Commentary

Draft: Rating the European prospects

Updated: June 23, 2009, 2:48 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Ricky RubioGetty ImagesThere are still a lot of questions about Ricky Rubio, including: How will his game translate in the NBA?

A few days ago I presented my draft rater, which looks at the pro potential of all of this year's collegians, but that doesn't mean our work is done.

There's also a group of Europeans to look at, and in this case they fall into three categories. The first category is the one that matters most for Thursday -- the group of Euros eligible to be selected in the draft, either because they've declared for it or because they turn 22 this calendar year.

But there are two other equally important groups. First are the ones whose draft rights are already held by NBA clubs, many of whom can expect to make the move this summer or in the years following. Second are those whose rights aren't held by any team and are true free agents. While several in that category are bound by contracts in Europe, they're nonetheless an intriguing source of free talent and many can wriggle free with buyout provisions.

With that in mind, let's bring back my European translation system for another go-round. As I've explained in previous years, the highest level of European basketball, the Euroleague, is where most of the continent's quality performers can be found. And the good news for NBA teams is that there's a predictable relationship between how a player performs in the Euroleague and how he'll fare in his first year in the NBA.

On average, switching from the Euroleague to the NBA does the following to a player's pace-adjusted per-minute stats:

  • Scoring rate decreases 25 percent
  • Rebound rate increases by 18 percent
  • Assist rate increases by 31 percent
  • Shooting percentage drops by 12 percent
  • Overall, player efficiency rating drops by 30 percent

    Because of that, we can draw some pretty good inferences about how valuable the prospects in Europe might be to teams in the NBA just by looking at their numbers in Europe this season.

    Let's take a look at who's available and see how they graded out: