By John Hooper
Note: As of 8/7/2017 We've updated our algorithm based on internal discussions and feedback from users on r/NBA_Draft and the forums of RealGM. The main changes were normalizing the rebounding grades and reevaluating the value of each category (scoring, shooting, etc.) being used to calculate overall grades.
The tipping point was Draymond Green.
I’ve always been fascinated by the NBA Draft. Something about the unpredictable nature of sure-things falling through and hidden gems popping up every year grabbed my attention as a young fan. 1998 was the first year I truly dove in, where even my 9 year old self could somehow tell that my Warriors were making a mistake by trading Vince Carter and his explosive athleticism for the workmanlike Antawn Jamison. It’s always seemed there had to be some combination of attributes that could be the recipe for separating the contenders from the pretenders, and I’ve been trying to define that recipe.
Back to my original point, watching Draymond get scooped up by the Warriors with the thirty-fifth pick while the rest of the league passed on him was exciting because it provided a test of one of my core theories - that producing against top competition in college still matters. Since then, as he’s become the star that he know is, I’ve wanted an unbiased way to prove that all the teams passing on Draymond because he was too short and too chubby was a poor move.
Five years later, we finally have V1 of the Ice Cream For Men NBA Prospect Projection Model!
How It Was Made:
All drafted players going back to the 2011 Draft who played in the NCAA are included in the model. Data points for each player include:
- Per 100 possessions statistics, percentages, and rates from the prospect’s most recent season
- Age (via Sports Reference)
- Strength of Schedule (via Kenpom)
- Athleticism (subjective, unfortunately. NBADraft.net used as a reference)
Using this data, projection models were created for five categories:
- Passing (overall impact on team Offensive Rating is factored in, not just assists and turnovers)
- Defense (similar in that prospect's effect on team defense is factored in)
Players’ grades for those five categories were then factored into an overall score, with different weights being assigned to the five categories based on a prospect’s projected NBA position.
Please share any feedback or thoughts! This is the initial version of the model and I plan on updating it over time so any discussion is welcome.