Thursday, June 25, 2015

DI 2015

Player DWS eFG% POS                  DI
D. Wright   3.15 56.5 G 1.96
S. Johnson 2.9 50.1 F 1.36
R. Hollis-Jefferson 2.75 50.4 F 1.23
J. Winslow 2.5 55.1 F 1.11
K.A. Towns 2.9 57 C 1.07

L. Nance




M. Harrell 2.57 59.2 F/C 0.94
D. Russell 2.4 54.1 G 0.88
B. Dawson 2.2 55.9 F 0.87
T. Rozier 2.3 46.5 G 0.86
F. Kaminsky 2.45 58.4 F/C 0.84
T. Jones 2.1 48.9 G 0.75
W. Cauley-Stein 2.37 59.3 C 0.74
K. Okafor 2.2 66.4 C 0.72
W. Blackshear 2.1 50.1 F 0.71
J. Mickey 2.3 51.9 F/C 0.66
D. Hilliard 1.97 52.9 F 0.66
C. Wood 2.3 51.3 P/C 0.65
T. Lyles 2.3 49.6 F/C 0.63
V. Hunter 2.2 54.3 F/C 0.63
D. Booker 1.8 57.1 F 0.6
S. Dekker 1.77 56.3 F 0.57
J. Anderson 1.87 50.3 F 0.57
An. Harrison 1.95 43 G 0.57
R.J. Hunter 1.83 51.9 F 0.56
J.P Tokoto 1.9 47.9 F 0.56
T. Lacey 1.73 50.4 G 0.53
Q. Cook 1.67 52.8 G 0.52
A. White 1.68 54.3 F 0.5

M. Turner




R. Christmas 2 56 F/C 0.49
T. Petteway  1.8 47.2 F 0.49
C. Payne 1.65 50.9 G 0.48
K. Oubre 1.7 51.2 F 0.48
K. Looney 2 50.5 F/C 0.48
B. Portis 1.9 54 F/C 0.47
C. Randle 1.6 51.4 G 0.46
T. Graham 1.68 50.2 F 0.46
D. Johnson 2 50.6 C 0.45
J. Martin 1.8 56 F/C 0.43
J. Grant 1.47 50.6 G 0.38
J. Richardson 1.53 50.4 F 0.38
B. Ashley 1.73 53.8 F/C 0.38
A. Brown 1.47 51.6 F 0.36
P. Connaughton 1.38 56.7 F 0.35
C. Lalanne 1.65 58.6 P/C 0.35
N. Powell 1.43 51.2 F 0.34
R. Holmes 1.53 57.4 F/C 0.32
L. Nash 1.45 47.1 F 0.32
T. Haws 1.28 52.1 F 0.28
 T. Trice 1.23 49.6 G 0.26

M. Frazier




R. Vaughn 1.1 52.1 F 0.2
J. Young 0.83 53.7 G 0.13
T. Harvey 0.65 56.5 F 0.08
O. Hanlan 0.56 52.4 F 0.05

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

DI 2014 - Analysis

Green Level

Similar to Noel last season, Embiid came up short of the minimum amount of minutes needed to grade a prospect, but was very much on pace for one of the highest, if not the highest score, and so we'll grant him a provisional inclusion within the green level. Smart improved as a facilitator and brought his shooting numbers up a smidge too...we feel totally confident that he'll be an impactful and well-rounded NBA point guard for years to come.

Russ Smith is the latest in a long line of Louisville prospects to post elite DI scores. While there clearly is something about the Cardinal system that puts players in a position to succeed in regards to the variables DI measures, the possibility that Pitino's players are legitimately improving their games shouldn't simply be dismissed out of hand either. To wit, Dieng looks like he could be the first real professional hit of the Pitino era.

Also in the second round discussion is Khem Birch. A former top recruit who transferred to UNLV from Pitt, Birch is the kind of quick, court-running big with rim protecting skills that has become increasingly popular and valuable in today's NBA. So, is he a new Serge Ibaka? I don't know if I'm going there, but I would take him as early as the mid-first.

Invite Casey Prather to play on your Summer League team.

Gold Level

At the gold level are a slew of guards and wings that could be viable additions after the top names are off the board. I, and apparently Lebron, are united in our disbelief that Shabazz isn't in the lottery discussion. Aside from a troublesome turnover-rate and less than ideal size, Napier demonstrated a well-rounded and often dynamic game. He should be every bit as viable as Kemba at the next level.

Of the group of wings who are kind of bunched together, I would say my favorite is Kyle Anderson. Having shot 43% from three and shown solid passing and rebounding skills, he's the kind of player who can fit in just about any system and could be quite productive. Just ask the new NBA champs about the value of D-ing up and shooting from distance.

Big-ish name Julius Randle doesn't do a lot for me, but I'm sure he'll have a long and OK career.

Red Level

Here we find the probable #1 and #2 picks, in a yet to be determined order, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. I, as a guy with a beer in his hand who watched a lot of college basketball last year, much prefer Wiggins, though neither is any kind of sure thing. Wiggins is the kind of freakish athlete that I think you just have to take a chance on, despite his underwhelming season in Lawrence. Prior to the 2012 draft, we made a similar case for Andre Drummond, and last year it was Victor Oladipo- in this one-and done climate, some guys aren't going adjust to the college game in time to show you the totality of what they're capable of. Sometimes, you've just got to accept some risk and put your chips on the table.

Parker, on the other hand, is awash in red flags. At Duke, Jabari often stopped the ball, took silly off-balance shots, and played indifferent and unprincipled D. The Melo comparison everyone makes is actually pretty generous to Parker, as I don't think you could really make any of those claims about Anthony coming out of Syracuse.  And one Last point, Parker will score a lot, and guys who score a lot generally hold high 'real-life' value. For that reason, he isn't the worst thing you could do to your franchise.

From the substantial list of reds, a couple favorites to hit would be Mitch McGary, whose season was ruined by a back injury and Adreian Payne, who will likely be able to stick in the league as a stretch four.

Gray Level 

There aren't any particularly big names in the gray level for the first time in several years, which suggests this draft could really be a good one. Rodney Hood and T.J Warren are a couple of ACC wings that are extremely athletic though lacking in basketball skills. I would pass on either. Johnny O'Bryant could look dominating on the right night, but the concerns about his size are probably legitimate. I'd at least want to work him out if I were in a position to do that sort of thing.

There you have it folks, just a few cents worth of insight to accompany the numbers. Enjoy the big night tomorrow and here's hoping your team trades its' pick to clear help clear cap space to sign a mega-star.

DI 2014

For our one or two readers, our apologies for focusing on other projects for a while. We didn't forget about you though- and we're here for you with your 2014 scores just in time for draft day. Let's get to it.

Green Level Prospects (60% Success Rate - Advisable Selections) 

J. Embiid                                     Inc.
R. Smith  1.55
M. Smart 
K. Birch   1.15
A. Gordon 
C. Prather  1.1

Gold Level Prospects (30 % Success Rate - Occasionally Advisable)

A. Craft 

C.J Fair  
K. Anderson 
K.J McDaniels 
T. Ennis  
N. Johnson  
K. Williams 
G. Harris  
S. Napier 
J. Harris 
J. Adams  
S. Kilpatrick  
F. Edwin  
K. Appling  
J. Randle  
D. Daniels  
C. Bairstow  
E. Payton  
J. Grant 

Red Level Prospects (20% Success Rate - Largely Unadvisable)

C. Early  

A. Payne
L. Ross  
J. Reddic  
P. Young  
A. Wiggins  
J. Young 
S. DinWiddie  
G. Robinson
J. Cobbs  
M. Brown 
J. Carson  
J. Stokes 
J. Parker  
C. Jefferson  
J. McRae 
D. Kane                        
D. McDermott  

N. Vonleh  
S. Bhullar    
S. Christon 
D. Kane 
M. McGary 
N. Stauskas 
R.D Marble 
Z. LaVine 
P.J Hairston

Gray Level Prospects (10% Success Rate - Universally Unadvisable

J.M McAdoo  

D. Powell
C.J Wilcox 
A. Brown  
T.J Warren  
R. Hood 
A. Dawkins  
D. Burton 
J. Clarkson  
J. Brown 
T. Black

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rookie Report: 1/8th Edition

The month of November is all but in the book and we've gotten a look at the latest crop of rooks taking their first lumps in the Association. Limiting this to players who have given a reasonably good sized sample (200 minutes as of 11/29) we'll take a look at how our ratings are bearing out thus far.
*As always, thanks to the newly revamped for the WP data. Love the new site, guys.

Player                                           DI score                       WP48
Michael Carter-Williams                    2.18                             .127
Victor Oladipo                                  0.62                             .002
Nate Wolters                                    0.29                              .096           
Ben McLemore                                 1.12                             .041
Kelly Olynyk                                     0.50                           -.093
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope                0.64                             -.036
Steven Adams                                   0.35                             .137
Mason Plumlee                                 0.65                              .148
Hollis Thompson                               0.16                              .140
Tim Hardaway Jr.                             0.45                              .049

Notes: Michael Carter-Williams was far and away our highest rated player and we noted that we would have no compunction taking him as early as second overall, so his early success is very encouraging. We do see a dip in his field goal percentage coming, which may impact his WP going forward, but his defensive skills (three steals a game?!), rebounding, and playmaking ability are quite good and here to stay.
Victor Oladipo, despite a somewhat middling DI score was still our pick to win the Rookie of the Year and to make one of the largest positive contributions of this rookie class, and he has kind of validated us on both counts. The turnover and occasional defensive lapses that held down his DI score at Indiana have followed him to Orlando (hence the lousy WP), but anyone that has seen him play can see that he still has a very high ceiling and a game well-tailored to the NBA. Much like D-Wade, to whom Vic is so often compared, Oladipo needs to play at the 2, and never at PG- that alone would help to move him forward and to cut the massive turnover numbers. 
McLemore has been running hot and cold as a shooter and looks like he's trying to do too much when he's in there, but doesn't look overwhelmed and should find his stride once he's put in the starting lineup and left there. 
Olynyk has been a disappointment- we knew he'd struggle defensively, but he really hasn't shot the ball well at all for the C's.
This season's big man who is a considerably better pro than he was a college player appears to be Steven Adams. He's been getting up and down the floor and working hard under the glass, which is just what the Thunder were hoping for. So far, he looks like the answer in the middle for them.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

We're Back Baby: 13-14 Season Preview

The basketball offseason is a relatively painless one. A solid month of draft and free agent talk, summer league, then camp is only a few weeks off and we get to do the whole deal over again.

It's been a restful hiatus for the Index and now we're back with a few thoughts prior to the opening tip. Patrick Minton of the NBA Geek wrote an excellent piece not long ago about how little he thinks of prediction making, and demonstrated, when it comes to accuracy, the analytics community doesn't vastly outperform the mainstream media, if they do at all. Why should this be? 

Well, injuries, rookies, aging, personal problems, trades, dumb coaches, smart coaches, new coaches ect ect. The number of variables are so great and the relationships between them so complex, and frankly so arbitrary, that even with sophisticated tools at our disposal, an 82 game season is going to hold quite a few surprises. 

So, don't take these as predictions per se- but rather a few places where you and I probably differ and some reasons I have for thinking what I do. 

Eastern Conference:

Team I like to outperform expectations: Orlando Magic

I'm not sure how interested the Magic are in making major strides this season, but I don't think they're going to be one of the leagues worst teams, as most seem to believe. I'm not one to care about Rookie of the Year, much less to figure out who's going to win it, but to my eye, Victor Oladipo is the rookie most ready to come in and make a significant contribution to an NBA team this season. His presence adds desperately needed defensive support and puts Nelson and Afflalo in more of a supportive role. The front court has improved as well: Jason Maxiell provides more defensive help and has been an underrated player for years, while Harkless, Harris, and Vucevic all enter their second season in Orlando and could very easily make incremental improvements to their games. 
I don't think the Magic quite make the playoffs, but I think they establish themselves as a team on the rise and could easily stay around the .500 mark. 

Team I think falls short of expectations: New York Knicks

Analytics guys killed the Knicks for trading a productive player and multiple draft picks for arguably the league's least productive player, Andrea Bargnani. It's not a trade I would have made, but this isn't even totally about that- actually I'm kind of interested to see how playing next to an elite defensive center effects Bargs. Rather, this is a cumulative assessment. Losing Jason Kidd is bad, moving Carmelo back to the three is bad, swapping Novak for Bargs is bad, replacing him with World Peace is bad...and they weren't all that great to begin with. 
Others have alluded to the general volatility of the Knicks situation this year: Carmelo can opt out, Amare is back (maybe) which begins the coexistence argument again, J.R Smith and MWP are there, the Nets are going to be contenders...
What we're saying is this could get ugly. It wouldn't amaze us if the Knicks miss the playoffs or barely sneak in this season. 

Eastern Conference Champion: Miami Heat 
*This is a straight forward pick and we won't get into it, but very quickly, Pat Riley deserves a lot of credit for the way he's built the supporting parts on this team. Chris Anderson was a saavy addition and does things that this team needed prior to his arrival, Michael Beasley is one of the highest ranked players in DI history and bringing him in for pennies and trying to get him to focus and stay under the basket is a worthy roll of the dice. Last, and hopefully not least, Greg Oden could make this team historically great if he can manage to get and stay on the floor. Bottom line, Pat is one of those guys that just gets it.

Western Conference 

Team I like to exceed expectations: New Orleans Pelicans

I don't love what the Pelicans did in the offseason (that's not necessarily a dig at the name change) but I think the stars more or less line up for them this season. First of all, Anthony Davis is probably going to be one of the 10-15 best players in the game this season, which just makes everything else that much easier. Though they gave up too much to get him, Jrue Holiday is an upgrade over Vasquez, and Evans a general upgrade however they choose to use him, again, price tag not withstanding. 
After good complimentary pieces like Aminu, Anderson, and Morrow, things get a little rough, and the determining factor for the Pelicans this year might be how much good stuff they can get from the other guys, or if they can manage to get some different guys as things progress.
I'm looking for N.O to return to the playoffs as the 7th or 8th seed this season. 

Team I think falls short of expectations: Golden State Warriors

This is somewhat murky territory, as I pretty much love what the Warriors did this offseason, but I think they'll have a tough time taking the next step in a treacherous Western Conference. First of all, defensively they are merely OK, which they addressed with the addition of Andre Igoudala. It's a great signing, but fundamentally they are still an up-tempo team that relies upon outshooting opponents, which is a tough way to make a living in the postseason. 
I am also concerned about the injury histories of the very pivotal Andrew Bogut and David Lee, and to a lesser degree Steph Curry. There aren't obvious replacements for any of those guys on that roster, and losing one or more could be really difficult to overcome. 
If you're thinking this sounds like nitpicking, you're probably right, but I think the Warriors don't end up with much more than a 6th or 7th seed and a quick exit from the postseason. 

Western Conference Champion: Houston Rockets
Call me crazy, but they've got the big man, they've got the guy who can take the big shot, they've got guys who can spot up around the arc and make defenses pay, they have depth and roster flexibility. A strong case can be made for half a dozen teams, but strictly on paper, I like what Morey and Co. are bringing the table. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Draft According to Draftability

Opinions typically are in no short supply on draft night- everybody has biases and crushes and are more than happy to let you know about them. Technically speaking, we do too, but we do have some numbers to back up our biases. The Index sees some pretty clear winners and losers from Thursday night...


76ers                                     DI Score  
Michael Carter-Williams   -        2.16
Nerlens Noel  (via trade)  -       Inc. 
Arsalan Kazemi                -        0.35

I didn't lay out clear cut rankings prior to the draft but if I did I'm pretty sure Noel and Carter-Williams would have been 2 of the top 3 prospects on our board. There was no finer maneuver on Thursday than first year GM Sam Hinkie turning the 11th pick in the draft and the not particularly effective Jrue Holliday into Noel, MCW, and about 9M in available funds. 
The Sixers aren't a finished product by any means and they are probably content to tank in pursuit of a high pick next summer, however they've positioned themselves well to move on from the Andrew Bynum fiasco. If however, Hinkie remains active, I'd love to see them continue the rebuild by adding a Millsap or J.J Hickson type to the front court to pair with Noel. 

Pistons                                  DI Score
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope         0.64
Tony Mitchell                             0.43
Peyton Siva                                1.12

The Pistons helped themselves quite a bit on draft night, adding three athletic, efficient prospects. I was glad Dumars didn't pander to the Michigan faithful with a Trey Burke selection and instead addressed the team's glaring need at the two. Pope wasn't our favorite prospect but if he can improve his shot selection he appears to have the rest of the tools in place to be a starting caliber player.
Mitchell is an ideal second rounder- an inconsistent performer who has flashed big time potential. He has a chance to play right away at both forward spots. We like Siva's quickness, defensive hands, and passing ability and he should be able to step in behind Brandon Knight immediately.
Three picks and three good looking prospects- we can't argue with that.

