jon Abbey: Bayless never looked good when I saw Arizona last year
KnickerBlogger: Actually I’m really hoping for a trade down
offthemeter: bayless is the consensus here in the war room
GiantsKnickFan420: lets see what memphis does 1st
Jon Abbey: so I’m not very high on him
Jon Abbey: but I’ll trust walsh for now
Owen: Btw, talking about running amok, isn’t it amazing how point guard is suddenly the most important position in the NBA? That is why all these guys want to be PG.
Jon Abbey: let’s see what he’s got in mind
cbrooklyn: dont see why we cant just trade steph to italy for gallinari and pick a real center
Caleb: But Donnie has never gambled on an internationale, I don’t think… except Smits
Z: Maybe they drafted him for Walsh in an unannounced trade…
Thomas B.: I like Alexander. How can you not love that nickname: Vannilla sky
T-Mart: suddenly Im a believer in the Rajon Rondo has made Westbrook over-rated style of talent on account fo being surrounded by 3 hall of famers theory
offthemeter: the flying dutchmen
Brian Cronin: Hah – I like that, T-Mart
Jon Abbey: no, rondo is a great player
Jon Abbey: they had budinger also
Jon Abbey: somehow they still couldn’t win games
Jon Abbey: check the play by play of that last game in the finals
Thomas B.: Okay half of you need to leave because I’m liquored and i cant read so fast
Jon Abbey: the whole first quarter is rondo stealing the ball from gasol
offthemeter: people are cracking open the beers now baby
Cmac: Joe Alexander would be great

Memphis Selects Kevin Love…

offthemeter: wow
dave crockett: Love
offthemeter: back to back
offthemeter: ucla
offthemeter: wow
daaarn: i guess it’s bayless then
Owen: Right again…
KnickerBlogger: Weiland – whos your next 3?
weiland: Love, Bayless, Speights
foilfence: would joe alexander be better than wilson chandler?
Brian Cronin: Chad Ford suggests that Seattle wanted Westbrook, Thomas
mjkagan: gallinari is ours
Jon Abbey: might as well give him a shot
Jon Abbey: the crowd is going to boo the fuck out of gallinari
mjkagan: bet we’ll take galli here – d’a’s comments were a smokescreen
GiantsKnickFan420: “i have the tools, i need an engine to run it”-D’antoni. bayless, gordon, agustin are the PGs left

Knicks Select Danilo Galinari!

tastycakes: galinari
daaarn: wtf
offthemeter: we suck
daaarn: boos
offthemeter: oh yes they did
StrongIsland: Italians FTW!
offthemeter: thanks
offthemeter: dantoni
Anthony: of course…
cbrooklyn: hahahahahahahhahaaaa
dave crockett: wow
Owen: Very nice suit….
GiantsKnickFan420: WOW, but i like it!
Caleb: nice. I like it.
mjkagan: called it…
offthemeter: we should have traded down
cbrooklyn: i knew it
dave crockett: really, really surprised
offthemeter: we suck
StrongIsland: EXACTLY…trade down
Thomas B.: Did you catch Sterns Pause? It was like a “What the fuck, I though Isiah was gone.”
StrongIsland: the only other team looking at him was NJ
Jon Abbey: he does have the best chance at being a franchise player of anyone left
Owen: What is that, Prada?
Brian Cronin: The Knicks still can trade down
Maverick: shocking …
offthemeter: can i curse????
Jon Abbey: but this team is going to be tough to watch again

And now reality sets in…

GiantsKnickFan420: the dude is smooth and is touted for his mental toughness, something our current roster has none of
mjkagan: and he can shoot
Caleb: last year I would have assumed it was a mistake. This year I assume he’s right.
daaarn: he had better pan out
Brian Cronin: And Jon is right, he has the best shot at being a top player of all the ones left
StrongIsland: Frederick Weis Redux?
cbrooklyn: i think im willing to give him a chance
Jon Abbey: maybe he’s good
Jon Abbey: but get a fucking PG
Jon Abbey: before the season starts
Owen: His legs look really skinny
daaarn: well that’s not comforting “he wont be a superstar, but he’ll be solid…”
offthemeter: 8th man off the bench
Caleb: Like Jerry West says — you find talent in the draft. You fill needs through trades.
weiland: “not gonna be a superstar” Then why? Bayless just might be..
Thomas B.: Stern: “With the 6th pick the New york Knicks select….(What the hell)..Danilo Gallanari..(idiots).
Caleb: I didn’t see a point guard besides Rose who was more than a hope and a prayer
StrongIsland: 34% give the grade an F
offthemeter: thanks mike dantoni
weiland: Stats aren’t great. I just think the fact that Fran said “not gonna be a superstar” makes it a mistake.
Brian Cronin: Haha…some good commentary on the radio – “Remember, these are fans who can’t even pay for real games, so don’t pay attention to them”
mjkagan: did the fans boo or not?
Brian Cronin: The fans booed like crazy
Caleb: we could trade him for 10 & 21, or 10 and next year’s pick
Cmac: I like the pick
mjkagan: fair enough
Brian Cronin: This is not over yet. And even if it is, then whatever, the guy is a good player.
Caleb: but I don’t really mind keeping him
weiland: hero is Tayshaun Prince? Nice….
mjkagan: Caleb: Who would they take at 10?
T-Mart: well thank god Isiah’s europeon recruitment swing trip paid off!!!!!!!
dave crockett: What worries me most about the Gallinari selection is this? What do these guys really think was the problem with this team? Did they think it was that we don’t have enough scorers? Don’t worry about the defense? I know D’Antoni’s not a big defense guy but Phoenix wasn’t wretched they were middle of the pack on D.

