2015 Top 20 (with comparisons)
June 2, 2015
This draft is incredibly deep and very strong in my opinion. There is no Anthony Davis or Kevin Durant in this draft but according to the rankings there will be plenty of all-stars and even a few possible superstars in this draft. The top 5 I have ranked are all possible superstars, and then the next 15 all have all-star potential in my opinion. With no further ado, here's the top 20.
1.Jahlil Okafor C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.87)
Jahlil Okafor is the #1 player in this draft for me, it's kind of close, but keep this in mind, Okafor was double and triple teamed every time he touched the ball and sometimes even before that. No other player in the draft can realistically command a double team being projected into the NBA like Okafor should be able to. That alone makes Okafor the #1 pick without question. I don't like his defensive presence but it may have been to preserve him this year and keep him out of foul trouble. I can't remember the last 6-11 player with a 7-5 wingspan that didn't protect the rim somewhat; I think he'll be fine in that department. I can't really think of an accurate comparison but a fundamentally sound C, that has great hands, great footwork, an array of post moves, and just a player that you can dump it down in the post to and ask him to get you 25 points a night, this type of player goes #1 in every draft unless there is a sure-fire superstar coming out. I don't see LeBron in this draft, so Okafor is the #1 player, it's close but it's not as close as most are making it out to be. Comparison- Tim Duncan with worse defense.
2.Karl-Anthony Towns PF/C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.84)
Players 2-5 depends on what your team needs, I consider each of the players incredibly unique with all-star games in their future. All are possible superstars. Towns can play either PF or C and be incredibly productive at both in my opinion. His ability to block shots, rebound, score inside and out (even though we didn't see much of his jumper in college, we will in the NBA), and the fact that he is 7'0 gives any team that drafts him incredible flexibility up front. Do you pair him with a rim protector for superior defense, or with a stretch 4 for a 5-out hard to stop offense? It's hard to pass up on him at 2, unless your frontcourt is set. Comparison- Taller Al Horford/ Rasheed Wallace
3.D'Angelo Russell PG/SG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.75)
D'Angelo Russell is that rare player that you draft and the next day give him the keys to the franchise. He's going to be whatever team drafts him leading scorer and/or ball dominant player for years to come. He won't win by himself but drafting him is a pretty good start to any teams rebuild. A true combo guard, you could put him at either guard spot and he will flourish. He has incredible court vision and passing skills. With a perfect looking jump shot along with point guard ball-handling skills, if you are in the top 5 spots in this draft just be thankful. Comparison- Point Guard Manu Ginobili
4.Emmanuel Mudiay PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.89)
There is not a lot to go by for Emmanuel Mudiay, but I adapted my formula the best I could given what I saw from him and his stats in China. He literally has everything you look for in a superstar PG, a great handle, explosiveness, size, athleticism, court vision, and can get to the hole at will. Everything except a good looking jumper, I think he will develop a good enough shot in the NBA to be a superstar PG though. I don't even care if he is a good shooter at this point in time, you can just tell by looking at somebody's jumper whether or not it can improve. With Mudiay and Russell it's really personal preference, you really can't go wrong with either one, it's Westbrook vs. Curry to a large degree. If you think Mudiay is going to become an above average shooter, take him, if not take Russell, that's my opinion. Comparison- Russell Westbrook
5.Stanley Johnson SF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.77)
Stanley Johnson is the last of what I consider the superstar potential players (expect for maybe Porzingis) in this draft. He's the closest size-wise, skill-wise, and athletically gifted SF I've seen since LeBron. I'm not saying he is LeBron or that there haven't been really good small forwards since then, but they've just been different types of players ala Kevin Durant. Now Johnson still has a lot of work to put in and isn't as aggressive as you would like sometimes, but maybe that was just the system or even the college game, but there isn't a thing that he can't do. He's 6'7, strong, incredibly quick for his size, a very good athlete laterally and good vertically, handles the ball like a guard, and has a very good looking and very effective shot (3 point shot and pull up game off the dribble). He also has the ability to be a lockdown SF defender due to his work ethic and physical gifts. Once again, there is nothing that he can't do and there is nothing stopping him from becoming the next superstar SF in the NBA, and I believe he will. And SF has become arguably the most important position in today's NBA. Again, if you have a top 5 pick be thankful. Stanley Johnson could slip a little in the lottery, that would be a big mistake in my opinion, he could be the next Paul George, except he's more powerful. Comparison- Stronger Paul George
6.Kristaps Porzingis PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.71)
Players 6-9 are also by team need or personal preference. These players have all-star potential and can possibly be franchise players someday with improvement in certain areas, in my opinion. Kristaps Porzingis is a stretch 4 that can do so many other things offensively. He really has the total package offensively and if I was picking outside the top 5 I would strongly consider Porzingis to be my PF for the next 15 years and be one of my teams' top 3 scorers and best overall players. He needs bulk up a bit so his overall game might take some time but he should be able to score successfully in the NBA from day 1. I would consider building a foundation with a player like him similarly to how Dallas built a foundation with Dirk. I think Porzingis has superstar potential as well, but it's tougher for European players in the NBA to adapt sometimes, but I wouldn't rule being a superstar out, he is an extremely talented prospect. Comparison- Dirk Nowitzki
7.Myles Turner PF/C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.77)
Myles Turner doesn't have the upside the top 5 picks have in my opinion. But he has everything else, a 7 footer with a 7'4 wingspan, offensive skills, good athleticism, shot-blocking, and the ability to stretch the floor. These players are rare to find. He may not have the superstar upside but barring any injuries he's going to be a very productive and valuable big man in the NBA for a long time. Comparison- Less mobile but better offensively Serge Ibaka
8.Justise Winslow SF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.70)
Justice Winslow came a long way this year. He developed a good looking jumper and the ability to create for himself in the half court very well. I don't think he has the upside of Stanley Johnson, but he's going to be a very good NBA wing for a long time. He's a little bit mechanical and doesn't have great measurements for a small forward. But his physicality, shot making ability, and ability to create for himself in the half court will go a long way. Comparison- Corey Maggette with better handles
9.R.J. Hunter SG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.93)
R.J.Hunter is the best pure shooting guard in the draft (I'm counting Russell as a PG) and it's not even close. Conventional wisdom says Marion Hezonja and Devin Booker have more upside or whatever and will probably get drafted before him. That would be a huge mistake. I trust my rankings and Hunter is a 0.93, the highest in the draft, Hezonja is a -0.31 and Booker is a -0.93, one of the lowest in the draft. Watching R.J Hunter this year, he was the whole team, everything offensively revolved around him and every defense keyed in to only stop him, they still couldn't do it. He's a big SG with great length, has great defensive anticipation, competes hard, and can flat out score. A very good shooter despite his percentages, he had to take a lot of tough shots. He projects to be an above average 2-guard defender due to his length, lateral quickness, and defensive basketball IQ, but could take some time due to the fact he played a lot of zone in college. The next Klay Thompson could be in this draft, most think it's Devin Booker, they couldn't be more wrong. It's R.J. Hunter. Comparison- Klay Thompson with better overall offense/slightly worse defense
Players 10-20 are very strong as well; again this is such a deep draft. I'm just going to give quick summaries for each of these players.
10.Bobby Portis PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.61)
A very talented PF with great size, should have a very long and successful career.
11.Chris McCullough PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.76)
A stretch 4 with the ability to possibly affect the game in some many other ways. Very athletic, great measurements, a ton of upside. Needs some time but can be an all-star.
12.Frank Kaminsky PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.51)
Another stretch 4 that can play the 5 in small ball lineups. Has great footwork, can really score, and is very agile for a big man. Smart player that can score when called upon.
