A number of old-school GMs remain dismissive when it comes to using stats to evaluate draft prospects, but more and more NBA teams are employing stat gurus to develop formulas that can predict pro success.
Some of them run teams, like the Houston Rockets' Daryl Morey. Others, like Dean Oliver of the Nuggets, have been key consultants for years. And a handful of other teams are getting into the stat game for the first time.
Teams are using everything from projected PER (player efficiency rating) to WARP (wins over replacement player), EWA (estimated wins added), and all sorts of variations and compilations of formulas to project NBA success. Every team has its own system, and they rarely produce exactly the same results.
Our own John Hollinger recently weighed in with his Draft Rater formula to break down the 2010 prospects.
I talked to three NBA executives who use various forms of statistical analysis to rank their players to get a feel for what they're seeing. The GMs agreed to share their statistically based top-10 lists as long as I didn't disclose the team and as I long as I didn't divulge the statistical methods they were using.
I then aggregated those lists, and here's a look at what they came up with:
This group matches up closely with Hollinger's findings and is even more in line with the top 10 on our Big Board. Each team had an outlier the other two teams didn't rank as highly. One team had Cole Aldrich ranked in the top five. Another had Manny Harris and Gordon Hayward in the top 10.
There are a few other things to note. The first is that, by statistical measurements at least, it looks like Greg Monroe should be going higher than No. 9 -- where we have him projected in our mock draft right now. The same holds true for Henry, whom we currently have at No. 15. The love also keeps on coming for Luke Babbitt, who I believe is now seriously in the discussion for Utah at No. 9.
One guy who isn't getting any love is Ekpe Udoh. That's because Udoh is already 23 years old, and virtually all of the stat gurus view that as a problem. Players who are older than 22 when they are drafted have terrible track records in the NBA. That works against him in virtually every formula out there.
A draft-defining workout
The New Jersey Nets are hosting a big group workout Wednesday through Friday, which represents the last chance for many teams to see a number of potential second-round prospects (and a few first-round bubble guys) en masse. Like the earlier workout in Minnesota, this one has suffered from mass defections by players ranked in the middle of the first round. However, the strength of the workout is the chance to see a number of intriguing international players matched up against Americans.
In addition to the Nets, representatives from 20 other teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards are expected to attend.
Here's a look at who's participating: