Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Truehoop says the 2006 draft class is "rotten"

Today, Henry Abbott of Truehoop offered the following observation:

Remember that draft? It was actually pretty fun. In the days leading up to it, nobody knew who'd go first. There was some sentiment for LaMarcus Aldridge, who had length and skill but couldn't bench press much. Tyrus Thomas -- an incredible athlete -- earned some consideration. But in the end, a relatively unknown young Andrea Bargnani was the top pick.

As that crew enters its fifth season, it's time for the 2006 draft class to stop trading on potential. These players are squarely in their primes, and some things are coming into focus:
  • Neither Aldridge, Bargnani nor Thomas should have been the top pick.
  • Based on production thus far, the seven best have been Rajon Rondo, Brandon Roy (although his production is way down), Rudy Gay, Aldridge, Bargnani, Tyrus Thomas (his 23.2 PER this season is 15th in the NBA) and Paul Millsap (who leads the class with a 24.9 PER).
  • That was a terrible draft.

Yes, the 2006 draft class was not a very productive group of players. However, I've been over this before: Bargnani was not in the top 7, the top 10, or even the top 20. Even PER (a terribly flawed metric that rewards shot attempts) rates his first four seasons as 13th best.

Of the players taken in the 2006 draft, Rondo, Balkman, Roy, Millsap, Brewer, and Powe were in the top 7 in terms of per-minute production. Over the last two season Balkman has suffered from George Karl's wrath and Powe has been injured. Brewer spent most of last season out with injury. The next  players on the list are Josh Boone (not on an NBA team this year), Kyle Lowry (who has had a terrible year so far), and Thabo Sefolosha. Sefolosha, despite has tiny PER, is a good player - he just doesn't shoot very much. There were a full 11 players from the 2006 draft who played at an above-average level (WP48 of 0.100 or higher) over the course of their first four seasons. The big problem was that the productive players were not selected in the top 10, and thus didn't really get the court time to prove their worth. But when they did - like Millsap, Rondo, and Powe - they excelled. Additionally, unproductive players like Bargnani and Morrison were selected in the top 3 - the top 3! - and several lottery players never even played a minute in the league. The problem with the 2006 draft class wasn't necessarily the fault of the players; it was more of a function of the drafting teams being bad at identifying promising talent.

Arturo Galletti has done a ton of work on this subject - go check out his work right now!

 - Devin


  1. The few people in this world who can actually evaluate NBA level talent accurately are NOT those many good folks who can tell you 5 years after-the-fact that the 2006 NBA Draft had few-to-no dominant players in it ... including an under-achieving No. 1 [overall] Selection like Andrea Bargnani ... but, rather, those particular individuals who could successfully forecast, in advance of that year's draft, which players were most likely going to fit properly into what specific categories, like: a. "Stud", b. "All-Star" Player, c. "Effective Role Player", c. "Effective Reserve Player", and d. "Bust", 5 years down-the-road.

  2. Kind of like this, perhaps?


    Bargnani was a dumb pick no matter how you slice it. "We have the number one pick. We can pick anyone we want. We have 200 or so college players whose numbers we can compare to decades of previous draftees...and then we have this unknown European guy. Let's take the complete unknown!"

  3. Or this?


  4. Unfortunately for you, neither one of those two references actually qualify, as neither one was published prior to the 2006 NBA Draft. :-)

  5. khandor:

    Read what is in the Wages of Wins link. What it says is that, according to college numbers, Paul Millsap was the best player available. If David Berri had been advising the Toronto Raptors - right before the draft, using only college numbers, and with no benefit of hindsight - he would've recommended they use the #1 on Millsap. He also had Rondo at 6th, instead of 21st. I think Berri is better at evaluating draft talent than 90% of NBA GMs.

    The first link is Arturo doing the same thing for this year's draft class. He did it before any of them played a single NBA minute. time will tell if he's accurate, but I guarantee that his results will be better than what the draft order would suggest.

    Nice try though

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Can I just say, I LOVE threads w/ khandor comments. It doesn't get any better than that on the WoW network.

  8. Entertaining for you, perhaps.

    The sad thing is that khandor's "views" are shared by many. Just ignore what people say, keep repeating your talking points...ignoring reality is fun!