13.Cameron Payne PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.71)
A good PG prospect, very crafty, doesn't really have too many weaknesses, if any. Good passer, good shooter, and can run a team. Very solid value. Has upside because he can really score.
14.Willie Cauley-Stein C (Projected Value/Impact - 0.49)
Athletic, rim protecting C, that can really guard all 5 positions. You're drafting him for defense and defensive versatility, he has value, but very limited offensively.
15.Kevon Looney PF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.52)
A developing PF, I think he ends up starting for some team. Needs to become a reliable shooter and space the floor, which he already does somewhat. Just work on refining his overall game. He just knows how to play basketball and has all the measurements and talent to succeed.
16.Delon Wright PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.76)
A do- it-all PG, very poised, can run a team, facilitate, score just enough, and defend 2 positions. Needs to work on shot, it should be fine with time though. He will affect and impact the game in so many ways. His lack of overall scoring potential dropped him a little, but everything else is very good.
17.Kelly Oubre SF (Projected Value/Impact - 0.36)
A potential 3 and D player who should have a solid impact in the league. With a lack of SF's in this draft he might go higher, but tier 5, picks 15-20 is right for him, much higher and you're losing out on value. Jump 1 tier if you really need s SF and/or size and athleticism on the wing.
18.Jerian Grant PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.61)
Big PG that could be really good value to a team this late. According to the rankings, he'll probably be a starter and a highly impactful player, I agree. I prefer Payne, due to his scoring ability, and Wright, due to his playmaking and overall game, over Grant, but Grant is a close 3rd to them.
19.George De Paula PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.53)
A super talented PG, 6-6 with a 7-0 wingspan, he needs some work on his overall game, but he is worth the risk. I ranked him according to his U18 stats, so let's see how accurate I got that. If he and Dante Exum (who I used the U19 stats last year) fall on their faces I will re-evaluate, but until then I'm trusting it. Draft this kid and watch it pay off down the road. **EDIT**-Dropped his name from the draft.
20.Terry Rozier PG (Projected Value/Impact - 0.46)
The last of this great PG class (expect for A. Harrison), he can do so many things. He needs to grow as a PG, but is so talented and should be able to be a quality player in the NBA. Very good value here.
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2015 Top 8 Draft Busts (Most Overhyped Players, some might surprise you)
May 19, 2015
In my opinion, these are players that will not live up to their draft selections.
Mario Hezonja-He could be a solid role player, but he won't be drafted to be just that. He'll more than likely be drafted way too high with the team thinking he has star potential, he doesn't according to the rankings, I agree. If you're drafting him over R.J Hunter or Stanley Johnson then that would be a very bad decision.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson-He's in the negatives according to the rankings and he has a broken jump shot. This is going to make it tough for a legitimate team to play him any significant minutes. His jump shot needs to improve. He could play spot minutes until then. I'd stay away.
Sam Dekker-He really doesn't do anything great, he's not going to be a star and he's ranked below 0 so more than likely he'll need a niche. A 30% 3 point shooter is not going to cut it. I like that he can handle the ball in the half court though. He'll be drafted higher than he should be, he's an ideal 7th-8th man on a team. He'll stick in the league because he can create a little in the half court and knock down some shots. It might be a Chandler Parsons thing where people think he's good for the team but every team he goes to and plays big minutes on gets worse, and the team gets better when he leaves.
Tyus Jones-PG's his size need to be extremely quick and athletic and/or be able to score in bunches, Jones projects to do neither. He'll be drafted too high, he's a backup PG in the NBA (or a starter next to a James Harden type player) that will be drafted over or around potential starting PG's in the NBA like Cameron Payne, Delon Wright, Jerian Grant, and Terry Rozier, therefore he is overvalued and is considered a bust due to the quality PG's in this draft and where he'll get drafted. I'd take all 4 of those guys above Jones and wouldn't even think twice about it.
