Quick Thoughts on the 2009 NBA Draft

Posted on June 26, 2009 by


For the past few weeks (or longer) people have wondered who would get drafted and in what order.  Last night the wondering ceased and we got to see how NBA decision-makers ranked the players – both international and collegiate — who hope to embark on a career in professional basketball. 

In a few days I hope Erich Doerr can offer some insights into the international players selected (and perhaps more thoughts on the draft overall).  For today I want to put up some quick comments on the college players selected.

These comments begin with Table One, which lists each college player selected and the player’s Position Adjusted Win Score per 40 minutes (PAWS40).

Table One: Ranking the Players Selected from College in the 2009 NBA Draft

In looking at Table One it’s important to remember that college numbers do not predict perfectly what we will see in the NBA.  Still, there is a correlation.  And that should not be surprising.  If a player was not able to excel in college we should suspect he might struggle against the superior talent in the NBA.  So Jonny Flynn, Jordan Hill, and Gerald Henderson (just to name a few) might end up disappointing the fans of the teams that selected these players in the lottery.

At the other end of the spectrum we see DeJuan Blair, Blake Griffin, and Ty Lawson.  Obviously most people consider Griffin the best talent in this draft.  Blair has better numbers, but from what I understand, his knees might be a problem.  Of course, if the knees are not an issue the Spurs might have found an extremely productive player.  Rebounding in college is highly correlated with what we see in the NBA.

Okay, those are my quick thoughts.  Here are some quick thoughts from Erich Doerr:

2008-2009 ROY

After last year’s draft, I claimed “Beasley, Oden, Fernandez, and Love easily grade out as the best projected rookies. For the statistical purists, I’ll provide a 60% confidence interval that one of these four will win rookie of the year and a 70% confidence interval that one of them will actually deserve it.” Apparently, I was overconfident in predicting the trophy winner and under-confident in predicting the biggest Win Producer.  This year, the top selections seem to project better, so I’m left to claim that one of Griffin, Harden, Curry and Thabeet will win the Rookie of the Year award and probably deserve it, given a 75% confidence interval.

2009 Prospects

While Blake Griffin’s freshman numbers didn’t warrant much attention, his improvement and subsequent season certainly did; Griffin became well worthy of #1 overall.  Outside of Griffin, outstanding Win Scores pointed to Harden, Curry, and Hansbrough as underrated by the early mocks and the stats were vindicated by last night’s selections.

Summer school

For the year round fans, keep your summer league eyes on players like Lester Hudson, Ahmad Nivins, Lee Cummard, and Jon Brockman.  DeJuan Blair would make this list, but in my opinion, you’ll likely see plenty of him in the preseason and rotational minutes in 2009-2010.

Once again, Erich and I should have more thoughts on this draft next week.  And I have a few trades to discuss as well. 

– DJ

The WoW Journal Comments Policy

Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at wagesofwins.com provides substantially more information on the published research behind Wins Produced and Win Score

Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:

Simple Models of Player Performance

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say

Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics

Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.