Oct 16, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Luis Scola (4) drives to the basket against the Dallas Mavericks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

What Does a Draft Pick Get You? - Revisited

Way, way back in the summer of 2010, we published a rather ambitious analysis on all of the post-merger draft classes, encompassing 1997 through 2009 (NBA seasons 1978 through 2010).  As part of the build up to the 2012 NBA Draft (Thursday, June 28, 7:00 PM), we’re going to dust this off.

We’ll start by linking back to the original series:

  • Part I:  Stat Rankings and Number Crunching – The kickoff to the series gives the methodology and walks through the Top 60 picks for 33 years’ worth of draft classes. Here’s an excerpt that explains the measure being used – Production Rating (PR).

Number Crunching

In order to do a statistical analysis on this many players, I needed something that approached a unifying number or metric.  For this analysis, I dusted off an old metric developed by Martin Manley in the late 1980s called “Production Rating.”  It is calculated as follows:

Production Rating (PR) = (Points + Rebounds + Assists + Blocks + Steals – Turnovers – Missed Field Goals – Missed Free Throws)/Games Played

To update this metric a little I’ve made two adjustments to it:

  • Pace – I have basically adjusted all of the PR’s to a per 100 basis.  As a shortcut, I used the Pace Factor for the player’s team for this adjustment.  For example, Danny Granger’s 2010 numbers were “played at” 97.1, so they were multiplied by (100/97.1).  It’s not perfect, but it’s sufficient for this purpose.
  • Reliability – Essentially, this is just a way to adjust for games missed.  The net effect is to treat the games missed as a zero (0) PR.  For career reliability, I put a minimum number of years at five (5) years.  This clearly doesn’t impact players whose draft classes haven’t been in the league long enough, but it is meant to penalize players who played shorter than average careers.  An example would former Pacer Kenny Williams, who only played for four years.  His 260 games would be divided by 410, instead of 328.  If a player played five or more years, he was not penalized for “missed” years.  For example, neither Michael Jordan nor David Robinson were penalized for the full seasons that they missed either at the beginning and middle of their careers, respectively.

There are flaws in this system.  It will overrate stat stuffers like Shawn Marion or Troy Murphy.  It will underrate players like Scottie Pippen, Joe Dumars and Shane Battier, but, hey, so does PER.  Overall, however, I don’t believe that this analysis is telling you (or me) any lies.

If you want to see how others have done this, Tom Haberstroh used EWA in the D.R.A.F.T. Initiative on ESPN, and Roland Beech of 82games.com used a very simple rating combining Points, Rebounds, and Assists per game.

Parts V, VI and VII were to be ranking the 33 draft classes, from “worst” to first, using a the following point system based on the 5-Star ratings and the Peak Award levels:

scoring system

Parts V & VI were completed, and the links are below.

Part VII will be coming out (better late than never) by tomorrow, in order to provide a complete series.

From there, we’ll be updating the information for the last two years, and doing some analysis more relevant to the upcoming draft.

  • What kind of production has come from the #26 pick, as well as those taken after that slot? We’ll be investigating whether later picks have become more productive over the last few years.  Some anecdotal evidence exists, as several of the most productive #26 picks have been recent ones – including Pacer and Indianapolis native, George Hill
  • How have Pacer execs Larry Bird and Kevin Pritchard done in the draft. For Bird, we’ll examine all of the Pacer picks since 2004 – as well as a discussion of draft day trades. For Pritchard, we’ll look at his tenure as the GM of the Portland Trailblazers, spanning from 2007 through 2009.
  • Updating the analysis to include the last two years. What do the classes of 2010 & 2011 look like? Have the last two years of data made any significant changes? It will also be worth spending some time taking a look at the Class of 2008 – which has generated enough success over the last two seasons to have placed it 6th among all the (now) 35 classes based on the system above.

These will come out over the next 10 days or so leading up to the draft.



Tags: What Does A Draft Pick Get You?

  • Aj

    @Tim Donahue Given Pritchard’s time with the Trailblazers, and their need of a point guard, what do you think the Pacers chances are of trading Darren Collison to move up in the draft. Many big boards, including ESPN, have them selecting Damian Lillard with either the 6th or 11th pick. Trading Collison would end any and all speculation of whether George Hill will keep the starting spot, and if we could keep our 26th pick we could address our need for a big guy either early or late and get a SF or PG later in the draft. Your thoughts?

  • Evan

    Pritchard was “fired” before the 2010 draft, but told Paul Allen he needed to stay on for the draft. He did stay on and they traded for Luke Babbitt. So, you should count 2010 in for Pritchard.

  • Rob

    Any rating system that does not weight stats is not going to work. Surely you don’t believe that Offensive rebounds=Defensive Rebounds=Assists=Steals=Turnovers, that is, that all of these stats contribute equally to a team winning or losing?

  • Rob

    Or, to put it another way, there are statistically significant metrics out there. You can find them at Basketball Reference. PER is not very good, and neither is this system.

  • Kris
  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    You Indycornrows trolls are the worst. You can’t be more lame than to troll another Pacers blog with constant links to another Pacers blog. Stay away from here and go blow each other on Indycornrows.

  • Ronal Eugene is Right!!

    Also, you should realize that 90% of the people that come to this site read both and Indycornrows has been pretty lame this summer as well because there is nothing to talk about when your team isn’t playing in June. Whoa, you actually had a draft pick tournament. That’s so exciting you should troll websites to promote that. And today you have links to ESPN articles talking about the finals, that is so original you should definitely act like a complete tool and troll websites to promote that.

  • Aj

    @Ronal Don’t even fret man. It all balances out in the end if you ask me. They’re not only trying to promote the website, but they’re trying to replace this blog on the True Hoops network as outlined by numerous comments on blog posts on 8pts9secs. This, however, just isn’t going to work because what these guys fail to realize is that ESPN and True Hoops take into account character, professionalism, and integrity. I should note I’m an Indycornrows fan to a degree, but I’ll happily admit that 8pts9secs has a more professional looking blog that isn’t cluttered with ads and a million links to non related sites.

    I digress though, Let’s get back to Pacer talk. Speaking of which, who’s are greatest trade asset for the draft, Darren Collison, Tyler Hansbrough, or someone else completely. I’ve been hesitant to the idea of trading Darren Collison, but if we could get a top 15 pick in whats suppose to be a really deep draft this year then why not?

  • Mike

    @AJ I’d be much more open to dealing Collison than Hansbrough. Collison played over his true value in the playoffs while Hansbrough arguably played under his true value. Indy would be much more likely to get a team to overspend on a player like Collison. There are a number of teams who would love to get a PG on the level of Collison. I’d value DC as worth a mid-1st rounder. Why not to Dallas for the 17? It’s not a lottery pick, but you could get a guy like Terrence Ross to replace Barbosa, and still have the 26 pick to take the best value. Heck, with two 1st rounders, why not take a flyer on Fab Melo? Indy is a quality organization, and maybe if Melo spends time around guys like Hill, Hibbert, and Granger he’ll get his stuff figured out. He’d also be a legitimate backup to Roy at the 5, rather than the silly stuff we had to work with last season.

    Alternately, since Portland has two top 11 draft picks, might they be willing to deal either for a Collison/Hansbrough combo? Who would say no if Indy offered those two + the 26 for the 6th pick? Indy could get West’s successor in John Henson, or a potentially great wing in Harrison Barnes, which would lock in Paul George at the 2 for good (a good thing, IMO) and opening up for a Granger trade down the road (not what I’d like to see, but it’s clear that his contract is going to be a problem for the Pacers if they want to win now).

  • Jesse


    I think these are generally pretty sensible ideas. But after a wretched season by Hansbrough, I’m fairly down on him. My reservation about trading Collison for a mid first rounder would be if George Hill struggles at the point, gets injured, or if the bench scoring is otherwise anemic. I would be a little cautious about a rookie replacing DC’s scoring unless it was a top 10 pick.

  • Mike

    @Jesse: And thus why I’m much higher on the latter half of my response after some thought. Packaging the two to Portland would be beneficial to both teams. Henson or Barnes would both certainly be able to replace DC’s scoring, and Portland is in desperate need of a point guard. Hansbrough would give Collison a familiar PnR target as well as allowing Portland to play small and fast with LMA at the 5. A lineup of Collison/Matthews/Batum/Hansbrough/Aldridge would be one of the fastest in the league, and Matthews/Batum would be able to cover for Collison being a bit undersized.

  • N

    I agree… I’d love to see the pacers package collison & hansborough in a trade. I’m so tired of watching hansborough/amundson come into games and just blow any lead that the pacers have.

    Everytime hans get’s the ball he just seems to completely panic unless he has an open mid range shot (which he wasn’t able to consistently knock down, especially in the playoffs) or an uncontested dunk. The pacer’s won’t do anything in the post season unless they upgrade them.

    I could also see the pacers staying pat and trying to pick up a pick in the second round. I’m bullish on Jae Crowder, Machado, Reggie Hamilton, and Alex Young. The latter two could also probably be taken late in the 2nd. All of those guys are ready to come fill in as role players right now.

  • PG

    I’m generally with you on your trade proposal with Portland, Mike, but I think you’re somewhat overestimating Collison’s and especially Hansbrough’s trade value. Hansbrough hasn’t shown any low post moves and to be honest I think the “bull in a china shop” tag often used for D. Jones applies even more to Hansbrough. He has developed a solid mid-range jumper, but doesn’t have elite range. Collison would most definitely be an upgrade, but if you think about it, Collison’s best stretch as a pro probably came in New Orleans, with Chris Paul out. Felton’s best stretch was at least as good, if not better while he was in New York with Amare. While I still believe Collison is better, I don’t think this is a massive upgrade that would compel Portland to give up the #6 pick. The Pacers would be lucky to get the #11 pick from Portland with the package you put together.

    Finally, while I agree that Henson has a lot of potential, I certainly don’t think he’d be able to pick up the offensive load that Collison carried last year. He’s a wonderful, instinctual defensive player, but his back to the basket game still needs significant work. And as for Harrison Barnes being “potentially great”? You can’t have been watching the same player I was. He’s potentially average. He has no motor, no defensive intensity and is going to struggle massively to guard quicker 3′s. He is a solid shooter, but that’s about it. If we’re just talking shooting, then we should trade for the #11 pick and take Jeremy Lamb. That guy actually knows how to move without the ball, something Barnes is still clueless about. Barnes looks an awful lot like Julian Wright from Kansas, drafted in 2007.

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  • Jesse

    After watching some of DraftExpress’s scouting videos, I’d be pretty happy with Quincy Miller at 26. That kid can score in several ways. In the end, I think that’s what we need most with a pick. I’d also be happy with Draymond Green, whom I think will have a solid NBA career.

  • wesmont

    Don’t panic,this is a DEEP draft.Pacers take Draymond Green and get help with the second group as an offensive threat.That would help Hansbrough immediately.Or Melo as a defensive backup at center which would be a huge improvement.he would have the time to develop but would help right now.One of these two will be there.Past tells me when the Pacers talk up a guy,like Melo yesterday they are bluffing and heve NO intention of drafting him.

  • Jesse


    basically. If the Pacers act like they’re leaning, look in the opposite direction. I think Draymond would add a skillset off the bench that we could really use. Stiesma could be a good fit, though he’s restricted.

  • Joe B

    I do not see the Pacers making any moves in this draft. True, Collison is a piece of trade bait, but the Pacers do not need to shake up their team. They beat Miami twice and, with any rebounding to limit Miami’s second chance points, could have stolen the series. Drafting a true back-up center who can rebound and has good athleticism, resigning all free agents, and allowing Lance the opportunity to prove Larry Bird right in the sixth man role is the way to go. Meaningless Prediction: The Pacers are the number 3 seed out of the East next season with a better chance to push Miami or Chicago to the brink; Lance averages 10 off the bench; PG becomes a better passer to the post

  • AMFinocchi

    I’m I the only one who thinks we should get Kendall Marshall?