Grizzlies                                DI Score
Jamaal Franklin                         1.05
Janis Timma                          International
Kosta Koufos                        Via Trade

The Wallace/Hollinger Grizzlies front office team have been absolutely killing it in Memphis, and I love what they did on draft night. Franklin was dropping on mock draft boards in the weeks leading up to the draft, but nothing was more surprising to me than seeing him fall all the way into the mid-second round. If the Griz are financially incapable of bringing Tony Allen back next year, I really think Franklin can step in and replace a lot of that production from Day 1.
What puts Memphis' night over the top was the fleecing of the Nuggets in the Koufos-Arthur trade. Joerger will likely give Koufos and Ed Davis good run, making the Grizzlies frontline arguably the best, and certainly the deepest in the game. That's just good work.


Cavs                                      DI Score
Anthony Bennett                        0.55
Sergey Karasev                    International
Carrick Felix                              0.34

This is the second straight year the Cavs had a top five pick and went completely off the map to reach for an inefficient player. Bennett isn't the right size for a power forward, he isn't that great of a rebounder, he can't handle the ball like Larry Johnson- to whom he's often compared. I don't get it- but then again I still don't get Waiters...
Karasev seemingly fills a need, though officially we don't have much to offer on the European contingent that you couldn't get on DraftExpress. Felix might be OK, he's a good athlete but he just didn't produce much at ASU. He's a project type.
Bill Simmons put it well on Thursday when he talked about how, with four picks and a bunch of cap room, this was supposed to be a huge signature night for Cleveland and they just didn't come away with much. They're still lousy.

Nets                                      DI Score
Mason Plumlee                         0.67
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett,      via trade
Jason Terry

We give Billy King plenty of grief on here, but COME ON! Granted, I understand Pierce, KG, and Jet are still above-average players and luxury tax dollars are of no object to ownership, but this was still wildly reckless. Evans was arguably their best player last year, Hump is good, this means Blatche is gone- how much better are they, even? This is worse than Isiah's Knicks, the Nets franchise is DOA-Dead from a financial standpoint beginning as early as a year from now- all in order to make slight cosmetic upgrades to a flawed roster. Don't even get me started on the three firsts...
Plumlee is a decent rotational big and a good fit for what the Nets do. Big Whoop.

Thunder                                DI Score
Stephen Adams                        0.35
Andre Roberson                       0.77
Alex Abrines                        International
Grant Jerrett                             0.08

Give Sam Presti four picks and typically you're going to like the results, but I just don't see the logic behind his selections. The Thunder had clear needs- a sharp shooter off the bench, a scorer from the block, and depth on the wings. Roberson and Abrines are long, rangy and probably can slot in behind KD and Sefolosha, but Adams and Jerrett feel like whiffs.
Seemingly, OKC was seduced by Adams' athleticism, but I would have rather seen them with a Tony Mitchell, or even Olynyk- somebody who could score around the basket and suck defenders toward the paint. If Adams becomes that guy, they're set, but I don't see it. Jerrett is a stringy power forward who can shoot a little, similar to an Austin Daye, however his defense was nonexistant in college. I wonder if he even makes the club. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Draft Night!

This is pretty much Christmas morning for the Index, the day we spend so much time talking about and running numbers on. The final numbers are in- the drafts are mocked (however this year looks like one of those drafts that blasts all the mocks to smithereens with trades, in short order) and for me, it's an occasion to sit back and watch the next chapter unfold.

I don't talk about the Bucks a lot, but this is an important  night for my hometown squad- blowing it would put them one big step closer to having to find a new town. I'm hoping now that Ellis, Redick, and quite possibly Jennings are off the roster, that they forget this pipe dream about running a track meet offense and settle on a physical, defensively capable player to complement Sanders and Henson.

There's a million ways things could break, and if you believe twitter, they have no intention of sticking at 15, but assuming they would, I would really like to see Milwaukee land Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State. His length and toughness are really special- the shot selection and ball protection are poor and will keep him out of the lottery and perhaps rightly so. However, if Franklin were utilized correctly, I have a lot of faith that his DI score does indeed portend good things ahead.

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy tonight...