Rashad Vaughn-He's going to have trouble finding minutes. I don't know what else to say. I wouldn't draft him at all. He ranks very low and just doesn't do one thing particularly well to possibly be able to find a niche. He's going to get drafted due to how young he is. That's a big mistake. To clarify, he handled the ball a lot this year and pretty much had the green light, he's a decent shooter but not one NBA team is going to let him be a ball-dominant player. He's not talented enough. So he'll need to be 3 and D SG, but doesn't project to be a good defensive player. Basically he's a 3 point shooter that is used to being the man and having the ball in his hands. He can be a solid 3 point SG that plays below average defense over time, that is if he accepts his role. Pass.
Montrezl Harrell-Played at a big-time program, kind of overhyped. A garbage man in the NBA, he has a place but these players are a dime a dozen. Will have a solid career, worth a pick, but will more than likely be picked too high. "First to arrive, last to leave, hardest worker in practice", type of cliches will be said about him when asked about his 10 minutes off the bench importance to the team. You've seen it before, you're going to see it again. There's better options at where he'll be picked.
Trey Lyles-He's going to be picked too high, his ceiling is a stretch 4 that is not physical, weak on the boards, and bad defensively in the post. I would not spend a lottery pick on him, anything higher than 25 is bad value for Lyles, they'll be better options when he's picked, therefore considering him a bust.
Devin Booker-I don't understand why he would be taken over R.J. Hunter. Booker will more than likely be a solid 3 point shooter, not great. He'll also more than likely be a liability on defense. He was wide open all year at Kentucky. According to the rankings, he's not going to have a very big impact in the NBA. He's a shooter so he's got that going for him, but he is not worth a first round pick.
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The Players This Formula Has Gotten Wrong
December 4, 2014
I just wrote about some of the players that this formula has gotten right, now it's time to go over some of the players this formula has gotten wrong. Coming back down to reality and off my high horse and realizing that the NBA draft is an inexact science, and no matter how much you think you know about it, you're still going to miss on quite a few players. It's funny when you talk to critics and they point out the players you've gotten wrong, but through the years I pride myself on understanding what the number I get means and even if a player has a high number, they still might bust because of certain things, some basketball related and some mental. I'm not going to change the formula, but I know that small forwards that can't shoot, or dribble that well, no matter their final ranking may still bust, but I can use that to my advantage. It's all about understanding what the number means. And also wing players mostly small forwards that rank below zero but can either shoot or dribble and create well in the half court can still be very solid players.
Marshon Brooks (0.43)-He was a selfish player in college. He seemed unwilling to adapt and be a role player in the NBA. Doing that his first few years could have given him the chance to turn into second or third scorer on a team. I don't exactly know what happened with him, but for a guy that could score from the wing in a plethora of ways to be where he is now is strange.
Jared Cunningham (0.37)-It might be too early for him, but he has a ton of talent and upside. I'm kind of shocked he hasn't gotten a chance to show what he can do yet, it's possible he always been in the wrong situation.
One to thing to mention is this formula does not take into account off the court issues, work-ethic, and other things of that nature (obviously). Unless you see them practice every day, you really don't know hard these guys are working. That could be the reason some of them have failed to live up to their ranking.
Al-Farouq Aminu (0.68)-Kind of a tweener coming into the NBA. He could dribble in the open court, but his ability to create for himself in the half-court was weak. His main weakness was his jump shot, mostly his 3 point shot. He's hasn't improved that too much, hence why he hasn't gotten consistent minutes, he's not an offensive threat in the half court. He's also not strong enough to play power forward.
Damion James (0.17)-Another tweener of sorts. I still think there's a chance that he makes it as a stretch 4, but we'll see.
Chris Singleton (0.22)-He was a lock down defender in college with limited half court offensive skills. I'm not sure what happened here, but the Wizards have failed to develop all of their forwards the last 5 -10 years. I think he just might need a change of scenery, unless there's something going on with him I don't know about.
Chandler Parsons (-0.16)-He's one of the few players rated below zero that have become more than a niche player. Although I'm not really sure how good he is. He's found the right systems to play in. He's not that great a defender, his shot is decent (not great), but he can handle the ball in the full and half court, which is rarer than people might think for small forwards. He's a solid player that does everything okay.
Jae Crowder (0.59)-It's still too early for him. He's never really gotten his chance. I'd like to see him get traded someplace that needs a small forward. I think he's got a good career ahead of him still.
Kris Joseph (0.05)-I'm not sure what's gone on with him. He probably still struggles handling the ball in the half court. That seems to be a common weakness for the players on this list. If you can't handle the ball in the half court and keep the flow of the offense, then you almost need to be a 3 and D guy to get playing time at small forward, which these guys clearly aren't yet. It's a tough position, probably the toughest position to succeed at in the NBA today.
It's still a bit early on some of these guys, and it's still too early on some of the 2013 draft class players as well. It looks like there might be some busts according to the formula in that draft class, but they can turn it around.
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The Players This Formula Has Gotten Right
December 1, 2014
This formula has been accurate so far and has helped me scout many players and sometimes just sit back and watch the draft and see the Kings screw up pick after pick in almost every draft, or watch teams like the Thunder, the Grizzlies, or the Mavericks who draft based on analytics and advanced metrics. Those teams really stand out in that department. A key to this formula is being able to comprehend what the number means and which types of players tend to succeed and which players might bust, even with a positive number. What I've noticed throughout the last few years is the guards have been very accurate, the power forwards have also been very accurate, the centers have been mostly accurate and the small forwards, but mostly tweeners have been the least accurate. So I tend not to get too excited over the tweeners who rank high because sometimes it takes them a while or even to find the perfect situation for them to hit their ceiling.
Here are some of the players that this formula has gotten correct over the last few years:
Lance Stephenson (0.10)- 2nd round pick, great 2nd round value. He's always been more of point guard, even in Indy he was their point guard on more possessions than not. If he can play more of a point guard role, he should be a good player wherever he's at.
Klay Thompson (0.71)- One of the best shooting guards in the league. He was a no brainer pick, imo, a 6-7 guard with this high of a ranking that could also shoot coming out of college, he's quickly becoming a star.
Still a bit early but…
MCW (1.05)- The only question about him coming out of college was his jumper, which seems to be improving fast. Can bring so much to the table eventually.
Victor Oladipo (0.60)- Same question as MCW coming out of college, can he shoot? He's also improving his shot quickly.
I just want note that I use 5 different formulas for all 5 positions. I just call them guards and forwards because that's the way the NBA is going now, in essence you want 2 ball handlers (unless your small forward is a good ball handler), 2 forwards that can spread the floor and do similar things (hence the popular stretch 4), and one center to protect the rim from the ball handling guards and forwards. So, yeah, that's why I list the players like that in the rankings, but there's really 5 different formulas that I use.
Paul George (1.16)- It took a few years for him to develop into a highly impactful 2 way player, but the ranking struck it out of the park with him. With his shooting, ball handling ability, and athleticism with a ranking this high coming out of college, I would have considered him a top 3 lock. I know hindsight is 20/20, but this was his ranking coming out of college whenever I would've ranked him, it's hard to pass that up.
Kawhi Leonard (0.36)- He was knocked a lot in the rankings because of his shooting, if you would have told me he would develop a deadly 3 point shot, he'd be a no-brainer top 5 pick. I'd like to think even if he wasn't a good 3 point shooter, that he'd still be a good player in the NBA, but with a great 3 point shot, he's more than lived up to his ranking.
Kenneth Faried (0.34)- Solid starting power forward in the mid to late first round, yeah I'd take that, good overall player.
Derrick Williams (-0.33)- The rankings did not love him, but he could shoot, so there's always that possibility he becomes a solid role player because of that. But with the 2nd overall pick… not worth it Kahn.
Anthony Davis (1.74)- The highest ranked player in the database, need I say more.
