Based on the Value Add system, Jimmy Butler is the 18th best offensive college player eligible for the draft this year. Since high school players were ruled ineligible, the NBA has picked between 44 and 52 college players every draft, so hopefully there won't be too many international players this year and Jimmy's name is called.
I ran the best 2500 returning players based on the system in an earlier post, but there were almost 1000 players who did not return (seniors, transferred, declared for draft). Of these, only 17 were more valuable to their teams than Jimmy Butler was. Here is the list of the top 20 departing college players with where they rank among draft prospects according to Draft Express:
NBA Potential vs. College Value Add
Now obviously NBA scouts are focused on the potential to play in the NBA, which often but not always coincides with how much a player has helped his college team. For example, Purdue obviously had a lot of great college players in the 1990s when they were the 8th best team of the decade (Sagarin) but they only had one 1st round draft pick. Alabama had 7 first rounders play in the 1990s, but were only the 36th best team.
AP Writers said Jerel McNeal was one of the 10 best college players in America his senior year, but NBA scouts picked 44 college players ahead of him in the draft.
Still, in 17 of 20 cases the top college players are also among the 10% of departing D1 players with a shot at being picked, which is a pretty good correlation, and the three exceptions are pretty easy to explain as great college players who just don't have the size or speed to play in the NBA.
Chris Warren of Mississippi is measured in at less than 5-10, Devon Beitzel of N. Colorado is a slow 6-foot-1 despite being dubbed as “Little Jimmer” en route to Big Sky MVP titles, and Wofford’s Noah Dahlman would have to join Lazar Hayward as the only frontline player in the NBA under 6-foot-6.
On the flip side, when we look at the 31 players Draft Express has solidly in the draft who were NOT in the Top 20 on the Value Add system, they break into 3 categories:
- 22 of these 31 were in the Top 100
- 7 of the 9 that weren't were a combination of great defensive players and/or underclassmen who would be great college players if they played another year
- only 2 of the 31 just seemed to be underperformers
Here is the list of the players who should go in the draft but were not one of the best 20 offensive college players last year:
|Kyrie||Irving||Du||190||1||Top 3 for the 10 games he played|
|Brandon||Knight||KY||61||3||Top 5% of defenders|
|Kawhi||Leonard||SDSt||67||6||#1 defender in country|
|Markieff||Morris||KS||62||8||Top 2% of defenders|
|Klay||Thompson||WASt||76||10||Top 10% of defenders|
|Tristan||Thompson||TX||136||11||Top 1% of defenders|
|Kenneth||Faried||MorSt||46||12||Top 10% of defenders|
|Jordan||Hamilton||TX||39||13||Top 1% of defenders|
|Chris||Singleton||FLSt||321||14||Top 1% of defenders|
|Kyle||Singler||Du||44||17||Top 2% of defenders|
|Tyler||Honeycutt||UCLA||446||19||Sophomore, Top 10% of defenders|
|Josh||Selby||KS||663||20||Freshman, Top 10% defenders|
|Darius||Morris||Mich||32||22||Top 10% of defenders|
|Iman||Shumpert||GATe||93||25||Top 5% of defenders|
|Jereme||Richmond||IL||359||26||Freshman, Top 10% defenders|
|Trey||Thompkins||GA||285||27||Athletic, Top 10% defenders|
|Nikola||Vucevic||USC||24||29||Top 3% of defenders|
|E'Twaun||Moore||Pur||31||32||Top 3% of defenders|
|Jordan||Williams||MD||94||37||Top 3% of defenders|
|David||Lighty||OSU||50||39||Top 1% of defenders|
|Demetri||McCamey||IL||40||40||Top 10% of defenders|
The easiest to explain is Kyrie Irving, who was in the top 3 in Value Add for the 10 games he played, but slips to 190th for all the games missed.
Note that 20 of 30 were among the Top 10% of all defenders in the Value Subtract defensive rating.
Hopefully Jimmy Butler’s standing as the 18th best college player in the draft and the 31st best college prospect according to Draft Express results in us being able to add him to this list next year:
Dwyane Wade $14.2 million
Wesley Mathews $5.8 million
Lazar Hayward $1.0 million
Steve Novak $0.7 million