John Hollinger today revealed his spreadsheet driven big board, where he rated the top 68 players in the draft. It’s an Insider article, but it’s just fantastically interesing.
Additionally, this is but one tool among many. I’m sure one could greatly improve on the Rater’s performance by using it as a starting point and adding other known variables to the mix. This system rates “pro potential,” which sometimes differs substantially from “pro performance.” As I mentioned a year ago, the fact that Michael Sweetney and Shawne Williams both rated highly coming out of school isn’t necessarily a mistake — they failed in the NBA not from a lack of talent, but for other reasons. Part of good scouting is knowing which players are committed to this enterprise for the long haul, and we can’t tell that from their college stats.
The Draft Rater has one other weak spot: It thrives on information and struggles when it lacks enough. As a result, players who leave school after just one season give it problems. Not only are they the youngest players, and thus the ones we’re projecting farthest into the future, but what makes it even worse is that we have only one season of data to evaluate. That’s the reason that one-and-done players have historically had the greatest error margin, which introduces an added level of uncertainty this season because three of the top five prospects are leaving school after one year.
One other note before we start: The Draft Rater produces a projection of a player’s “peak” PER in Years 4-5, something that may not be apparent from looking at the rather underwhelming numbers next to each name. That’s mostly a problem of the scarcity of NBA stars — since the vast majority of players drafted will settle into the low teens in PER as NBA players, regardless of how good their college stats are, that’s where the projections land for nearly all of them. In other words, there are very few sure things, even at the top of the draft. Keep Reading…