Draymond Green (0.58)- A fairly highly ranked player that was vastly overlooked by a lot of teams. He's a combo forward, meaning he can play both positions successfully. He is a good player and is only improving. Because he could shoot and dribble coming out of college that would have alleviated my tweener concerns, I would've drafted him mid-1st round, no reason to draft him sooner, he was projected to go in the 2nd round.
Thomas Robinson (-0.18)- Why Sacramento why? Demarcus Cousins fell to you, so maybe you should pair him with an average sized power forward that can't shoot, and has no real post moves that he can pull off two times in a row. The rankings didn't agree with him being picked this high, and his motor is the only thing that he has that can make him a role player… Kings.
Demarcus Cousins (0.87- The only real question was his child-like attitude, but he plays hard, he's always played hard, so what if he gets a few more technicals than the guys drafted before him. He would've been my number 1 pick, he didn't implode on possibly the least stable team and in the least stable locker room in the NBA, I'm thinking he would've fine no matter where he got drafted.
Andre Drummond (0.63)- There were real questions about his attitude and love for the game. But I watched a beast and a freak at UConn who never got the ball due to selfish guards, combined with his shot-blocking, rebounding and athleticism, with this ranking; he would've been a top 2-3 pick for me.
Still a bit early but…
Gorgui Dieng (0.73)- Shot-blocking, a good looking shot, and rebounding with this ranking, why did he fall so far? His age? Try calling the Timberwolves about him for a trade, they'll either hang up or ask for a star. He should've gone much higher.
Steven Adams (0.30)- A rim protector that is tough, rebounds, and can annoy Blake Griffin for an entire game. OKC reached for him based on conventional wisdom. The formula agreed with the pick.
Coming Soon, The Players This Formula Has Gotten Wrong
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If I was a GM - 2014 NBA Draft Top 10
July 16, 2014
Note: When I talk about a players ppg potential I'm going from eye test alone and referring to said players peek projected number in their prime. (In my opinion).
Parker has 25+ ppg potential, might struggle defensively, but you can't pass up 25+ ppg potential with the number one overall pick. Wiggins has 20+ ppg potential while possibly being a lockdown defender, needs to improve his left hand. Incredibly athletic and great in transition, shot looks good, percentages should improve. Exum has the potential to be the best two guard/combo guard in the NBA in five years with his ability to get into the lane, combined with his measureables, and speed/quickness, that is if he improves his jump shot.
Was number one, but how can you risk taking a big man with foot and back problems ahead of potential elite wing players in my opinion. If healthy throughout his career, he should have to biggest impact according to the rankings, I agree.
Smart is the best PG in the draft according to the rankings, I agree. I would take him 5th overall only because his scoring potential isn't as high as the other four players, and getting an elite wing or big man is more valuable and rare than an elite PG. He's a defensive, tough, PG that should be able to get into the lane at will and post other PG's up, needs to improve his shot, don't know if he has elite scoring potential. Vonleh has 15+ ppg potential from the PF position while being able to stretch the floor, that's a potential elite weapon/player to have.
Nurkic has 15+ ppg potential at the C position, his rim protection needs to be questioned, but has great feet and has the possibility to be a solid defender, rim protection is not all about vertical leap. Warren has 15+ ppg potential at the SF position while being tough, has the ability to play off the ball, while being no liability defensively either, needs to stretch his shot out to the NBA three point line. He projects to be a really solid player and possibly a star according to the rankings combined with his scoring potential at SF. Payton has starting PG written all over him, kind of a do it all, highly defensive, can get into the lane at will type of PG. He needs to improve on his shot, but with talent around him he should be able to successfully lead his team. Adams has solid two guard written all over him, he just needs to refine his game and continue his fluid all-around game, he affects the game in so many ways, I'd very surprised if he wasn't a very productive NBA player and an overall positive for his team. Honestly 7-10 are all interchangeable, need a PG, take Payton, SG, go with Adams, SF, go with Warren, and in need of a C, take Nurkic.
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