Computers vs. Scouts, Updated

Erich Doerr and John Hollinger have each published new analyses, looking at the 2008 draft from a purely statistical standpoint.  Doerr’s piece at DraftExpress nicely summarizes some of his previous work, for a new audience.  He’s extremely cautious. The article is not, strictly speaking, a ranking system. Doerr uses his ratings to give essentially a thumbs up/thumbs down (or at least a caution) for each of the high-profile players. 

Of note: Don’t get too excited about any of the guards… don’t sleep on Mareese Speights. 

Hollinger, unlike Doerr, thinks he has it nailed.  He’s also totally revamped his method since last year. He’s now done – he says – a regression analysis, rather than an ad-hoc mix-and-match method. He’s devised two different systems, one for bigs and one for other players. Today he writes about the Big Men (Insider is free this week). For bigs,

    “The formula considers 16 variables: height, age, schedule strength, team strength, and the usual individual stats (assist ratio, turnover ratio, usage rate, pure point rating, defensive rebound rate, FTA/FGA, 3A/FGA, PER, blocks per minute, steals per minute, field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage). Note that two variables — offensive rebound rate and free-throw percentage — didn’t make the cut as they were found to be almost completely irrelevant in determining pro success for big men. Also, testing showed that looking at multiple seasons improved accuracy quite a bit. As a result, all of a player’s seasons count on his record.”

Of note: Michael Beasley rates as the best big-man prospect since he started calculating in 2002. (Personally, I think there’s a good chance anyone taking Rose at #1 feels silly in a few years)… Mama Lopez will be disappointed…. Mareese Speights looks good here, too…. and Anthony Randolph — wow. I think this might be a little harsh, since he’s so young and so skinny he has a lot of room for improvement, but this is as damning a projection as you can find.

And here’s the smackdown: Hollinger’s numbers suggest that Joey Dorsey will struggle to have an NBA career at all. Doerr thinks Dorsey looks like a big-time player. 

Computers vs. Scouts

With 16 days left before the draft, teams are busily working out prospects, haggling with agents and breaking down game tape. Could there be an easier way? Last week we were talking about computer rating systems that purport to identify the best draft prospects, without the messy work of actually watching games, administering brain profile tests and trekking through rundown former Soviet airports.  The two systems that have garnered the most attention were designed by Erich Doerr, a David Berri disciple, and ESPN’s John Hollinger. A good summation and explanation of the systems was posted here last year:

 http://www.knickerblogger.net/index.php/2007/06/26/draft-analysis-by-the-numbers/

The short version: Doerr’s “PAWS” (Pace-Adjusted Win Score) rating looks solely at college game statistics, ranking players using Berri’s winscore metric. He adjusts for strength of schedule (40 points against Kansas means more than 40 points against Helen Keller). Doerr’s posts are not easy reading, but it appears he simply takes the best-ranked players and assumes that those are the best NBA prospects.  

Hollinger starts with a similar approach, using his PER (Player Efficiency Rating), calculated with college game statistics.  Unlike Doerr, he makes a number of adjustments.  In essence, this puts Hollinger closer to mainstream draft gurus. He finds that players who are tall for their position tend to do better in the pros. He also finds that certain statistics – like steals – are specific markers of athleticism. Unlike Doerr, Hollinger also takes age into account. An 18-year-old prospect with the same numbers as a 22-year-old prospect (or even a 19-year-old) gets a significantly higher rating.

Even the creators of these systems would say that they are only a tool, and very much a work-in-progress.  A smart drafter might use them to identify promising players to whom he or she hadn’t paid much attention, or to raise red flags about prominent players who might be overrated.  Here’s a comparison of what the Hollinger & Doerr computers spit out last year, along with the actual draft order.  Since both systems rate only college players, for the sake of side-by-side comparison I left Yi Jianlan and Marco Belinelli off the actual draft list.  That’s right, these methods won’t tell you who’s tearing up the Italian League, or whether OJ Mayo’s high school career was more impressive than that of LeBron James.

