Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 NBA Draft Prospects Overview

New readers, please check out the basics before leaving any comments.

In case you've been stuck under a rock for the past few months, you'll know that the NBA draft is coming up shortly. My team of choice (for now....) is the Toronto Raptors; the Raptors will likely have a top three pick and can fall no lower than 6th. My question is, according to the numbers, which players should the Raptors (or any other team, for that matter) target?

Well, I have a post written up and ready with all of the numbers included, but I'm actually going to keep that unpublished until right before the draft. Why? Let's just say that it'll be some good content to help launch a new website. So for now, I'm going to operate contrary to my normal M.O. and post some stat-free player assessments, organized into five categories: players to avoid, promising players, overrated players, underrated players, and "mystery box" players

  • Of the players who look like they might be drafted in the top 10, Brandon Knight is the only NCAA player who doesn't look very good.
  • Tristan Thompson is also not looking too good here either, but he's much better than Knight.
  • Of the other NCAA players, Tobias Harris, Trey Thompkins, Josh Selby, Kyle Singler, Malcolm Lee, Scotty Hopson, Vernon Macklin, and Justin Hurtt don't look like they will provide good value at their best case spot.
  • Of the international players who might go in the top 10, Donatas Motiejunas looks absolutely atrocious.  Even worse, here's what draft express has to say about him: his "best case" is Andrea Bargnani, and his "worst case" is Channing Frye. Even though Draft Express mixed up the best case/worst case players, ouch. If the Raptors pick him, I will no longer be following the team.
  • Jan Vesley also looks even worse than Knight.
  • Bismack Biyombo didn't post impressive numbers. Still, he's close enough to average that he might surprise, and his sample size was small.
  • Of the other international players who might get drafted, Bojan Bogdanovic looks pretty bad.

  • Kyrie Irving is really good. Of course, he only played in 11 games, so who knows how the small sample size will hold up.
  • Kenneth Faried - who, it looks like, won't be drafted until 17th or later - is the most productive player in the draft. If you're looking for the likely steal of the draft, Faried's your man.
  • Keith Benson, Charles Jenkins, and Marshon Brooks all look like they will be bargains.
  • Iman Shumpert, Nikola Vucevic, Ben Hansbrough, Malcolm Thomas, Chandler Parsons, Justin Holiday, Willie Reed, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning also have the potential to be steals.

  • Jon Leuer and Gary Flowers are are the most overrated players in the draft. Leuer is thought of more highly than Flowers because he is taller and younger (Flowers is 25)
  • Troy Gillenwater doesn't look like he's going to be selected, but he's the next most overrated of the players who have declared for the draft.
  • Jimmer Fredette is the fourth most overrated player due to the fact that he takes so many shots.
  • A few good players are overrated: Derrick Williams is 7th, Charles Jenkins is 9th, Marcus Morris is 13th, and Kemba Walker is 15th.

  • DeAndre Liggins is the most underrated player amongst players likely to be drafted. Unfortunately, he's still not necessarily a player you would want to pick. The same is also true for Canadian Cory Joseph, who is the third most underrated player who is likely to be selected.
  • Justin Holiday and Chandler Parsons are the only above-average players who are significantly underrated (2nd and 4th, respectively).

Mystery box:
  • This category is inspired by a memorable Family Guy episode (from one of the original three seasons when the show was still good; the relevant clip is from 0:59-4:35) where Peter chooses a mystery box over a boat, because "a boat's a boat, but a mystery box could be anything! It could even be a boat! And you know how much we've been wanting one of those!" These players could turn out to be anything, from a very good pick to as valuable as a pair of tickets to a crappy comedy club.
  • Enes Kanter may go as high as the 3rd overall pick, but I don't have any stats for him. He has played internationally, so he's not a complete unknown, but I don't know if I'd take a chance on him at #3. He's also only 18 years old, which could be either a good thing or a bad thing.
  • Jonas Valanciunas may go as high as the 4th overall pick and is the most productive international player in the draft, but he only played 14.9 minutes across 14 games over in Europe. He's 19 years old.
  • Lucas Nogueira may go as high as the 21st pick, but he doesn't have any stats either. He's an 18 year old Brazilian centre who I've never heard of before.

Who should the Raptors pick?

Given all this, who should the Raptors go after? Well, it would be nice to know what position the Raptors will have on draft night, but we won't find that out for a few more days now. Since that is the case, I would like to offer two scenarios:
  1. With a top 6 pick, the Raptors draft any of the following players (in no particular order): Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Markieff Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Derrick Williams, Alec Burks, and Marcus Morris. If the Raptors are feeling risky ("who could resist the call of the mystery box?"), the mystery box options are Enes Kanter and Jonas Valanciunas, but that could end badly.
  2. The Raptors could trade down and pick Kenneth Faried, Travis Leslie, Jordan Williams, Reggie Jackson, or Charles Jenkins.
  3. If the Raptors somehow acquire a second round pick (right now they have none), they should go after Keith Benson, Norris Cole, Marshon Brooks, Iman Shumpert, Nikola Vucevic, Ben Hansbrough, Malcolm Thomas, Chandler Parsons, and Justin Holiday. There may also be some other draft eligible players amongst the players that are not listed in mock drafts that might be worth a look.

I'm of the opinion that you always take the best player available, rather than to try to fit a need. That means that even though the Raptors should be looking for a C or a SG/SF, they may have to draft another PF. Of course, the team might have to trade away some of its unproductive players to make this strategy work, but I would hope that no one would have a problem with that.

Hopefully that's enough to keep everyone occupied until I post the full article!

 - Devin


  1. Jonas Valanciunas!

    He'll be Andris Biedrins with 90% free throw shooting.

  2. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  3. Thank U for sharing your info!

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