Oh, and Nick Fazekas? He only played 269 minutes as a rookie, but per 40 minutes he scored 15.9 points and had 13.2 rebounds, along with a TS% of 58.2 and a rebound rate better than David Lee or Zach Randolph.

     Hollinger                                           Doerr                              Actual 2007 Draft

1. Kevin Durant                                  Nick Fazekas                       Greg Oden

2. Greg Oden                                     Kevin Durant                        Kevin Durant         

3. Mike Conley, Jr.                             Al Horford                            Al Horford

4. Thaddeus Young                           Greg Oden                            Mike Conley, Jr.

5. Brandan Wright                             Joakim Noah                          Jeff Green

6. Al Horford                                     Jared Dudley                         Corey Brewer

7. Nick Fazekas                                 Jason Smith                           Brandan Wright

8. Josh McRoberts                             Morris Almond                       Joakim Noah

9. Rodney Stuckey                             Julian Wright                         Spencer Hawes

10. Jared Dudley                                Brandan Wright                     Acie Law, IV

11. Joakim Noah                                Rodney Stuckey                    Thaddeus Young

12. Glen Davis                                   Al Thornton                           Julian Wright

13. Sean Williams                               Mike Conley, Jr.                    Al Thornton

14. Jeff Green                                     Glen Davis                            Rodney Stuckey

15. Kyle Visser                                   Daequan Cook                      Nick Young

16. Herbert Hill                                  Marcus Williams                    Sean Williams

17. Javaris Crittenden                         Jeff Green                             Javaris Crittendon

18. Wilson Chandler                            Sean Williams                      Jason Smith

19. Julian Wright                                 Corey Brewer                        Daequan Cook

20. Daquean Cook                              Derrick Byars                        Jared Dudley

 

 

Draft Analysis By The Numbers

With the 2007 NBA draft almost upon us, there’s plenty of resources around the web for those craving more information regarding the draft. However I’ve stumbled across three that I thought were particularly interesting. The one thing all of these resources have in common is that they offer a statistical look at predicting incoming NBA players. For some time baseball fans have had a good amount of knowledge on what makes a good professional. College pitchers generally fared better than high schoolers. Minor league pitchers that had a good BB:K and HR:K ratios were more likely to succeed than those who didn’t. In the NFL, footballoutsiders discovered that drafted college QBs who had the most starts and the highest completion percentage did better than the rest of the field.

The first is probably the least well known. HoopsAnalyst has run a 4 part series (hopefully to be a 5 part series) on what stats are most important for aspiring professionals. Ed Weiland has unearthed a few interesting gems. Scoring quantity for shooting guards is more important that scoring efficiency. Also important for shooting guards is those that do better in “athletic” stats (per minute rebounds, steals, and blocks). The reasoning is that players who aren’t physically gifted enough don’t do well at the next level (Shawn Respert, Trajan Langdon, Jarvis Hayes and Reece Gaines). Weiland lumps together college players and international ones. Other than Oden & Durant, Weiland sees a bright future for Horford, Noah, Rudy Fernandez, Wright, and Green.

Next is the WoW Journal, with guest writer Erich Doerr. In his approach, Doerr attempts to apply Berri’s Win Score method to the amateur players. Using this method, the sleepers of the draft appear to be Nick Fazekas, Stephane Lasme, and Rashad Jones-Jennings from the college ranks and Jianlian Yi, Marco Belinelli, Luka Bogdanovic, Jonas Maciulis, Kyrylo Fesenko, and Mirza Begic from the international ranks.

Last but not least, John Hollinger has published his method for digging up potential prospects. Hollinger concentrates on college players and adjusts for both strength of schedule and pace. Like Weiland, Hollinger finds such “athletic” stats as steals, blocks, and rebounds to coincide with future success. His system also adds age, three point shooting, height, and passing (ppr). Good news for (probably) Seattle fans: Durant looks to be the best prospect of this decade. Thaddeus Young, who both Wieland and Doerr are lukewarm on, makes Hollinger’s top 5, along with Oden, Conley, and Wright.

While all three methods don’t always agree, there are a few players that there is a consensus on. Oden and Durant are the obvious examples, but also Brandan Wright, Al Horford, Nick Fazekas, and Joakim Noah on the positive side, and Acie Law, Corey Brewer, and Nick Young on the negative side. But more importantly, it’s great to see that there are a few different people looking into projecting future stars. I guess only time will tell if any of these systems bear fruit.

[NOTE: Apologies to Bret at Hoopinion, who also took a statistical look at this year’s draft class as well. At this moment there are 10 articles posted, with some good tidbits there.]